retro revolution: old technology makes brits long for when they were young

What Mobile
July 17, 2019

  • Vinyl, cassettes and instant cameras are making a comeback as 47% of Brits say it reminds them of their younger days 
  • Generation Z and Millennials are investing in technology popularised by stranger things and guardians of the galaxy 

Over 70% of Brits own retro technology, citing nostalgia as one of the reasons.  

A survey conducted by Pay-As-You-Go energy provider Boost examined the retro technology buying habits of over 2,000 Brits. In the research, retro technology was defined as being released before the year 2000, including vinyl records, instant cameras and cassettes.  

This type of purchasing is being driven by younger generations. Over a third of both Generation Z (38%) and Millennials (35%) were found to have purchased retro technology over the last 12 months. This is compared to 19% of Generation X and 14% of Baby Boomers. Looking ahead, 32% of all respondents say they intend to make a retro purchase in the next 12 months, including 38% of Generation Z and 35% of Millennials. Again, this exceeds older generations, with 24% of Generation X and 17% of Baby Boomers planning to purchase in the next year.

For Generation Z, almost one in five (18%) said they use retro technology to “take their minds off today’s problems”. Nearly half of Brits (47%) said retro technology “reminded them of when they were young”, with almost a fifth (23%) saying “it’s more fun than today’s technology”. €¯€¯ 

Retro technology used in pop culture is proving to be well-liked by young generations. 21% of Generation Z own an instant camera like the one seen in Netflix hit Stranger Things, whilst 20% of Millennials are in possession of a cassette player, revived by the Marvel film series Guardians of the Galaxy.  

Younger generations also use their technology more often, nearly a quarter of Generation Z (24%) and Millennials (25%) use their technology every week, considerably more than Generation X (13%) and Baby Boomers (10%). 

Justin Cockerill, Managing Director, Boost, commented on the findings: 

“Technological developments continue to drive the energy industry forward. At Boost, we’re rolling out smart meters and mobile technology to help our customers take control of their energy use. Yet, when it comes to recreational technology, the trends from the 1980’s and 1990’s are making a nostalgic comeback.  

“Our findings show how cycles of fashion, entertainment, and culture drive younger generations to retro technology. If you’ve got an old games console in the attic, dust it down and pass it on – there’s almost certainly someone out there who will continue to enjoy it.” 

For more findings from the survey, plus an infographic and expert comment, head to the Boost blog

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