How the new generation of art buyers discover & buy art

The art market is in adaption mode

Five years ago no one believed that people would buy art online. People within the art world laughed at the first pioneers trying to create online marketplaces for art.

Today this picture has changed. The online art market sales reached an estimated $3.75 billion in 2016, up 15% from 2015. This gives the online art market an 8.4% share of the overall art market, up from 7.4%* in 2015. Platforms as Artsy, Artnet and Artland have emerged and changed the way you buy art.

The use of social media also contributes to the digital change in the art world. 91% of the galleries surveyed in the Hiscox Art Report 2016 said they actively use social media to promote their gallery and their art/artists with Instagram as their favorite platform.

These numbers tell that the art market is under change. It is no news. It is just to get things straight.

The new generation of art buyers

This trend is following the habits of the new generation of art buyers. Art buyers between 25–39 years are becoming the next generation that art dealers need to get in touch with to be able to retain the size of their costumer base. And it is clear that this challenge is difficult. A couple of days ago I read a discussion on LinkedIn where art professionals discussed the habits of millenials buyers and that many galleries are closing because they haven’t found out how to reach out to them.

Screenshot from the discussion on LinkedIn.

The millenials are the most important target group for the galleries.

The new generation of art buyers is not approached the same way as the galleries traditionally have reached out to potential clients. The new generation is digital. Many of them have their first experience with art on Instagram, Artland or other online platforms and social media. They don’t go to galleries the same way as before, are more individualized and have gotten used to having things coming their way — not the other way around.

The good thing is that this generation is ready to take risks which is also shown by their buying habits. They are not afraid to buy online. The Hiscox Art Report reveals that 44–46% of art buyers between 23–37 years buys online.

Source: The Hiscox Art Report 2017

For many of the millenials there is no difference in preference for buying online and offline (29–40%) and many of them prefer to buy online instead of offline (14–22%).

Source: The Hiscox Art Report 2017

The motivations for buying art seem to vary. The main motivation is the generation’s passion for art and the emotional benefits that follows. But the social aspect of being a part of the environment, the value potential and the identity and status are also drivers for this generation’s buying habits.

Source: The Hiscox Art Report 2017

The millenials’ habits and motivations require adaption for the art dealers to reach out to them and a big part of the art dealers are already in the middle of the transformation for reaching out to them. The use of online sales and social media among the art dealers is increasing. 74% of the galleries that participated in the Hiscox Art Report 2017 said that they expected the online sales to increase next year and 91% of the galleries said that they actively used Instagram or other social media to promote the artists. And that is important. 56% of the millenial respondents said they spend more than one hour each day on social media, up from 53% in 2016. In comparison 70% of under 35 year olds were spending more than one hour each day (up from 66% in 2016), and half of these would spend between one and three hours a day on social media.

The digital transformation of the art world is happening right now.

About me

I am an art lover, art collector and entrepreneur. I cofounded ARTLAND, the leading art collector platform in the Nordics. I talk to art lovers, art collectors, gallerists and curators everyday and dedicate my life to understand the dynamics behind their motivations and needs. I have been through every single art report — ten times — and we conduct reports and user feedback regularly for our +10.000 user base in ARTLAND. I am driven by using data to make a difference in the art world. A difference that makes it easier for the young generation to engage with art and impact their lives.

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