July 15, 2009 / 7:10 AM / 10 years ago

Weary of modern woes, youth long for the past: survey

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - The dire global economy and environmental woes appear to have turned Generation Y off modern times, with a survey finding more listening to parents’ music, wearing vintage clothes and weaning themselves off the Web.

People dance in front of St. Paul's Cathedral as they listen to their personal stereos during a 'mobile clubbing' meeting in London July 19, 2007. REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico

The new poll, by Australian marketing agency Lifelounge, revealed a deep nostalgia among Australians aged between 16 and 30 for the past, when the world appeared to be simpler and friends met in person, not online.

“Buying vintage clothes, listening to older music genres, going camping with your mates and heading out to cabaret and burlesque shows are all seeing a spike in popularity,” Lifelounge CEO Dion Appel told Reuters.

“The youth market’s love of nostalgia is a direct reflection of better times that existed pre-GFC (global financial crisis) and climate change,” he said.

“They seek simplicity and authenticity. Everything associated with the word ‘global’ seems bad, so they’re turning inward and focusing more on the immediate world around them.”

The annual Urban Market Resarch poll, which surveyed nearly 1,700 people, found young adults were sifting through their parents’ vinyl collections and listening to rock from the 60s and 70s as well as older swingtime and jazz.

Vintage shops, clothing swapping parties, garage sales and flea markets have also become popular, the survey said, as fashionistas seek unique, as opposed to designer, pieces that are cheaper and seen as more authentic.

Also as a counter to the recession, the vibrant colors and edgier styles of the 80s are also becoming in vogue, it added.

Appel said the survey was likely to be representative of youth in other Western nations as “they are ultimately driven by the same things — their love for music, fashion, travel, sport and entertainment.”

“The GFC is just that, global, so I would suggest that young people in other countries would also be affected in similar ways,” he said.

Because of the economic situation, many Gen-Yers are opting to entertain at home rather than go to nightclubs. But if they do go out, the poll said they preferred to go to cabarets, vaudeville shows and disco nights which are considered exotic.

And while Gen-Yers still rely heavily on technology, they are using it differently, with the amount of time spent online by young adults falling by 30 minutes a week from last year.

Gen-Yers are also in contact more frequently with friends through phone calls, SMSes or emails, at the same time as questioning their addiction to social networking sites.

“They (young people) want more connections with their friends that aren’t digital, that are tangible. They’re starting to question the authenticity of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter,” Appel added.

Writing by Miral Fahmy; Editing by Jerry Norton

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