Google Trends Show Antiques Heading South

I started to play around with a Google feature called Trends recently and noticed some troubling, well trends. Using the words Antiques, Collectibles, American Art, Auctions and Antique Show, there seems to be a universally downward spiral in searches being conducted.

For example, using the word antiques, the peak seems to be in 2004, the earliest period in the graph. The low point seems to be at the end of 2009. More troubling, the number of news references containing the term increased significantly beginning in mid-2008 and peaking in the third quarter of 2009. Most of the top cities using the search term are in the UK, although Boston, New York and Atlanta are in the top ten.

Using the word collectibles, the trend is the similar, although all of the top ten cities using this term are in the U.S. They include Philadelphia, Tampa, St. Louis, Orlando, Dallas, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Atlanta and Phoenix. You know this means the premiere American antique show, the Philadelphia Antique Show is in the nation’s collectibles capital.

If you compare search and news information for collectibes and antiques, the word antiques pretty consistently gets twice the traffic as collectibles. Using the word antique show, the peaks and valleys are greater with the valleys more pronounced in the fourth quarter. This is to be expected as the number of shows is weighted toward the beginning of the year. Top cities for this search term include Albany, Cincinnati, Rochester, Boston, Miami, Houston, Philadelphia, Austin, New York and Atlanta.

Comparing sales channels, while also experiencing a downward trend, the frequency of the word auction is at times more than 50 times that of antique show. News mentions of auction seem to have a dramatic peak at the beginning of 2009. Perhaps it’s the economy, stupid.

The frequency of antique mall seems to be pretty steady, although minimal in actual searches. That search term is being used most in Louisville, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Kansas City (MO), Fort Worth, Madison, Kansas City (KS), Columbus (OH), Richardson (TX) and St. Louis.

Put in the seach term ebay and you will notice more news mentions in 2008 and 2009. Some of these are not related to the industry, Ebay to buy Skype being one example. If there is a downward trend here, it only becomes really apparent in 2010. From 2004 until 2008 is largely an upward trend. Use of the term 1stDibs exceeds ebay and begins frequent use in late 2008. The word Latique does not appear in graphs.

The terms baseball cards, comics, LP, arts and crafts, American art and modernism all show downward trends.

I’m, not sure what to make of it all. Surely the recession has weighed on the market, but I’d imagine those looking to sell might hit the internet too. The only term I tried that showed a clearly upward trend was Lady Gaga. Her #1 city is Milpitas, CA.

About Art After X

With the death of President Kennedy in 1963, America changed. As hard as it is to minimize that sentiment, the effect of Dallas was even greater. The same year saw the merging of the Dallas Museum for Contemporary Arts, which had been central to the art scene, and the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. Douglas MacAgy, then the director of DMCA, not only opposed the merger, but also declined to directorship of the combined museum. The regionalist movement which had been strong for decades, was giving way to more of an interest in what was going on nationally, and internationally. Like it or not, Dallas was on the national stage.

When the Kennedy’s arrived in Fort Worth, local collectors had decorated a hotel room with internationally-renowned works. While the president and his wife learned a great deal about the ability of Texans to collect major art, there was little they could glean about the local scene in this era-defining city.

With this in mind, we have begun a project to look not back at the art scene in Dallas, but foreword from 1963. We are interviewing gallery owners, curators and others involved in the art scene then, but this will be a story told mostly through interviews with artists active in the city from that point into the 1980s.

The result will be a book with a video component.

We hope you will join us in our journey. The hashtag for the project is #artafterx and the url will point to the latest updates on this weblog.


I spent some time poking around Google Trends as well…. searches for Restoration Hardware, Anthropologie, Ikea and the like have held steady with peaks throughout. and have far outperformed antiques in terms of searches.

Large auction houses Christies and Sotheby’s held steady until late 2008.

Obviously, assertive and innovative marketing is key. Nothing truly becomes ‘out of fashion’ – it just becomes buried by better marketing.

Maybe it would help if Lady Gaga went into the antique biz? 🙂

try a trend search for
antique, antiques, collectible, retro, vintage
like this.

The interest has not wanted. it’s somewhat fragmented.
Note the news results for vintage and retro, an upswing.
People are simply redefining the “what” of the item, not the purchase of “antiques” in general.

btw: people are more prone to search for an “antique table” than looking for “antiques” as a category. They have become much better “hunters” today. 🙂


Nice work Vince. I didn’t think to search for the words Vintage and Retro. I’m not sure I’d call it an upswing, rather more of a straight line.

I’ve played around with this feature too and found that vintage is definitely the upward trending word. Just a fashion thing I think whilst vintage clothing is in. I suspect the trend will reverse as soon as Vintage is no longer the in thing to wear.

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