Nostalgia is something that the tech industry is using to their advantage. We see modern retro tech more and more these days and consumers are only more than happy to empty their wallets to get their hands on it. Just how lucrative is retro tech? What type of products have we seen making a return? While nostalgia gives us the feels deep down inside, is this a good thing?
Retro is big business
If like me you love a throwback to the good old days and have been sucked into the world of Stranger Things, which is all our favourite 80’s movies rolled into a TV show, or are counting down the days to the release of the Crash Bandicoot remake well then its safe to say you are an easy target for the companies producing seemingly endless retro devices with a modern twist. Even though I know I don’t need these products, it doesn’t stop me wanting them.
Because of people like us the modern retro market is big business and doesn’t look like going away any time soon. Vinyl album sales were up over 25% in 2016 with turntables sales rising dramatically. The mighty Nokia 3310 made it’s return (snake included) and Nintendo and Sega battled it out at Christmas with their retro consoles going head-to-head. Nintendo sold almost 200,000 units when it launched in November. The list of retro style products goes on and on. I haven’t even mentioned instant cameras, watches and dare I say the cassette (no really its true)!!!
Is This Trend Good?
The retro-tech trend is definitely good for companies as they line their pockets with your well earned money. On the other hand, how good is it for the consumer? Is it necessary for us to sacrifice cutting edge technology and innovative products in exchange for a simpler, low-tech product with their unique selling point being that they spark up fond memories of years gone by?
The answer lies somewhere in the middle. No-one is suggesting we sacrifice our cutting edge products. I myself have a healthy balance of both in my home. Retro products, for the most part, do not compete with the big guns of the world, case in point Nokia 3310 vs. Apple iPhone. The price tag of the two products €59 vs. €779 suggests that this is not a battle and Nokia are competing in a completely different marketplace which means there’s room for everyone at the party.
There is a niche in the market for those that want something real, something that makes them appreciate simpler times. Maybe they just want a break from the constant stimulus thrown at us in this high tech digital age. I can appreciate the satisfaction, when I open a vinyl wrapper and play my favourite album on my turntable. It’s something that can’t be replicated with streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music.
The Future of The Past
It seems like 2017 will be a big year for retro-style tech and the future for the past looks bright. While the battle for supremacy takes place on a smaller scale than new innovative tech, it shows no signs of going away. I enjoy the best of both worlds and know I’m not alone in this regard. It does make you think: In 10 years time what will be considered as retro tech?
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