Nostalgia’s effects on consumers: a psychological framework of nostalgia

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School of Business | Bachelor's thesis
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The use of nostalgia has increased in recent years with remakes, reboots, and retro being hot commodities in not only entertainment but even products like cars or fashion. This naturally presents the question as to why nostalgia is deemed so useful, the answer being the fact that nostalgia has a multitude of positive effects, particularly effects that are useful from a marketing perspective. For example, nostalgic consumers are prepared to pay more for products. Consumers also show a clear preference towards nostalgic content and products. To understand why nostalgia is so useful, this thesis attempts to understand how nostalgia works, and thus, giving insight as to why nostalgia has so many positive effects and why consumers prefer nostalgic content over non-nostalgic content. In particular the literature review in this thesis takes a psychological perspective to nostalgia, as significant progress has been made in the field of psychology in regard to nostalgia, largely due to a small group of researchers lead by Constantine Sedikides and Tim Wildschut. The literature review is focussed on understanding, analysing, and critiquing the work of that small group of researchers, thus, grasping insight into the effects of nostalgia on consumers. Most significantly it was clear that the nostalgia research is fragmented and difficult to navigate as the effects and other aspects of nostalgia are scattered in various separate studies. Particularly I note that there is no congruent framework that explains the entire process of nostalgia, what triggers it, what nostalgic reverie is like, and what nostalgia’s effects are. Therefore, I created a new three step framework which presents that when a person faces threats to the self, they may use nostalgia to combat those threats by finding relevant strengths from one’s memories that counteract the specific threat. This will lower the threats and lowered threats will have some specific consequences or effects that vary depending on the specific threat. This framework is particularly significant because it brings together all the aspects of nostalgia and understands them in a comprehensive manner, thus, bringing clarity and focus to a field of research that is a hodgepodge of various threats and effects. The clarity that the framework provides makes it easier for marketers to find new solutions and uses of nostalgia. Examples such as Pokémon go and sad trailer music are discussed from the perspective of the new framework
Thesis advisor
Kajalo, Sami
nostalgia, consumers, psychology, Sedikides
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