Insights from our Global Culture Forecast

Young people around the world value analog entertainment, as highlighted in our latest report, The Global Culture Forecast. As they seek ways to disconnect and be more present, global youth are driving a resurgence of tactile media, from vinyl records to physical books and magazines to card games. Brands across verticals are tapping into popular culture by offering consumers opportunities to engage with analog mediums. 


A quarter of global youth aged 14-34 think physical books are cool, with more than a third of young people in South Africa, Mexico, the U.S., and Brazil feeling this way. In today's increasingly digital world, physical media feels more special and immersive without the distraction of a screen. This appreciation of physical books isn't merely an attitude; sales of physical books in the U.S. and UK increased in 2016, while e-book sales decreased. IKEA is catering to this consumer desire for physical books by opening a reading room in one of its stores in London for people to relax and read literature, as well as take home books for free. 


In our qualitative research, a 22-year-old female in France explained, "Young people are buying more and more vinyls and CDs again. It’s not the main way to listen to music, but having an 'object' linked to an artist, plus the quality of the music recorded, is important." Recognizing this passion, Hermès temporarily transformed several of its stores in international cities, including Madrid, Rome, New York, and Brussels, into old-fashioned record shops. The art installation, dubbed Silk Mix, featured scarves and ties hanging on walls or stacked in crates like records. Each scarf was linked to a soundtrack from the brand's runway show, inviting shoppers to pick patterns and play the record on turntables.


One in four global youth say playing physical games (e.g., card games, board games) is their favorite form of entertainment, with youth in South Africa, the U.S., and Australia being the most passionate about this. While digital games, from Fortnite to live trivia apps, are captivating young consumers around the world, physical games are more appealing to a quarter of international youthand even more beloved to them than other media and content. General Mills is tapping into this passion for analog games with the forthcoming card game Monster Crunch! The Breakfast Battle GamePlayers can pick their favorite Monster Cereal character and battle to get the most cards.