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Global Trend Report: What did People Buy in 2022?

Klarna’s annual trend report reveals ‘nostalgia’ as a key shopping theme for 2022 as consumers turn to products reflective of more carefree times.

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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.

Five Global Shopping Trends in 2022

Under the 2022 theme of nostalgia, Klarna has identified five distinct global trends:

  1. ‘Vintage tech’, is the first trend that 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.
  2. ‘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).
  3. Y2K’  fashion items from the early 00’s,
  4. ‘Counterculture’ items rooted in 80s, 90s, and 00s youth movements and musical genres like Goth, Grunge, and Pop-punk.
  5. ‘Regencycore’ items with styles inspired by the Victorian and Regency periods.

Nostalgic Trend Remarkable in 2022

Agus Panzoni
Agus Panzoni

Reflecting on the report, Agus Panzoni comments: 

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”. It is clear that people have been turning to products that remind them of happier, more carefree times.

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’.

Carl Lindahl, a consumer behavior 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.

Here are the global top lists of trending items in 2022 (compared to an average month in 2021): 

Top 5 – Vintage tech

  1. Wired headphones (+317% in Feb)
  2. Vinyl (+144 % in Aug)
  3. Basic phone/feature phone (+81 % in Feb)
  4. Flip phones (+81% in Aug)
  5. Turntable (+69% in Sep)

Top 5 – Hyperfemininity

  1. The pink garment (for example, pink cargo pants (+126% Aug)
  2. Jellis (+98% in June)
  3. Ballet flats (+93% in May)
  4. Micro skirt (+76% in Sep)
  5. Nail diamonds (+55% in June)

Top 5 – Y2K

  1. Velour tracksuit (+134% in Jan)
  2. Army trousers (+113 % in Aug)
  3. Lip Gloss (+83% in June)
  4. Racer sunglasses (+68% in Aug)
  5. Claw clip (+57% in June)

Top 5 – Counterculture

  1. Skateboard (+143 % in Aug)
  2. Maxi skirt (+84 % in July)
  3. Chunky boots (+57 % in Sep)
  4. Eyeliner (+44 % in Aug)
  5. Sheer top (+44 % in Aug)

Top 5 – Regencycore 

  1. Corset (+117% in Aug)
  2. Opera gloves (+56% in Sep)
  3. Pearl earrings (+50% in Feb)
  4. Pearl necklaces (+32% in Feb)
  5. Feather headbands (+25 % in Sep)

Read More: Dynata Releases New Global Consumer Trends Report for 2022

Methodology

Klarna’s Shopping Index is calculated based on the number of items sold and reflects the true trends regardless of sales growth in the category.

The information is from online purchases with Klarna in the US, UK, GermanySwedenNetherlandsAustriaSpainFranceItalyNorway and Finland 2021 to September 2022.

Get Full Report 

The full “The Checkout” report is available to read online here.

About Agus Panzoni

Agus ‘The Algorythm’ Panzoni is a Trend researcher and digital personality known for unearthing the narrative that connects art, design and culture. She began her career forecasting trends for WGSN, before starting her own TikTok channel specialising in trend reporting. She is passionate about emerging talent, sustainability and innovation.

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