Introduced in the 1930s, vinyl records soon became the most popular means of listening to music. But technological advances such as cassette tapes and CDs caused vinyl to fade out into obscurity. However, as "hipster" culture has grown, so have vinyl record sales...
In fact, vinyl record sales reached a three-decade high in 2021. According to the British Phonographic Industry, over five million records were sold on vinyl in the UK alone in 2021. This is an increase of 8% on 2020 and the 14th consecutive year of growth for the format. ABBA's Voyage, Fleetwood Mac's Rumours (pictured), and Ed Sheeran's = were among the best-selling vinyl records of the year.
The piece of furniture that heralded the flat-pack revolution, the Lövet table was IKEA's first product that buyers had to put together themselves. The three-legged table was launched in 1956 and soon became one of the Swedish furniture firm's best-selling models.
With mid-20th-century furniture design all the rage, IKEA re-engineered and relaunched the Lövet table in 2013. Now known as the Lövbacken table, it is available in the UK, the Netherlands and from selected IKEA stores worldwide.
Are you a fan of IKEA products? Then these IKEA facts may surprise you
One of the defining denim styles of the 20th century, the 505 was launched by Levi Strauss & Co. in 1967, although it didn't become popular until around the early 1970s. This particular fit was favoured by achingly cool bands such as Ramones and Blondie but, as they faded out of fashion, so did the jeans.
The style, which fits slim but not too skinny, was resurrected by Levi's in 2016 and has been recreated to the last detail – the Levi's design team even tracked down the original fabric mill to reproduce the specific denim material. Known as the 505™C, the jeans are a "straight-line DNA descendent of what you see on the Ramones" Jonathan Cheung, SVP Global Design at Levi's, told Esquire in 2016. That definitely puts the gene in jean.
However, with the resurgence of analogue film and blockbuster movies including Oscar-winning La La Land using Super 8 film rather than digital, Kodak decided to revive the camera. While it remains an analogue camera, the new version has a modern twist, featuring a digital viewfinder that Kodak hopes will help boost its appeal with filmmakers who have only used digital cameras until now. Announced in January 2016, there's still no definite release date.
Invented in Belgium by the Philips company in 1962, cassette tapes revolutionised the music industry when they first entered the market in the 1960s. Then, in 1979, Sony's legendary Walkman appeared on the scene, and cassette sales surged. Before, music was mainly vinyl-based, making it difficult to listen to on the go, but now it was possible to carry music with you everywhere you went. Cassettes were all the rage in the 1980s, but CDs took over in the 1990s, and by the 2000s cassettes had fallen out of favour.
Maybe it's because of the 80s resurgence we're seeing – think Stranger Things, GLOW, and the latest Ghostbusters reboot – but cassettes are having a major revival moment. According to the British Phonographic Industry, in 2021 190,000 cassettes were sold in the UK alone. This is the most cassettes sold since 2003, when 243,000 tapes were sold. The best-selling cassette tape of 2021 was Sour by teenage artist Olivia Rodrigo (pictured), demonstrating that the retro charm of cassettes is appealing to younger generations too.
The Raleigh Chopper bike featured on many a Christmas wishlist back in the 1970s – it guaranteed instant street cred for kids at the time. Manufactured in Nottingham, England, 1.5 million of the bikes were sold before production ground to a halt in 1979.
A limited-edition version of the popular bike was brought back in 2014, with just 400 being created. Pictured here is the special edition model, which retailed at £250 ($325). Re-releases of classic models have continued since.
Polaroid started making cameras in 1948, and at its peak the OneStep Polaroid was America's best-selling camera of 1977. In the days before digital, a camera that could process photos instantly was a huge boost for amateur photographers. However, digital cameras increased competition and a steady decline in sales led to the company filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2001. Polaroid cameras came to an end in 2005, with film being produced until the end of 2009.
But a group known as The Impossible Project decided that they needed to act before Polaroid film disappeared forever. In May 2017 they acquired the brand and intellectual property of the Polaroid Corporation and took over its last remaining factory in the Netherlands. Buoyed on by the trend for all things analogue and old school, they revived the OneStep. Popular with fashion photographers and artists, the camera was sold as part of a limited-edition kit priced at $470 (£360) and nowadays most camera brands are churning out Polaroid imitations for a hungry younger audience looking to give their Instagram pages a vintage vibe.
If you loved gadgets like this, check out the technology everyone wanted the year you were born
A saturated market and overabundance of poor-quality games, including the infamous E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, precipitated the crash. Despite this, Atari fandom persisted, and in 2004 a plug-and-play version of the 2600 called Atari Flashback was released. Atari has now built another version called the Atari VCS, which has a modern-style controller as well as a joystick. As well as offering nostalgic gamers the chance to play classics such as Pong and Breakout, it also has a wireless connection for downloading more modern games and streaming movies and TV and using it as something of a mini-PC. It's now been released to fairly negative reviews.
The Sinclair ZX Spectrum cornered the home computer market in the UK during the early 1980s. It was launched in 1982 and remained in production for 10 years.
Recently, SodaStream has had a comeback. In 2018 PepsiCo purchased the company for $3.2 billion (£2.5bn) and since then it’s rebranded itself as a sustainable alternative to disposable bottles of carbonated drinks. The revolutionised product is called the One Touch and its slick design takes a big step away from its now-retro 80s ancestors.
The 8-bit computer was outclassed by its 32-bit rivals in the early 1990s and production of the Commodore 64 ceased when CBM filed for bankruptcy in 1994. In 2018, however, it made a comeback as the C64 Mini, which could be plugged into a TV. Following a successful crowdfunding campaign, a full-size replica of the original C64 hit stores in December 2019.
Immortalised in the Back to the Future movies, the head-turning car with the wow factor gull-wing doors was only in production for three years. The DeLorean DMC-12 was discontinued in 1982 following the company falling into financial difficulties.
Fast-forward to 2022 and the DeLorean DMC-12 is on the comeback trail, albeit slowly. DeLorean planned to start selling the cars back in 2016 but the company had to wait for the final steps in a legislative change before the cars could be legally produced. But following a lawsuit over the failure of the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to submit the proposal for legislation changes to allow manufacturers to make replica cars, the NHTSA finally released a document with the proposed changes in late 2019. However, the pandemic means that we may have to wait a little longer to see new DeLoreans on the road. In fact, recent rumours suggest the new model might be all-electric.
Launched in 1988, the Sega Genesis (known as Sega Mega Drive outside North America) was the top-selling console of the time and had some great games – who could forget Sonic the Hedgehog? A total of 30.75 million Sega consoles were sold worldwide, but the device was discontinued in 1997, losing out to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) in the so-called console wars of the late 1990s.
Luckily for fans, in September 2019 Sega released a miniature Sega Genesis replica called the Mega Drive Mini, which can be bought for around $60 (£45). The remake includes 42 classic games pre-loaded onto the console, featuring the likes of Dr Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine and Golden Axe.
Sony bought into the trend for nostalgia and released a version of the original 1994 PlayStation console in time for Christmas 2018, called PlayStation Classic. This 'new' version of the console has 20 preloaded games from the era, such as Battle Arena Toshinden, Grand Theft Auto, and Tekken 3.
The Classic looks exactly like the original, even down to the packaging, but those who truly remember the first version will notice that the console is 45% smaller. It retails at $65 (£50) online.
The craze died down in the early 2000s and production more or less halted. Hasbro reintroduced the toys in 2005, and in 2012 the company released an internet-connected Furby with its very own app, sparking a new, albeit smaller, craze. Fast food chain McDonald's has consistently cashed in on the toys' popularity, and Furby-themed Happy Meal toys were launched again in 2019. The most valuable bunch are those that were given away back in 2000, and a complete set of 12 is worth up to $900 (£660).
The Nokia 3310 was a classic mobile phone and one of Nokia's best-sellers. The iconic device was launched in 2000, and sold 126 million handsets, but the dawn of the smartphone meant that the style was phased out. However, despite over two billion people owning smartphones globally, some remember the simplicity of their Nokia phone fondly, and in 2018 someone searched for a Nokia 3310 every three minutes on eBay.
In 2017, Nokia decided to make the most of the nostalgia, launching an updated version of the phone. While not exactly the same as the original – it boasts a colour screen and an updated version of the classic game Snake – it still doesn't offer internet access or apps such as WhatsApp, and so it still captures some of the simplicity of its predecessor. It also boasts a battery life of a whole month.
These plastic-resin clogs, with their distinctive airholes and heel strap, were first launched by American company Crocs in 2002 as a shoe to be worn on boats, where the holes would allow water to immediately drain through. But by 2006 the eye-catching shoes were being worn by toddlers, teens and senior citizens alike, often nowhere near water. In 2007 President George W. Bush was even snapped wearing the shoes with socks, a style choice that was derided as a major fashion faux pas. By the 2010s Crocs had started to gather dust in the back of millions of closets, but now the opinion-dividing shoe is shuffling its way back into the spotlight…
Dubbed the “it-shoe” of the pandemic – perhaps as homeworkers opt for comfort over style – isales of Crocs were up by 64% in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020, bringing in $460 million (£331m). Crocs' CEO Andrew Rees is now predicting that sales for the whole year will be up by 50% compared to 2020.
But it's not just the pandemic that's had an impact on sales; the company has collaborated with music artists such as Post Malone in 2018, and in 2020 Justin Bieber collaborated with the brand to put a cool twist on the classic Crocs, with his version selling out in 90 minutes. The opinion-dividing clog even made its Oscars debut when musician Questlove walked down the 2021 Academy Awards’ red carpet in a gold pair (pictured). Love them or loathe them, Crocs are back...
Feeling nostalgic now? Then take a look at these surprisingly valuable things from the year you were born