“One day everything will come back.” This not only applies to fashion trends or music, but also, with restrictions, to technical devices. There are many reasons why old sweethearts suddenly become gadgets again.

It sounds paradoxical, but it is even being scientifically researched: “The emergence of a new technology often leads to a retro wave,” says Prof. Sascha Friesike from the Berlin University of the Arts. The design expert for digital innovations cites the PDA, Personal Digital Assistants, which came onto the market in the 1990s as a classic example: “At the same time, an industry for expensive notebooks emerged.”

Suddenly, unlike before, people were willing to pay a lot of money for simple notebooks. “That’s because you reflect for yourself on how you actually want to do what the new technology promises,” says Friesike.

The development of smartwatches has also led to a boom in fully automatic watches without batteries. “Twenty years ago that was a fairly dead market,” says Friesike. “But with the digitization of the wrist, it experienced a renaissance.”

Friesike sees a connection with a desire to slow down. “The flood of information and functions in the digital world is often overwhelming.” This can also be observed in people’s penchant for analogue photography.

“It costs a disproportionate amount of money for something that my smartphone can actually do better. But it allows a completely different relationship to what photography actually is.”

There’s a hint of longing for the “good old days”. Manufacturers of technical devices use this skillfully. “In so-called nostalgia marketing, popular and well-known items from the consumer’s youth are incorporated into the advertising campaign,” explains Prof. Sascha Raithel from Freie Universität Berlin.

The marketing specialist emphasizes the extent to which adults’ memories of their youth affect consumption. “Products that shaped them during their youth can trigger and reinforce that nostalgic feeling.”

One is often surprised that these products are actually that old. For example, the Tamagotchi has made so many comebacks that it has never actually gone away.

The fact that the manufacturer Bandai released new versions for the 17th or recently also for the 25th Tamagotchi birthday is not an isolated case. Nintendo has also breathed new life into its console classics Game Boy and Super NES.

“So I can play Mario Kart with my children again like in 1994,” explains Prof. Friesike. “It’s an emotional anchor for the parents, and the younger ones think it’s cool too.”

But not every device from earlier days can be brought one to one into modern times. The laws of the market are too strict for that: “In principle, the demand for the product determines its chances,” says Prof. Raithel. While the record appeals to many music fans regardless of age, elsewhere “the market may be too small or too fragmented”.

For Super 8 cameras, for example, there is no longer any room on the mass market, says Prof. Friesike. “You have to have an artistic standard.”

Some things just don’t deserve a comeback: “The sound quality of the gramophone is so bad that it wouldn’t be worth it.” Friesike also doesn’t believe that the CD will come back across the board: “The sound quality is too close to MP3 for that.” but lacked the crackle and feel of the record.

Occasionally, however, it is just the look that inspires retro fans. Prof. Raithel describes the approach of offering Internet radios in the design of old VHF radios from earlier decades as successful.

“That connects both worlds. The product appeals to nostalgic feelings and you don’t have to do without the comforts of modern technology,” says Raithel.

It is often not possible without modern technology. “An old games console can no longer be easily connected to a 16:9 television,” explains Prof. Friesike.

“The product has to be adapted to the technical conditions of the environment and integrated into the current living conditions of the target group.” The main thing is that the feeling is like it used to be.

“Everything on shares” is the daily stock exchange shot from the WELT business editorial team. Every morning from 7 a.m. with the financial journalists from WELT. For stock market experts and beginners. Subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcast, Amazon Music and Deezer. Or directly via RSS feed.