Kidult phenomenon in college towns, convenience stores, and online
The prevalent kidult trend can be observed especially near Hongik University where various kidult and Gacha shops are found. The popularity of such spots shows that a lot of youths are healed by returning to their childhood through analog toys.
One favorite spot is “Mimidonut shop.” It is decorated in pink and sells dolls, pens, stickers, figures and other accessories. The most striking feature of this shop is Andy’s Room from Disney’s Toy Story, which is decorated with various toys from the movie. This provides visitors reminiscence about their childhood experiences. Another store named “Pollalla” displays a variety of figures such as Doraemon, robots, and game cards. Meanwhile, several Gacha shops feature arcade games for picking out dolls and other games that bring back childhood memories.
“Subaco,” a vintage shop, exhibits different items ranging from money banks, stamps, clothes, bags and other objects that allure kidults seeking to revisit their youth. One of Korea’s largest convenience store brands, CU, is also targeting kidult consumers, selling figures and block toys of animation characters. Through this strategy, the corporation appeals to toy collectors as well as snack-seekers.
YouTubers from Korea vlogging on kidult products and contents have also been on the rise. These contents include doll plays storytelling, introduction to different kinds of slimes, and tutorial on repainting dolls uploaded to the viewers.
Why do we seek the good old days?
Professor Choi Set-byol from the College of Social Science mentioned the change in adults’ behavior across the generations.
“To the slightly older generation, ‘toys’ may be just for kids, but for younger adults, these toys are what they have enjoyed since their childhood,” Choi said. “It should be recognized that a term such as ‘kidult,’ which implies one’s hobbies and personal tastes show someone to be an undergrown adult, can be offensive.” Such trends are now becoming increasingly aware as “kidult” cultures.
Professor Chun of Consumer Studies also stated that these trends are matter of personal tastes.
“It is totally natural for a grown up to transfer their interests from childhood to their consumption behavior as their financial capability grows.”