March 15, 2013

Data point: Across generations, nostalgia drives analog’s appeal

Posted by: in North America

At SXSW this week, our director of trendspotting, Ann Mack, outlined the enduring appeal of real-world, analog items in an increasingly digitized world. As we buy more apps, e-books and downloads, and as digital screens become our default interface with the world, we are increasingly seeking out physical objects and experiences. Nostalgia is one key driver of this trend across generations, as our research confirmed.

A study we conducted in February using SONAR™, JWT’s proprietary online tool, found that two-thirds of American adults sometimes feel nostalgic for things from the past, like vinyl records and photo albums, and around 6 in 10 have a greater appreciation for things that have become obsolete, like film cameras. Millennials are especially apt to view now-obsolete goods as desirable collector’s items. As more people look to at least temporarily disengage from our always-on, real-time world and De-Tech (one of our 10 Trends for 2011), these analog objects offer a satisfying counterpoint that hearkens back to a different, more measured pace of life.

One way for brands to leverage this trend is to amplify qualities unique to physical goods—for instance, the fact that they’re tactile, enduring or imperfect—and create premium offerings that serve as unique gifts or collectibles. For more on what’s driving this trend, how it’s manifesting in the culture and what it means for marketers, download “Embracing Analog: Why Physical Is Hot” here.

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