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[Brand]is ‘Retro’ trend coming to Korea? For whom?

Jay Ahn, Market X Consumer Researcher in Korea. ‘Retro’ trend is coming back? For whom? One of Korean TV entertainment programs helped Korean people remind of hotness of 90’s K-pops. I remember 90s music was very dynamic and various in terms of music genre. It was quite different from what we know about the global K-pop music and entertainment now. Power of 90s idols was a lot bigger, and influence the teenagers much at that time, so their fashion, beliefs, food, the way they talk and walk, and etc everything was important.

Source: pictures from each brand website

After 20 years now what we are missing for? What could be nostalgia to the 30’s and 40’s now? Maybe it could not be just one but a feeling or mood reminding something that people perceive as a ‘retro’. Recently, I purchased a pair of pro-specs original shoes. I guess for me the brand is part of my retro brand. My retro was found from late 90s while my father’s came from late 70s. He has good memories from army service period and working experience in UAE back in 1980s. What is he missing for? Personally, I have no idea. I cannot even think of how it would be working on the hot sand in UAE; most of Korean people sent to the UAE for labor jobs at that time earning dollars. Yes, ‘Retro’ is difficult and very delicate term because it is very subjective to each person in Korea. It cannot be a mass communicable thing  like a brand.

I observe many brands from different industries already launched their ‘Retro’ line or one as a brand extension. I assume they are rushing to catch a sales opportunity, but surely they would fail. It will not go very long if the retro strategy is not focused on a target in Korea. Companies preparing the retro have to understand there is a huge gap between every 10 years in Korea. From poor to rich, from no network to fastest internet, from farmers to service workers, we have faced changes in every aspect in light speed last 50 years. Again, understanding the target consumer will not be easy, so to keep the mood the companies need to spend more time to break down their retro brand customers.

Note: the original article was written and published on last July of 2018 at

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