Looking back: Nostalgia in the UK

Looking back: Nostalgia in the UK

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Revealed: The 60s is the most missed decade 

Adjusting to the ‘new normal’ can be easier said than done and looking back at the good old days can be a nice reprieve from the realities of the pandemic. The past is very present in our culture, including in the TV shows we watch (such as Stranger Things and Hollywood), memorabilia we keep hold of from way back when and the resurfacing of “Throwback Thursday” photos. It is clear we are a nostalgic nation. 

A recent study by Currys PC World surveyed 2042 UK residents to unearth why the nation loves to reminisce on days gone by. From what decade we miss the most and how nostalgia makes us feel, to who yearns for the past the most, we reveal it all. 

The battle of the sexes: Women are more nostalgic than men  

Reminiscing is a very personal experience and impacts some people more so than others. There are all sorts of things that can trigger nostalgia and bring on a whole host of emotions too. According to the research, it turns out that vintage games consoles are three times (14%) more likely to trigger nostalgia in men than women (4%), which could explain why they are almost twice as likely (12%) to buy them than women. Music, films and chatting to family are most likely to trigger feelings of nostalgia in women.  

  • Music triggers nostalgia in women (60%) more than men (50%) 
  • Men (6%) feel more stressed than women when reminiscing (3%)
  • Men are twice as likely (14%) to see nostalgia as an avoidance of the present than women (7%)

The most nostalgic city in the U.K.  

The nation is full of idiosyncrasies and it turns out that opinions on nostalgia are no different, as how we reminisce differs from city to city across Britain. Londoners love the most up-to-date games consoles (33%) and are willing to pay a higher price for it. Whereas Bristol, Birmingham and Plymouth (13%) are willing to spend more on vintage games consoles. When it comes to the most missed decades, Belfast longs for the 80s the most (47%) but Leeds (30%) and Liverpool (38%) miss the 60s the most. Sheffield residents miss the 90s (26%)– the decade that Spice Girls found international stardom – the most.  

  • Norwich residents are the most nostalgic in the U.K. (59%)
  • Newcastle residents are the least nostalgic (11%)
  • Southampton residents get the most stressed when thinking about the past (8%)
  • Plymouth is a city of technology hoarders, as 43% keep their vintage technology 
  • 30% of Edinburgh residents give their technology away 

“Fauxstalgia”: Gen Z yearn for a time they never experienced 

It appears that the younger generation yearns for a time that they never experienced, as 35% of 16-24-year-olds said they would travel back to the 80s if they could. Adopting the trends and embracing the technology of a decade they didn’t live through could be a form of escapism. The results suggest that Gen Z are the least happy when reminiscing, with only a third (33%) stating they felt happy when having a nostalgic experience. Gen Z also feels five times more stressed (11%) than Baby Boomers when thinking about the past. 

  • Gen Z are most nostalgic for the 80s, followed by the 90s and noughties
  • The top decades Millennials would revisit if they could, are the 80s, 60s and 90s 
  • Gen Z are five times more likely to pay more for vintage phones than Gen X (45-55-year-olds) 
  • Nearly a fifth (17%) of Millennials are more likely to pay for vintage arcade games and consoles than any other age group
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