The future is online

Artworks and fair expert Göran Ekberg discuss the vital customer experience, next generation antique buyers, Internet and how to plan for a successful fair.

3 min read

Antikmässan is one of the most visited art and antique fairs in Scandinavia with nearly 30.000 visitors in five days – but despite the great interest, the fair is struggling with finding a younger audience. Artworks met up with the fair director Göran Ekberg to discuss the next generation antique buyers, digitizing and how to plan a successful fair.

Göran Ekberg is no newbie when it comes to fairs. It's something he has been doing for the most part of his life and for the last 4 years his home has been Antikmässan in Älvjsö. The fair which is celebrating its 40th anniversary has sparked his interest for art and antiques, and it has made him realise that buying brand new isn't always the best option.

Tell us the 3 best things with Antikmässan?

1. Pop in to make friends with, talk to or quiz all the antiques experts from Sweden - all under one big roof. It is like the Antiques Road Show but bigger. It's Toys"R"Us for grown-ups. 

2. Everything is for sale. Compared to the popular Antiques Road Show you can buy everything here. There are objects for all price brackets.

3. Get inspired by the seminars. We have an ambitious program with almost 50 talks and interviews with people like Viktor Fredbäck, Claes Moser and Pontus Silfverstolpe. Last year there were 4 000 people coming only for the seminars.

What is the biggest challenge?

We need to attract a younger audience to be able to keep the fair energetic in the future. Today, the majority of the visitors are older than 50 years of age. Among the youngsters the word ”antiques” is something boring and a turn-off. My son for instance, would never buy something that would be older than five years.

So what needs to be done?

We maybe will have to change the name ”Antikmässan” to something more relevant and clever. But right now we are focusing on attracting  more exhibitors within contemporary art. Their clients are often a younger and I believe the mix of contemporary and classic art would add a great mix for the dynamic of the fair.  

Would you say that the fair is digital?

Previously, the fair was 70 per cent print and 30 per cent digital. Today it's the opposite. The future is online. People buy and sell antiques online and the dealers needs to adapt or die. This changing behaviour has given the antiques dealers an extra showroom where the clients are often more likely to visit, than the physical store. The digital change is a threat to the industry and thats why this fair is very important. Our goal is to create an unforgettable experience when you visit. 

Contrary, the digital revolution has given us the opportunity to get hold of the potential visitors before they come here. We can do this even by using our website and social media, but also online advertisements and films.

Lastly, what are you doing on a  any other Sunday than this one, when you are not treasure-hunting on the last day of Antikmässan?

In the winter I enjoy doing nothing but in the summer I’m sailing and playing golf.

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