College age students are the epitome of eclectic taste. Now that the internet has made the world so flat and attainable, more resources are available. It used to be that whatever was close to you, (geographically) was where your interests stemmed from. Now whatever you can Google, Tweet, Post, Pin, or YouTube are the things that interest you.
Because there are so many options, varieties of style, and narrow niches available for viewing online, college age students can find anything they are interested in. And if there isn’t content available already, they can generate it themselves. So much choice, diversity and specialized knowledge has resulted in a generation that is interested in just about everything. Styles from the 70s, 80s, 90s and everything in between are making a come back and being incorporated into clothing, music, and art.
Many forms of expression borrow from some trend, fad, era, scene or popular idea generated in an earlier era. A lot style is just previous styles cycled back through.
Take sunglasses for example. Aviators were very popular in the late 1930s and then cycled back through in the 70s and 80s and now in 2012 they are cool again. In the 70s, the round, red colored sunglasses were popular and became an iconic hippie symbol. The 80s eyewear of choice included Buddy Holly style sunglasses and other crazy-shaped frames made popular by Hollywood stars and rock stars. Now, Buddy Holly style glasses are back in. In fact, it is cool to wear just frames in that style. I know some people that don’t have prescription lenses in their glasses.
The 90s brought the cool, tiny-lensed sunglasses that the cool guys wore. The bug eye look was really popular in the 2000s and any other type of eye wear was considered dated, uncool or nerdy. Now in 2012, basically any type of sunglasses worn are in style. It doesn’t matter because whatever you wear is retro and thus cool, hip, instyle and accepted.
As a result, college age students are fairly accepting of old, retro looks and even are proud to debut something that was popular when their parents were in college. Additionally, college students are striving to have the most “new” look by incorporating different eras of style to achieve an eclectic look that covers a variety decades and styles.
This isn’t just limited to sunglasses and clothing though. There is so much breadth within the music industry due to iTunes, music downloads and YouTube. No niche is unreached; there is something for EVERYONE. It is amazing the amount of music that is available for purchase, streaming or downloading because of the low barriers to enter the market that the internet provides. Also, 20 year olds are rediscovering old bands because of popular tv shows covering the songs or finding their parents old record albums. So there is a return of once popular bands and artists like the Beatles, Queen, and Cindy Lauper.
Overall, college students have a wide variety of interests and tastes. It provides an interesting challenge to businesses trying to reach that demographic. Companies must constantly be innovating and adding value and new features to their products and services in order to keep the attention and market share of the college age group. Take a look at things like Instagram, FourSquare, Pinterest and Draw Something to see 1) how quickly the market moves 2) how influential 20 somethings are with their peers 3) how the incorporate “old” tricks to show a “new” market how to really live.
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