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No matter what the era, nostalgia prevails. Home decorators and professional interior designers alike tend to look to vintage styles for inspiration in each decade. For example , young people today yearn to mimic the stylings of a 50s era pad.
But will the gravitation towards thrifting some fixer-upper vintage pieces take from the boom in the DIY market?
Back in 2020, the more time people spent at home during the pandemic, the more money they spent to furnish it. According to a recent report from Business Wire, furniture and appliance spending grew significantly from $373 billion to $405 billion in 2020-to ’21. While eCommerce saw substantial growth over this period, one market segment, in particular, is on an upward trend: vintage and consignment.
The Current State of the Vintage Market
Researchers for Vogue found that Vintage and secondhand furniture retailer Chairish saw a 60 percent increase in sales. Kate Hudson’s luxury collectible site 1stDibs, whose most popular category is home, experienced a 23 percent increase. Additionally, Kaiyo, a startup and the self-proclaimed “Thred-Up for Furniture” says they’ve seen triple-digit growth month over month.
Overall, the Global Furniture and Home Furnishings market expects to reach $481.11 billion in 2025 at a CAGR of 4%.
A few factors can be attributed to the increasing popularity of buying ready-to-go furniture from consignment stores and vintage retailers. One reason is furniture retailers like IKEA and staples like Walmart are increasing in price yet lowering their quality. The pandemic also put a wrench in the typical flow of furniture supply and demand.
The price increases we’ve been noticing are related to annual inflation and rising costs. With the supply and demand being unprecedented, along with increasing shipping costs and labor costs, prices we’ve been accustomed to no longer exist. High demand, in turn, raises the cost of raw materials. When everyone began refurbishing their homes during the lockdown, manufacturers scrambled to meet demand.
With materials becoming cheaper but prices soaring, buying vintage makes sense. Vintage pieces were once out of the question – surprisingly expensive for secondhand, and the quality and condition of rare pieces cost a pretty penny. With IKEA furniture costing a second mortgage and breaking within months, many people see the value in scoring a gorgeous vintage piece that requires little to no maintenance.
There has always been a devout group of consumers who understood the value of vintage pieces, but now it’s becoming increasingly clear that vintage pieces are worth the price. But with all of that being said, does the vintage preference entirely skip over the ongoing DIY trend?
The DIY Market
With craft-selling markets like Etsy showing impressive growth, it indicates that DIY crafters will remain afloat since original handmade pieces provide one-of-a-kind pieces and provide an income source for artists. There are far more opportunities to start a career in DIY projects since the vintage reseller market is already slightly saturated. According to research from the New York Times, in the fourth quarter of 2021, Etsy’s active sellers on its platform increased 72% over the prior year to 7,522, while its active buyers rose 18% to 96,336. Overall revenue rose 16% from a year earlier to $717.1 million.
Not to mention the social commerce aspect of the DIY market. The search term “DIY Mirror” garnered 52.7M Tiktok views, 11,947 Instagram posts, and 78,900 Google searches between Q1 2021 and Q1 2022.
The second most popular search in this category is “DIY Vanity.” The hashtag and search term show posts on Instagram, TikTok, and Google that break down the DIY vanity building process, from constructing DIY mirror frames to building tables and drawers. The term has amassed 14.2M Tiktok views, 7,288 Instagram posts, and 73,500 Google searches in the same period.
That’s a lot of prospective crafters.
Another factor behind both the vintage boom and the DIY trend is sustainability. Shopping for used goods means supporting the circular economy—and keeping furniture out of landfills as a result. Both DIY projects and a China cabinet from the 50s maintain old unused furniture out of dumpsters. Maybe, just maybe, vintage sellers and DIY creators can work in tandem for the greater good.
The question is– will vintage craft and decor preferences hurt the DIY market? Probably not. They can work together to ensure a more sustainable future.