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Klarna Annual Trend Report Reveals ‘Nostalgia’ as Key Shopping Theme for 2022 as Consumers Turn To Products Reflective of More Carefree Times

Today, 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 00’s, ‘Counterculture’ rooted in 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 comments 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”. Panzoni goes on to explain that “its clear people have been turning to products that remind them of happier, more carefree times.”

In the U.S. market specifically, the same trends have been observed with some distinct product variations. U.S. shoppers have been contributing to these trends locally through their purchase of low-rise/waist jeans (+664% in Sept 2022), Jellies (+554% in June 2022), and microskirts (+566% in June 2022), which have increased in sales by staggering percentages throughout the year.

Carl Lindahl, a consumer behaviour expert at Klarna, says, “Klarna manages transactions from 150 million users and 450 000 merchants globally. Our collective purchases tell a story that goes beyond what we bought and The Checkout is Klarna’s first annual trend report that summarises the year and shares that story”.

According to Panzoni, broader cultural moments have also been instrumental in fueling these shopping trends. Panzoni explains 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'”.

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