This Monday Questia Group focuses on retro-branding. Namely, we discuss the relaunching of Nokia 3310 last month and its implications regarding Romanian consumer culture. Our research was made through an online survey on our platform covering 1635 respondents, with a plus or minus 2% margin of error. The survey was active between 7 and 9 March 2017. Our findings are presented below.

A brief on mobile phone usage in Romania

Before presenting the main findings, a brief overview is made as to mobile phone usage in Romania. In this sense, like previously highlighted here, Romania’s mobile communications market is served by five mobile network operators using a mixture of GSM, 3G and 4G technologies.

The mobile operators’ services were launched in 1997 and since then, they have greatly evolved. During only in the last 10 years, the number of mobile phone users increased from 6.6 million users in 2003 to 22.7 trillion at the end of 2012 (with 244%). According to Statista’s forecast , in 2021, the share of monthly active smartphone users is projected to reach 52.13 percent of the total population (an increase of almost 19% from 31.49% in 2014).

Needless to say, the demand for smartphones is considered to be fueled both by Romanians living in rural areas as well as those residing in cities, due to the fact that the product addresses high consumer demand for portability, autonomy, and hunger for social networks and media content . Added to this the fact that people are starting to use their devices to perform an increasing number of tasks, like mobile/ online banking or online shopping . Moreover, as one study suggests, there is a strong correlation between country wealth and smartphone ownership (0.84): as countries get richer, and smartphones go down in price, it is likely that this relationship between country wealth and smartphone ownership will begin to diminish as it has for overall cellphone ownership.


At the moment, the majority of our respondents use only one mobile phone (75.6%), some use more than one mobile phone (24%) and a small proportion use one mobile phone for business purposes only (0.4%).

mobile phone usage

Moreover, almost all have internet services on their mobile phones (92.6%), out of which 60.1% have a 4G system, 32.5% have a 3G/ 2G system, while 7.3% say that they don’t have internet services on their phones.

Nokia 3310 or the “indestructible phone” that was launched 17 years ago is now smaller, sleeker and reportedly has 22 hours of talk time with a one-month battery life on standby and it comes with Snake. Available in gloss red and yellow and matte blue and gray, the Nokia 3310 has a 2.4-inch color screen, Bluetooth 3.0, an FM radio, LED torch, microSD card support up to 32GB and a two-megapixel camera. The 2.5G connection even lets you go online – albeit very slowly – to access Twitter, Facebook, and other services through the Opera Mini browser.

As for the awareness level in Romania, we can say that it is high: 63.4% of Romanians say that they heard about this, while 36.6% say they didn’t.

Nokia 3310 awareness

Out of those who heard about Nokia’s 3310 relaunch, some say that they read this on social media (Facebook, Twitter etc.) (49,5%), on general websites from the internet (34.9%); some heard about this on TV (34.4%), some from friends/ family (13.6%) or from the written press (9.5%). Since our question had multiple answers, it is possible that people have heard about this release from multiple sources - also from forums/ blogs (8.2%), the radio (6.2%), or elsewhere.

Awareness sources


Stephen Brown (2001) suggest that in the last couple of years there has been a “retro revolution” in which the revival of old brands and their images have become an increasingly attractive option for marketing managers.

“Brown, Sherry, and Kozinets (2003, 20)” browser define retro-branding as “the revival or relaunch of a product or service brand from a prior historical period, which is usually but not always updated to contemporary standards of performance, functioning, or taste,” seeing retro goods as “brand-new, old-fashioned offerings”. Moreover, this strategy builds on the idea that brand allegories are stories, narratives or extended metaphors in symbolic form . This implies that old brands retain the value that comes from the feeling of nostalgia ( personal and communal ) or the retro-appeal, simplicity or authenticity that triggers at the individual level.

According to Fischer (2015) , the emergence of retro or vintage consumption can be understood as a form of alternative consumption that occurs at the global level due to outsourcing and product licensing; a thing that leads consumers to seek more authentic consumption experiences. Moreover “consumers with cultural capital find in vintage an alternative market for sourcing fashionable street style”. This also stems from the almost ubiquity of street style blogs like The Sartorialist who made wearing vintage de rigour for demonstrating sartorial savvy whether one is in London, Manhattan or Tokyo (Woodward 2009). This happens in other industries as well, for instance in the auto industry (Volkswagen Beetle, Mini Cooper, Fiat 500), movie industry (Star Wars, The Artist), music (the vinyl industry etc.). Some anthropologists link this type of consumption to cultural (upbringing and education) and economic capital (financial assets) (Bourdieu, 2009), where class identities are re-affirmed or invented.

As for Romanian consumers, 62.2% say that they would buy the new Nokia: 29.8% would keep their mobile phone as well, 13.5% would buy it for friends and family and 11.7% would replace their phone with it. At the same time, 45.1% wouldn’t buy it at all.

As for Romanian consumers, 62.2% say that they would buy the new Nokia: 29.8% would keep their mobile phone as well, 13.5% would buy it for friends and family and 11.7% would replace their phone with it. At the same time, 45.1% wouldn’t buy it at all.

Nokia 3310 usage

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