Sustainability credentials: appealing to a new generation of antique buyers

Think about buying a wardrobe and which shops spring to mind? For the younger generation, the likes of Ikea and Argos are likely to feature in the top five. These shops stock cut-price, flat-pack goods and it is easy to understand the attraction of buying such products in an economy where money is tight; however, are buyers thinking about the future value of these purchases? Vintage fashion is currently on trend and being green is becoming mainstream; therefore, there is a window of opportunity to attract new buyers to the antique furniture world.

Sustainability credentials

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Inherited antiques

In times gone by, treasured furniture would be passed down from one generation to the next; however, as people live longer, the younger generation is in for a long wait to inherit, which is why they are turning to cheap furniture and getting rid of it when it is no longer useable. The figures for how much furniture is thrown out in the UK are shocking. According to West London Waste, ten million pieces of furniture are thrown out every year.

Young people do not intentionally want to produce more waste and are generally conscientious consumers. They will spend their money more readily in a shop with ethical credentials, but they appear to be unwilling to put in the legwork to find greener ways of shopping.

Shopping habits

London is one of the vintage capitals of the world and yet collecting antiques is still seen as something the financially well off and time rich do. It is precisely here, however, that there is a gap in the market. If buying antique furniture was cost effective, and older items of furniture could be sold at a reasonable price rather than being thrown away, there could be a change in shopping habits.

We are not just talking about wardrobes or tables and chairs here. Antique bars from businesses such as are bought by companies and individual buyers, proving that antique bar furniture in London does not have to be used exclusively in London pubs. It can be brought into the home, for example, and used as a kitchen bar. You just need to think outside the box.

Perhaps now is the time to consider how, as an industry, we can attract new interest in buying antique over flat-pack.

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