When I was in the auction and antique business we had a saying- “it’s all about the stuff”. And it was true. If you had great “stuff” people would show up in at a barn in the middle of nowhere to buy it. And this is still true in many ways. The best art, antiques, furniture, etc, still gets a premium price but the rest of it is increasingly just “stuff” and sells for whatever it sells for, there is less and less of a floor for antiques and collectibles.
This is not an isolated trend. Objects are transitioning from destination to vessel. Older generations amassed collections of “mint in box” objects- dolls, pottery, etc. But more recent generations collect experiences- stories, photos, videos, etc. Before, a collector's quest was a complete collection of objects (Hummel figurines, for instance), now it is a complete set of experiences (a fully realized persona/story).
This is not to say all physical objects have lost their relevance, it’s just that their role is changing. They are increasingly playing a supporting role to experiences.
As we have begun to collect experiences the objects accumulate meaning by association. That experience, or story, ties itself to the physical object and deepens that object's meaning in our lives. It goes from being anonymous to personal. To gather this meaning the object must color and add to the experience in some way.
Consider our phones, those marvelous little things that follow with us wherever we go. A phone only has value as the device which enables and documents experiences. We understand that we can quickly backup and reload the data on another device. In many ways the data is more real to us than the device. The device itself has passing relevance. It adds very little color to our experiences. It's no surprise that very few people collect digital devices, mostly we recycle them.
So where does this leave us? Value is shifting from stuff to experiences, from collecting items to collecting memories. The objects that remain in our lives will mostly fall into two categories- they will fill a very basic human need or they will be tied to an experience. Toilets or totems. “Stuff" that falls in-between risks obsolescence. So if you want to bring more objects into this world I suggest you find ways to tie them to compelling experiences.