Netflix reports the fourth season of its TV series “Stranger Things” experienced remarkable viewership since its release in late May, coming in second to its most-watched TV series to date, “Squid Game.” Recent CivicScience data from a June-August survey echo the show’s immense popularity – 1-in-2 U.S. adults say they have watched “Stranger Things.” Fandom continues to remain strong; more than half of viewers identify as fans (those who report they ‘like’ or ‘love’ the show).
Survey findings also show that the series has major appeal for young adults; 42% of Gen Z respondents and 36% of Millennial respondents are fans of the show. Both familiarity and fandom declines precipitously with age.
Even though the season is fully released, and fans now await Season 5 (the final chapter), the show is purported to have fueled a trending interest in and nostalgia for the 1980s. Past CivicScience studies have shown that nostalgia plays an important role when it comes to fashion purchases for younger adults. Is nostalgia driven by “Stranger Things” leading to more favorability and likelihood to purchase 1980’s-inspired products?
The season featured several high-profile brand placements that captured the spirit of the 80’s, including Coca-Cola, Quiksilver clothing, and music from Metallica and Kate Bush – Bush’s 1985 song “Running Up That Hill” reached the number one slot on Spotify in June.
Pulling from the most recent data of the thousands of brands that CivicScience tracks daily, findings show those brands resonate strongly among “Stranger Things” fans (who have watched the show and “love” or “like” it) compared to everyone else (including those who did not watch the show).
Of course, younger fans under age 35 didn’t grow up in the 1980s. That has led some to describe that the show has created a “pseudo-nostalgia” for the ‘80s.
In fact, when asked what era from the 1960s onward that respondents were most nostalgic for, it’s obvious that age is the lead determining factor. Just a tiny percentage (4%) of Gen Z adults and 13% of Millennials say they are most nostalgic about the 1980s, compared to 39% of Gen Xers. Things don’t change much at all when looking at the exact same data, but segmented exclusively by “Stranger Things” fans.
It’s clear that people feel overall the most nostalgic for the era of their youth. A single show may not change that. Even so, “Stranger Things” fans are still much more likely to be receptive to some of the brands featured in the show, as well as music and movies or TV shows from the 1980s in general.
Want more on this topic? Check out these five additional insights about “Stranger Things” fans.