tiktok smartphone video

Photo by Amanda Vick on Unsplash

NEW YORK — What will people be nostalgic for in the year 2043? A new survey suggests we’ll already be longing for the era of smartphones, TikTok trends, and bootcut jeans.

The poll of 2,000 adults with subscriptions to streaming services reveals many classify “nostalgia” as something that reminds them of a specific event in their life (27%), their childhood (23%), their favorite book (16%), or a favorite TV show or movie (14%). It also found that 76 percent feel nostalgia while watching older movies and TV shows and are the most nostalgic for their tween and teen years, from 11 to 20 (57%). When watching content, many experience feelings of sentimentality (52%), happiness (43%), or a sense of longing (38%).

Commissioned by global streaming platform Plex and conducted by OnePoll, the survey shows how people feel the most nostalgic over fashion choices (49%), the dialogue and slang used (45%), and the actors (41%) in movies and shows of their past. Nearly four in five (79%) agree if they’re having a bad day, they’ll watch something that makes them nostalgic to feel better. Almost as many (75%) would willingly subscribe to streaming services just for content that makes them feel nostalgic.

Infographic on nostalgic activities people do

Additionally, three in four parents surveyed say they’re likely to bond with their children over remade movies and TV shows, and 58 percent have already shown them programs that make them feel nostalgic. Over half of parents (54%) say they look forward to pointing things out on TV or in movies that they recognize but know their kids won’t. Just as many say that’s already happened — kids have begun asking about flip phones (63%), cassette tapes (51%), CDs (47%), and VHS tapes and players (46%).

“Nostalgia and media go hand-in-hand,” says spokesperson Jason Williams, Product Director at Plex. “Our favorite movies and TV shows exist as time capsules of culture. Fashion choices, dialogue, music — all of those things are reflected in what we watch, and it can make people remember the best parts of those eras.”

The survey also uncovers which decades Americans have the most nostalgia for, based on the movies and shows that debuted during those eras: 31 percent miss the ‘80s, 25 percent long for the ‘90s, and 19 percent want to return to the 2000s

From the ’80s, people feel nostalgic for “Cheers” (47%), “Die Hard” (41%), and “Big” (36%). In the ’90s, favorites were “Baywatch” (44%), “Edward Scissorhands” (37%), and “Clueless” (36%).

The Y2K era brought nostalgia for shows like “Breaking Bad” (47%), “Cougar Town” (32%), and “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” (31%). Respondents also shared the movies and shows recently released within the past three years that they think will make people nostalgic in 20 years: “Severance” (44%), “Ted Lasso” (43%), and “The Last of Us” (38%).

With the holidays around the corner, respondents share their favorite nostalgic holiday movies: “Home Alone” (51%), “The Santa Clause” (44%), and “A Miracle on 34th Street” (36%).

“What’s going to be really interesting is witnessing how trends from today will be perceived in the future,” continues Williams. “When we think of nostalgia, we don’t ever really think about future nostalgia. But it’s fun to try and predict what people will remember and cherish the most of the era we’re in, especially when it comes to TV and film.”

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 Americans who subscribe to streaming services was commissioned by Plex between October 24 and October 25, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

About Patrisha Antonaros

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