There’s little doubt that out is in when it comes to trends. (Anyone else spotted penning farthings making their way around inner city suburbs?). Thanks to a boost in retro revivalists in the last decade, nostalgia is driving the creation of new businesses based on the old way of doing things.
Here are five retro businesses and products that are already making their way back into our everyday:
The Nokia 3310
For most of us, an era when phone screen shatters were about as uncommon as having enough credit seems like a distant memory. For the retro-minded, that’s all about to change. 17 years after its initial release, the brick-sturdy phone is getting a re-release, thanks to Finnish tech company HMD Global Oy, who are planning to sell the handset, based on the original 2000 design for a mere $80. Snake, anyone?
This arcade chain was where many an Australian kid spent their holidays (and weekends, and late night shopping Thursdays). Although the franchise still operates with 186 stores worldwide, Australian stores are noticeably fewer: contrast that with the fact that at the peak of its popularity in Australia in the 1990s, Timezone had around 50 outposts around the country. With the arrival of portable gaming thanks to Nintendo and later, the at-home boom of Playstations and the X-Box, there was a droop in arcade interests but as revenue grew by rates in the double digits, the company settled on opening five new stores last year. Now, Timezone is planning to double the amount of stores in Australian and Asia. Get your dollar coins ready.
Despite cementing itself as a household name over its 75-year history, the iconic camera company filed for bankruptcy twice between 2001 and 2009, Polaroid filed for bankruptcy twice and went through six CEO’s between 2005 to 2009. Nonetheless, the company invested in other arms of the business (TVs and tablets, for example, the latter of which is their fastest growing category) and released a new version of their Polaroid instant camera in 2010, much to the delight of die-hard fans.
Comics don’t enjoy the same amount of cultural fervour that they once did (even manga sales are down considerably since their peak in 2007).
Instead of trying to revive their original product following the comic book market crash in the 1990s which resulted in Marvel’s bankruptcy in 1996, the company cleverly revived interest in their original characters by channelling them into film franchises. With wildly successful franchises in Iron Man, X-Men, Spiderman and The Avengers, Marvel – which was acquired by Disney in 2009 to the tune of US$4 billion – managed to generate box office revenue topping more than $8 billion in 2015.
These retro items haven’t yet made their big time debut, but they soon will: Spotify has teamed with Australian music company Nightlife Music to create crowdDJ, a jukebox made for the modern era. It connects to a free app that allows users to select music from a playlist and have it blasted over the sound system of a venue. Still in its pilot stages, there are currently 250 locations around Australia that have integrated this technology for testing.