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Friday, April 19, 2024

MZ’s personalization trend, from phones to bags, becomes a $25.7 billion industry

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Recently, the personalization and decorating of products have been gaining momentum among the MZ generation (born between 1981 and 2010), who personalize their smartphones, bags, shoes, tumblers, laptops, and diaries.

The trend started with ‘phone decorating’. With the recent Y2K (end-of-the-century sentiment) trend, the early 2000s culture of decorating cell phones with stickers, ribbons, beads, and character doll cell phone rings has returned.

“Cell phone cases, which were once used to protect phones, are now being used as a fashion statement,” said a fashion industry insider. “The global mobile phone protective case market size was valued at USD 25.7 billion in 2023 and the worldwide mobile phone protective case market size is expected to reach USD 44.5 billion by 2033, according to a research report published by Spherical Insights & Consulting.”

NewJeans’ Hanni customized her phone with stickers. [Instagram Capture]

While simply buying a pretty case is a trend, people are also buying plain cases and personalizing them with stickers, beads, and other decorations, and adding a unique phone strap to highlight their personality.

“We’ve seen a lot of younger customers, including people of various ethnicities, coming in with photos or asking us to customize their cases with their own designs,” said a staff member at better2morrow, which sells phone cases, chains, and character straps.

Personalizing a plain bag with ribbons, doll keychains, and badges is also popular among Generation MZ.

Balenciaga (left), which launched a bag that can be customized with a keychain. Stanley Tumbler of thebliiiingbar, a company that customizes your tumbler with beads, chains, and straw covers. [Balenciaga homepage, Instagram capture]

That’s why online shopping malls frequented by the younger generation, such as Amazon, Temu, and Shein, have also introduced a large number of products that can showcase their preferences, such as character dolls, bead chains, ribbons, adhesive patches, and keychains. Engraving your name’s initials in the English alphabet is also a popular trend.

“Customizing your bag is cheaper than buying a new one, and it gives you a new style,” one TikTok user wrote in her post. Some Generation MZs are even customizing their expensive luxury bags with personalized decorations and keychains. According to Cognitive Market Research, “The global keychain pendant market size is USD 18.5 billion in 2023 and will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.80% from 2023 to 2030.”

“Recently, sales of doll chains, bead chains, etc., have increased by about 20 percent,” said Jiyoung Park, CEO of accessories company Clemene. “One customer saw a person wearing a teddy bear chain while walking and asked where she bought it, and then came to our store to purchase it.”

Another popular trend is the trend of customizing shoes. There are various ways to decorate shoes, such as drawing directly on the shoes, or changing the laces of ordinary sneakers to ribbons to create ballet shoes, which is currently trending. The customization craze has also spurred interest in decorating workshops. You can find a variety of shoe decorating workshops on course platforms such as ClassBento, Bucket Listers, and CourseHorse.

The popular Tumbler brand Stanley is another example of this trend. Consumers are increasingly using stickers, chains, and character straws to personalize their Tumblers. In addition, there are companies that use beads to customize Tumblers to meet the needs of consumers.

An expert studying trends in Generation MZ mentioned, “Young people are now favoring experiences over owning products, and this is becoming a trend.”

BY HAEUN CHUNG, JUNHAN PARK     [chung.haeun@koreadaily.com]