TM0901_Market Focus, Antique Buyers (1,070 words)
By Kate Mason
They're extraordinarily wealthy, highly educated, and have a penchant for purchasing high-priced items. Who are they? They're American antique collectors … and possibly a direct marketer's most desired target demographic group.
ANTIQUERS' SPENDING HABITS
"They're a dream demographic," says Patricia Hoffman, marketing and promotional manager for Arts & Antiques magazine, a publication that boasts a list of nearly 180,000 active subscribers with a median yearly income of $164,000. "These people are passionate about their hobby, and their purchasing percentages continue to rise." Apparently, the country's slumping economy hasn't rained on this group's purchasing parade: "On average, our readers spent $5,990 on antiques in the past year," reports Hoffman.
While Art & Antiques subscribers exhibit generous spending habits for the sake of their collections— $2,000 for a late 15th-century carved ivory salt container, for example, or a cool $2,500 for a rare Polish cast-brass table—they also spend on travel to galleries and antique shops nationwide in search of the perfect piece.
High-end antique collectors rank among the nation's elite; and while they fervently seek out additions to their collections, they are also hot targets for many similarly high-priced items.
"With this demographic, it seems the more high-end, the better," says Rob Odri, list manager, American List Counsel. Odri manages The Magazine Antiques subscriber list—an exclusive file of 78,000 readers with an average net worth of $1,149,000. "Condé Nast has had proven success with this group—publications such as House and Garden do well since collectors are interested in anything related to their hobby. But the sheer affluence of this group attracts all sorts of direct marketers."
John Papalia, president of Statlistics, agrees that direct marketers of high-end, luxury items such as clothing and jewelry have had great success with this discriminating demographic. "They [antique collectors] have the financial means to support their passion, and also to support their affluent lifestyles," he says.
where the money goes
In addition to predictable marketing efforts—by art and antique galleries and exhibitions, and niche publications—this demographic also is targeted for travel and vacation offers, upscale clothing catalogs such as Neimen Marcus, financial services, lawn and garden furnishings, home decor and almost any other item or service that will help to beautify their homes.
Fund-raising efforts, as perhaps expected, have been heavily aimed at this market, and antique collectors have proven to donate generously to a variety of charities. "Fund-raisers are obviously drawn to the wealth of this group," says Odri. "Major charities, in particular The Boy Scouts of America and Alzheimer's groups, have had enormous success with this demographic."
Cultural fund-raisers, too, may encounter success with The Magazine Antiques subscribers—64 percent of its readership reports having active memberships in various museums and cultural clubs.
While antique collectors are associated with substantial wealth, as evidenced by the demographic data of leading consumer antiques magazines, not all collectors exhibit such affluence. For example, the Antique Trader Weekly, written for those interested in buying and selling antiques, attracts an audience of men and women with an average household income of $45,000.
"The Antique Trader Weekly caters to a different audience than other antiques publications," says editor Kyle Husfloen. "Our readers are less interested in high-end period furniture and art pieces, and more interested in nostalgic items and collectibles. So our focus is on low- to mid-range antiques—those that may cost under a hundred dollars or in the low thousands."
While not displaying the exorbitant wealth of high-end collectors, Antique Trader Weekly readers have demonstrated a high response to direct marketing campaigns, and have proven to be high-volume buyers of mail order goods and services. And, according to Husfloen, his subscribers might be a hot target for a variety of marketing efforts. "They're active, they have disposable incomes, and many are baby boomers, so they're interested in anything nostalgic—familiar references to the '50s, '60s and '70s—stuff that reminds them of when they grew up." Oldies music clubs take notice!
Hitting the Target
Antique collectors have proven highly responsive to traditional direct mail campaigns. Subscribers to The Magazine Antiques, in particular, have shown a predilection toward direct purchasing; 78 percent took action as a result of reading The Magazine Antiques and 35 percent telephoned or wrote for additional information about a product or service.
Online marketing efforts, however, may prove less effective for targeting this group. Though they're a highly educated demographic—an impressive 96 percent of The Magazine Antiques subscribers list attended college—their upper age range may render them less computer savvy than would warrant aggressive online marketing. While the demographic's ratio of men to women seems fairly matched, most collectors are age 40 and older. "On average, they're a mature group," observes Hoffman, but adds that a market trend in recent years has seen a fair percentage of 30- and 40-somethings joining the antique collecting community. "Younger people who come into wealth or have done well in business are looking to start on their collections early," she says.
Discriminating, smart and often quite wealthy … antique collectors do appear to be a dream demographic. And, according to Odri, list brokers and marketers continually witness a great deal of activity with these lists. "Marketers keep using them because they're such a responsive and profitable group," says Odri, "They are recognized as a very viable audience."
Here is a sampling of available lists for rent:
Antiques Road Show Book Club: Reach 26,000 antique collectors, dealers, appraisers, curators and historians of above-average affluence who joined The Antiques Road Show Book Club by making an initial purchase and agreeing to order three more books over the course of the next two years. Price: $100/M. Contact: American List Counsel, (800) 252-5478.
Antique Trader Weekly: These 41,189 subscribers with high disposable incomes are interested in buying and selling antiques. In addition, the publication's subscribers are highly responsive to direct mail campaigns and proven high-volume buyers of mail order goods and services. Price: $85/M. Contact: MSGi Direct, (212) 388-8800.
Arts and Antiques Magazine: Here are 179,567 upscale, direct mail-responsive subscribers with the discretionary income to purchase high-ticket items. They have a median income of $164,000 and own collections valued, on average, at $135,900. Price: $100/M. Contact: Statlistics, (203) 778-8700.
The Magazine Antiques: Reach these 78,000 affluent and well-educated magazine subscribers who have an average household income of $239,000 and an average net worth of more than $1 million. Subscribers also illustrate a predilection toward direct purchasing. Price: $150/M. Contact: American List Counsel, (800) 252-5478.