Retro repeats revisited: get ready for the 90s nostalgia trend
Can we expect another wave of consumer nostalgia, this time focused on the 90s? From sitcom revivals to fish head sales, Jennifer Olliges of Momentum Worldwide investigates.
Momentum Worldwide on the trend to consumer nostalgia / Yogendra Singh via Unsplash
The desire to tap into meaningful experiences from one’s past isn’t new, but brands continue to feed consumers’ need for nostalgia with fresh, exciting experiences. With 73% of consumers saying they enjoy things that remind them of their past, we expect to see a lot more retro favorites hitting shelves in 2023.
We've seen reboots of beloved TV shows (often with original cast members) and old-school devices like flip phones and disposable cameras making a comeback. A recent example is That ‘90s Show, a spin-off of turn-of-the-century sitcom That ‘70s Show. Just imagine the emotional connection of these shows.
Perhaps we can thank Pokemon Go for kicking the nostalgia trend into high gear. The launch saw tens of millions participating in the augmented reality mobile game. None more so than millennials, who grew up playing the physical card version of the game and got their first real blast of nostalgia.
The latest iteration of this trend was sparked by Covid-19. Now, coupled with rising prices, shoppers are truly seeking comfort and connection in all aspects of their lives. Noting the importance nostalgia has to consumers, we must be aware that they are craving a balance of nostalgia with innovation, making experiences relevant and cool again. They're asking for a different spin on old favorites.
Nostalgic design: the past gets an upgrade
Speaking of the 70s, interior design from that era is trending again: earth tones, fun multi-color concepts and low-slung, soft furniture. But it is more than a repeat of the past; it’s a nod to the past with an upgrade.
Locating fantastic vintage finds and updating them with modern fabrics is one example. On TikTok, the hashtag #antiquestorefinds has over 40 million views. DIYers and furniture flippers have truly carved out a new influencing niche.
Old favorites and new constraints
The food and beverage industry has recently upped its game, having a significant impact on those simply seeking out comfort. Over the last few years, food and beverage companies have successfully brought back retired products as limited-time offerings or anniversary celebrations.
For McDonald's, social media captured the excitement and passion of the millennial-beloved Halloween Happy Meal Bucket. Elsewhere, we've seen the return of retro snacks like Dunkaroos, Oreo Cakesters and more. There are entire accounts dedicated to announcing upcoming re-releases and advice on where to locate products.
But the desire for these old-school favorites making a comeback looks a little different as shoppers are looking to cut costs.
People still want to meet their family’s needs and desires, but the ingredients in their family favorites may have changed. Sales of cheaper meats are also on the rise: Spam has had a much-publicized renaissance; as have, surprisingly enough, fish heads. They’re super easy to turn into a tasty budget-friendly meal in the slow cooker to please the whole family.
Don’t forget about all the vintage cocktails making a comeback, with both bartenders and customers rediscovering old favorites from well before their time. Cocktails like the Old Fashioned, Negroni and even the classic daiquiri have attracted drinkers due to their sophistication and support from influencers.
Social media has elevated cocktails by showcasing the overall experience in making the drinks themselves. Consumers love the theater aspect. In fact, some stay-at-home bartenders are making careers as mixologists doing tutorials online.
Some millennials are now at an age where their teen years were 20 years ago. Many products from their youth are making a comeback and giving them joy. They want to share the products they love and make new memories with their own kids.
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Momentum Worldwide is a global experience agency partnering with and transforming the world’s most famous brands since 1987. Built on the simple truth that it’s not what brands say, it’s what they do that matters, the agency blends creativity, technology, strategy, design and execution to change the world and impact culture.Find out more