New York - For industry insiders, the wait is finally over. Now in its fourteenth year, the Asheford Institute's annual survey of top decorative arts buying trends from the past twelve months has just made its way onto both digital and paper newsstands across the country.
The international survey/poll of past students and graduates from the Institute has become a staple to many in the antique and vintage industry for its unique ability to look into the current state of today's decorative arts marketplace, as it relates to overall sales trends for dealers working within the collecting community.
Anthony Harper, the school's lead researcher, says the key to getting meaningful survey results that businesses and people can actually use to help plan their inventory buying strategies for the upcoming year is based on receiving actual sales data, alongside item-specific requests from buyers, which can then be used to indicate interest within a particular collecting genre.
(*Note: The link to the "complete survey listings" can be found at the end of this article)
As with virtually all business this past year, Harper says ongoing supply-chain issues continued to have an effect on almost every segment of the economy - including certain genres within the decorative arts field. "In 2021 we were all still recovering from Covid, but this past year, buyers, dealers, and collectors were out en masse, in-person, and were literally snapping up everything in sight." Harper says that by the end of summer many dealers were complaining about a lack of available and affordable inventory. "It wasn't just one category of collectible," says Harper, "it was virtually anything, from folk art to baseball cards." Similar tales have surfaced in previous years, but Harper says those scenarios were not even close to the severe shortage of available stock that many antique and vintage dealers faced in 2022. Harper believes that some collecting categories in this years poll may have risen or fallen not necessarily because of a lack of popularity, but because of a lack of stable inventory. However, he does acknowledge one upside to all the market uncertainty - for most dealers, sale prices rose sharply.
For Amber Shole, who's been compiling survey statistics for over eleven years now, the most striking change in poll results this year was also related to price. "Item listing values skyrocketed in virtually every area," she said, "and dealers took advantage by holding firm on prices." Fan favorites like Art Deco and Textiles continued to boom says Shole, while other perennial favorites such as Mid-century modern began to show signs of weakening. "There's definitely a shift," she says, "it's just a matter of being able to pick up on those markers before they become full-fledge trends."
In other areas of the survey there were also some pleasant surprises, as once again an unexpected (but familiar) era of collecting shot back up the charts to a respectable placement for the first time in over twenty-five years. The cause? Well, according to Shole, it's all about a younger generation that's turned frugal-collector. "Young people are looking for inexpensive eco-friendly choices and sustainability," says Shole, "and the antique and vintage market is giving them that." Shole believes that the creation of new trends in the decorative arts market is more of a symbiotic relationship than anything else. "Millennials and Gen-Zer's need something, and we're able to supply it to them," she says, "and it's that practical aspect that's driving the creation of some of these new trends."
For readers seeking the complete 2022 listing of all the best-selling antique and vintage genres and categories contained within the school's yearly poll and survey, you can find the full results (including this year's winner), by simply clicking on the link below...
Link To 2022 Survey/Poll:
**TOP SELLING ANTIQUE & VINTAGE CATEGORIES FOR 2022**
Emily Watkins is a freelance decorative arts writer, and an honors graduate of the Institute. She splits her time between New York and London as a contributing columnist to all things MCM and is also a recognized specialist in the field of Asian & European ceramics.
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