While it may not shock anyone to hear that merchants who want to reach younger buyers should look online to attract them, it might be surprising to learn what young shoppers are scouring Web sites for: antiques.
According to recent news reports, increasing numbers of young shoppers are cruising antique shops—both on and offline—to find what they want. Reasons for this growing interest in all things vintage include environmental concerns, popular culture and cost savings.
In recent years, the country has gone "green" and young shoppers are taking a big part in this trend. In fact, 62 percent of young buyers are willing to pay more for eco-friendly products, according to a survey by Miller Zell, a retail consulting firm in Atlanta. And antique-store owners are benefiting as more 20-somethings buy their items.
"The antique market was green before 'going green' was in fashion," Earnest Jarrell, a manger at a Springfield antique shop, tells the Dayton Daily News. "We are the original recyclers. Just imagine how much would be in landfills if people didn't reuse things of the past."
That's not to say antique stores aren't feeling the pinch of the current economic times, however. Although the recession is beginning to ease, people are still weighing needs versus wants, Jarrell says.
But since antiques are used items, shoppers can often find good deals and well-made items that will last a long time, he notes.
These pieces have stood the test of time
Décor catalogs are also filled with vintage and rustic items, which could also be contributing to antiques being in vogue, adds Sandy Bryan, an antique-store owner, in news reports.
"These pieces have stood the test of time," Bryan notes. "They've transcended styles as they've come and gone and no matter what, they look great and are always 'in.'"
But antique sellers who want to reach young crowds should focus their efforts on blogs and Web communities, according to a new study. That's because 46 percent of respondents in a recent survey of shoppers ages 18 to 44 said they're influenced by blogs and online communities when it comes to making purchases, reports Hill & Knowlton, an international communications consultancy. And 16 percent will share their shopping experiences through social networks, notes Joshua Reynolds, the company's worldwide technology practice director.
"Our research indicates that online shopping increases in a downturn, providing a potential offset for offline retailers experiencing revenue losses in the downturn," Reynolds says.
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Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.