InsightPress Release

Consumers yearn for more carefree times as ‘nostalgia’ comes out as key shopping theme for 2022

LONDON, UK — Klarna, the leading global retail bank, payments and shopping service, released its first annual trend report, “The Checkout,” that provides a review of consumer trends over the past year. Based on products global shoppers checked out of their shopping carts in 2022, the report identifies “nostalgia” as the dominant theme of the year as items inspired by the 18th century through to the early 00’s have all increased in sales.

Trend expert Agus “The Algorythm” Panzoni, who collaborated with Klarna on the report, points to a longing for happier, more carefree times as a driving factor behind the theme. Under the 2022 theme of nostalgia, Klarna has identified five distinct global trends. The first trend, “Vintage tech,” refers to products with simpler and more reliable tech such as wired headphones, which increased in sales globally by +317% in Feb 2022 compared to an average month in 2021 according to Klarna’s shopping index, and flip phones which increased by +81% in August.

“Hyperfemininity,” including Barbiecore, Bimbocore and Balletcore is the second trend driven by the increase in sales of pink products (+126%, Aug), ballet flats (+93%, May) and nail diamonds (+55%, Jun). The remaining three trends are a result of consumers looking to previous eras for shopping inspiration; “Y2K” with fashion items from the early ’00s, “Counterculture” rooted in the ’80s, ’90s, and ’00s youth movements and musical genres like Goth, Grunge, and Pop-punk, and “Regencycore” with styles inspired by the Victorian and Regency periods.

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Reflecting on the report, Agus Panzoni commented that “inspiration from earlier ages is nothing new but the nostalgic imprint on this year’s trends is remarkable. Against the backdrop of a changing world, it seems people have been escaping to more comfortable territories as the antidote to everyday life.” He goes on to explain that “it’s clear people have been turning to products that remind them of happier, more carefree times.”

In the UK specifically, the same trends have been observed with some distinct product variations. British shoppers have been contributing to these trends locally through their purchase of vinyl, wired headphones and iPods, which have increased in sales by a staggering 477%, 263% and 261% respectively during the year.

According to Agus, broader cultural moments have also been instrumental in fueling these shopping trends. He explained that “nostalgic trends have not only been visible through our purchases, but have also been seen in pop culture; hyperfemininity in the upcoming Barbie movie, Regencycore thanks to the hype around Netflix’s ‘Bridgerton’ and counterculture seen in the latest season of ‘Stranger Things.’”

Here are the global top lists of trending items in 2022 (compared to an average month in 2021):

Top 5 – Vintage tech

  1. Wired headphones (+317% in Feb)
  2. Vinyl (+144 % in Aug)
  3. Basic phone/feature phone (+81 % in Feb)
  4. Flip phones (+81% in Aug)
  5. Turntable (+69% in Sep)

Top 5 – Hyperfemininity

  1. The pink garment (for example, pink cargo pants (+126% Aug)
  2. Jellis (+98% in June)
  3. Ballet flats (+93% in May)
  4. Micro skirt (+76% in Sep)
  5. Nail diamonds (+55% in June)

Top 5 – Y2K

  1. Velour tracksuit (+134% in Jan)
  2. Army trousers (+113 % in Aug)
  3. Lip Gloss (+83% in June)
  4. Racer sunglasses (+68% in Aug)
  5. Claw clip (+57% in June)

Top 5 – Counterculture

  1. Skateboard (+143 % in Aug)
  2. Maxi skirt (+84 % in July)
  3. Chunky boots (+57 % in Sep)
  4. Eyeliner (+44 % in Aug)
  5. Sheer top (+44 % in Aug)

Top 5 – Regencycore

  1. Corset (+117% in Aug)
  2. Opera gloves (+56% in Sep)
  3. Pearl earrings (+50% in Feb)
  4. Pearl necklaces (+32% in Feb)
  5. Feather headbands (+25 % in Sep)

Here are the top lists of trending items in the UK 2022 (compared to an average month 2021):

Top 5 – Vintage tech

  1. Vinyl (477% in July)
  2. Wired headphones (263% in July)
  3. iPod – Nano, mini, classic, shuffle (261% (July)
  4. Record player (155% March)
  5. Basic/Feature phone (87% Sept)

Top 5 – Hyperfemininity

  1. Pink item e.g. pink platform shoe (214% April)
  2. Microskirt (148% June)
  3. Platform heels/shoes/sandals (96% Aug)
  4. Glitter body & face (88% July)
  5. Ballet flats (86% July)

Top 5 – Y2K

  1. Velour hoodie/jogger/set/track pant (155% Jan)
  2. Short/baby tee/t-shirt (120% July)
  3. Trucker hats (105% July)
  4. Claw Clip (91% May)
  5. Army/ cargo/combat pants (55% Sept)

Top 5 – Counterculture

  1. Maxi skirt (145% Jan)
  2. Velvet skirt (133% Jan)
  3. Moon earrings (123%)
  4. Black lace (75% Feb)
  5. Sun earrings (78% Aug)

Top 5 – Regencycore

  1. Opera gloves (156% Jan)
  2. Feather headband (125% Sept)
  3. Padded headband (120% Jan)
  4. Pearl choker (79% July)
  5. Empire line/waist dress (65% Sept)

The Checkout is available to read online here.

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