How HGTV Has Revitalized the Demand for Antiques

Raise your hand if you watch HGTV more than you watch the news! Are the shows Fixer Upper, Fix or Flop Ft. Worth and maybe even Boise Boys your go-to shows to stream on a lazy Saturday afternoon? Well, you’re not alone! More people watch HGTV than many other programs on television, including Major Crimes and Fear of the Walking Dead. In 2017, HGTV’s most watched shows brought with them a huge resurgence in consumer demand for vintage and antique decor, accessories, and furniture.

Why People Love the Old Again

From flea market finds to the quest for the perfect Tiffany lamp, the old, the unique and the original are in high demand. So, why is this? We’ve continually seen the impact of Hollywood on how people shop and buy. It’s why the unsung roles of costume and set design have become more popular explorations. People want to learn how to dress and decorate their homes by the things they see and gravitate towards on their favorite shows. With HGTV, all they see is inspiration for their home, but what they’re coming to realize is:

  1. Original items are unique and allow them to extend their personal stories into their homes with vintage/antique goods.
  2. Vintage and antique pieces make a home more customizable to their own tastes and needs.
  3. Vintage and/or antique goods can cost just as much as their newly made counter parts, but have far greater quality.

A person’s desire for self-expression is a key driver in their shopping habits. It’s no wonder that old is new again. Consumer anthropologist Georganne Bender shares:

Look at the success of Magnolia Market in Waco, Texas, where it’s clear to see this impact. Waco is an unlikely vacation spot yet it’s now incredibly popular thanks to Chip and Joanna Gaines’ success on Fixer Upper. It is probably one of the top drivers in the regrowth of the popular vintage farmhouse inspired design; causing a boon to furniture and decor retailers alike who now stock lines that these stars design, as well as goods to compliment them.

Since the influence of the Internet and television clearly impacts any dealer’s sales, we went directly to the source to understand their perspective on vintage and antique decor.

What HGTV Stars Have to Say 

When you consider how influential HGTV’s shows are on customers, it’s impossible not to consider how antique sales are impacted by this, as well. With this rapidly growing interest, we wondered what the show hosts (the ones that actually use vintage and antiques in their design) had to say. According to Laurie March, a host of HGTV renovation shows and owner of Forward March Media, antiques are in high demand:

There’s been a huge demand from the public in the last decade for program content around remodeling and fixing things up, I believe, because many of us crave contact with skills and tools that empower us to change our own environment. People are obsessed with Good Bones, Fixer Upper, Boise Boys and many other online only shows because of this.

March feels viewers know that remodeling a home, with a contractor or by yourself, is an expensive, immersive process; but watching a 30-minute show that covers the start and finish of a project is really satisfying! Without lifting a finger, they can see the ups and downs of watching someone make choices and update a home all the way to the gorgeous end result. She does feel it’s important to note that these shows are really all about entertainment, though, and the real remodeling process often looks quite different. When it comes to use of vintage and antique accessories, decor and furniture, March shared:

I believe we’re all fatiguing on ‘trends,’ especially in the home. Being told incessantly that you need to change your home to be considered current has caused a natural backlash for many people, who rightly believe being trendy can be expensive and wasteful. Vintage interiors, fixtures, furniture, and accessories can be very appealing because they’ve got character, were often made very well in their time, and have a timeless, classic appeal. Plus, when you decorate with vintage decor, you will rarely have a home that looks like anyone else’s. That’s the #1 thing people want these days.

March’s beliefs were shared by David Bromstad, HGTV star and host of My Lottery Dream Home, “Originality is key. Antiques are one of the go-to sources for this. And budget allowing, higher-end antiques are where many homeowners are gravitating towards.”

Expanding Your (Antique) Reach

So how can dealers and retailers capitalize on this ever-growing trend? Well, participation in key consumer facing events (like our trade shows) is a no-brainer, but expanding sales comes down to setting up a successful online presence and marketing strategy. Using the Internet raises a valid point for merchants and sellers in the antique space – reinforcing the need to reach consumers from multiple avenues, including in-store and online alike.

Just take a cue from HGTV, who connects with their viewers (and your potential customers) not only via their TV shows, but also through online only TV series available on their website, video tutorials that offer DIY and tutorial information, regular social media updates, and even live experiences that connect viewers to their hosts throughout the year.

As a seller of vintage and/or antique goods, this means that you’ll want to narrow in on your core audience of buyers to those interested in what you sell. From there, you’ll want to figure out where they shop (your store, markets they attend, your websites), the channels they shop on (Etsy, Chairish, Everything But The House) and the platforms they use most (Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest). From there, you can build a strategy to use those channels to connect with new, would-be buyers of the vintage and antique goods you sell!

Capitalizing on This Ever-Growing Trend

Finally, as we consider how antiques are gaining increased popularity among consumers, it’s also important to consider how you can optimize this movement.

“HGTV has expanded the landscape of antiques and the connection they have with consumers while also giving customers the confidence and instructions they need on how to identify, shop for and even bring new life to antiques by repurposing and incorporating these items into their homes in new ways,” says Illinois based retailer and antique seller Tina Mastrangelo. “Their shows offer a fresh approach to using antiques, and as a merchant and antique seller myself, I try to use this to my advantage.”

This being said, she’s quick to recognize that not all antique buyers are inspired by this modern way of incorporating antiques into their home décor. “There will always be buyers who want traditional, pristine pieces that have nothing to do with today’s modern trends. Because of this, I recognize that my approach to selling to them may be different than other buyers – and I’m okay with that.”

It’s no wonder that when Harry Rinker from the Collector’s Journal predicted that the antique industry should “expect to see a rapid growth in online antiques and collectibles sales over the next decade as auctioneers, estate sale promoters, antiques and collectibles mall owners and others identify how to use the internet to their advantage.” He was right! The Antique and Collectibles Industry has flourished over the past five years due to an increase in the online shopping.

Retailers, antique dealers and collectors probably love HGTV as much as consumers do. Don’t miss out on the chance to build increased awareness of the antiques business because of it, and enjoy the sales that may follow.

How do feel HGTV has impacted the sales of vintage and antique decor, accessories and furniture?