The Other X Factor

New England Antiques Editor John Fiske sent out his latest column, this one titled The X Factor. As you might presume its about Generation X and their ability and willingness to buy antiques. Fiske cites research from the Center for Work-Life Policy which contends that due to challenges and circumstances out of their control, Gen Xers are taking a different life path. Large numbers don’t have children but do have extreme work schedules and strong career ambitions that aren’t really being fulfilled. Generation X is also in debt and has had more than their fair share of economic challenges including being trapped in homes they can’t sell.

As gloomy as this is, little attention is paid to the size of Generation X, however. And its small.

I too think a lot of the current situation in the antiques business has to do with demographics. The size however seems consistently lost in these discussions. That’s a problem regardless of the groups willingness and ability to buy antiques. If there are twenty people selling and ten possible buyers, the price goes down and the market deflates. If there are 10 sellers and 20 buyers, the price increases. Boomers are selling, but there are far fewer potential buyers in Generation X. Even if they (we) had the will and the means, Gen Xers couldn’t buy on the scale of the Boomers.

For consumers in any number, we have to wait for the Millennials to come of age.

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