Insights / Consumer Behaviour
”We live in times of change — in 2023 we are embracing the creative potential of this mess”
On 5 consumer behaviour trends not to miss right now
7 Dec 2022

Who are you?

— My name is Agus Panzoni but most people know me by my TikTok alias @thealgorythm. I am a trend researcher and my own TikTok channel is specialized in trend reporting, providing me with a platform to engage with brands and the fashion community online. It’s called ’the algorythm’ to shed light on the importance algorithms play in trend growth.

This week, you present The Checkout, together with Klarna. What have you created?

— The Checkout is Klarna’s new annual trend report that summarises 2022 through the lens of online purchases from across the world. Our collective purchases tell a story that goes beyond what we bought and this is the first report that shares that story. Klarna reached out to me to get a complementary perspective on the trends from a bigger cultural and societal perspective and together we have created a report that can’t be described in another way than one plus one equals three, says Panzoni. She adds:

— When analysing what people put in their shopping carts in 2022, one theme was clear; nostalgia. Nostalgic items, from the 18th century, like pearl earrings and opera gloves, to items from the early 2000s like wired headphones and Y2K-fashion items like velour tracksuits, have been trending. 

How’d you explain the sudden rise of nostalgia?

— While dopamine dressing — a theme that emphasized bright and bold colours and prints as mood boosters — was big in 2021 and during the first months of 2022, nostalgia took centre stage as the year evolved. What’s interesting is that both these sentiments are driven by a need for comfort and escapism against the backdrop of difficult times. Looking at this year’s trending items, it’s clear that people have been turning to products that remind them of happier, more carefree times.  

Will we see this rise continue onwards or is it temporary?

— Nostalgia’s influence has been picking up for a decade now, Panzoni explain, as our lives become increasingly digitized and we seek to form identities online. The digital world has served as a super archive of the past, so we’ve all gained access to inspiration from every decade. Today nostalgia’s influence is having us bringing back elements from every decade, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00 even the 1800s! Nostalgia’s influence will continue on.

The Checkout.

What other key insights can you share from the report?

— 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. Within the theme of nostalgia, we have identified five distinct global trends·

— The first, Vintage tech, refers to simpler and more reliable tech. One example is wired headphones, which, according to Klarna’s shopping index, increased in sales globally by +317% in February this year compared to an average month in 2021. Another example is flip phones which increased by +81% in August. Digital overload and privacy fears have people moving back towards past tech products that appear to be less intrusive and more reliable, and that encourage true human connection.

Y2K is the collective trend for fashion and beauty aesthetics from the early ’00s. The mentioned shopping index shows a global sales increase of products like velour tracksuits (+134%, Jan), army trousers (+113%, Aug) and lip gloss (+83%, June). The trend is the ultimate expression of how our purchases have been driven by nostalgia this year and embodies everything good about the 2000s for those who experienced it and serves as a modern symbol of happier times for younger generations.

Hyperfemininity, including Barbiecore, Bimbocore and Balletcore has been driven by the increased sales of, among others, pink products (+126%, Aug), ballet flats (+93%, May), and nail diamonds (+55%, Jun). The trend is closely tied to the Y2K aesthetic but in contrast to the early 2000s, hyper-femininity in 2022 is more inclusive. Today there are size-inclusive brands offering girly clothing, as well as more influencers of all sizes and ethnicities embracing the aesthetic. 

Regencycore is a trend with styles inspired by the Victorian and Regency periods and represents a grand escape from our current humdrum reality and gaining traction among people keen to escape the daily grind and reclaim some elegance and whimsy that was lost during lockdowns. This trend has also been seen in popular culture, one key example being the Bridgerton series on Netflix. Global trending products include corsets (+117%, Aug), opera gloves (+56%, Sep), and pearl earrings (+50%, Feb). 

Counterculture is rooted in the 80s, 90s, and 00s youth movements and musical genres like Goth, Grunge, and Pop-punk and is seen trending through sales increases of products such as skateboards (+143%, Aug), maxi skirts (+84%, July), and chunky boots (+57%, Sep). The trend is mainly led by Gen Z who are looking for forms of music and aesthetics that revolt against cultural norms to define their multifaceted and bold personality. Although they’re too young to have experienced these influences before, they are a generation that characterizes themselves as changemakers rather than adherents to the status quo. 

And if we look at consumer behaviour for 2023, what will we see?

— If I would use one word to describe the overall trend in 2023, it would be ’chaos’. We currently live in times of change, and in 2023, we are embracing the creative potential of this mess. Counterculture will take the form of teenage dirtbag, Y2K will move into the messy start of the 00s, and vintage tech is going to see us gravitating towards more chaotic and less algorithmic-heavy user experiences online.  Consumers will be mixing and matching inspiration from different eras to create new emerging style expressions — not only in fashion but also in design and tech. It’ll be an era of heightened creativity and expression, where nostalgia begins our inspirational journey but the end result will be up to the interpretation of the creator, says Panzoni.

What technologies and innovations do you think will define 2023?

— In the same way vintage tech has been trending, we are about to see nostalgia take over user experiences. Instagram is already trialing a feature that allows users to choose a song to play on their profiles, reminiscing those MySpace times. The tumblr renaissance is well on its way as well, with the Twitter exodus sending people into the 2010s platform. We believe we’ll see more tech companies create opportunities for less intrusive UX experiences, where community engagement will drive content discovery, like with tumblr. Another technology that will define 2023 is, of course, the accessibility of AI. If you have been on Instagram this past week, your feed was probably filled with AI images of your friends. As people embrace the creative potential of artificial intelligence, IP questions will arise. In 2023, I think we will be talking about IP rights with NFTs and Deep Fakes more than ever.  Just like when it comes to overall trends in 2023, the tech and innovation scene will be all about exploring, mixing, and matching; real and fake, now and then, and right and wrong.