Art Collectors Snapshot: Inflation, Online Shopping and New Collectors

art market


What impacts art collectors today? This is a question that is always worth asking, especially during times of economic volatility like the present.

And because the art market revolves around what collectors do – buy art – what affects them also affects the gallery owners, curators and other professionals who help sell the art and return the collection. possible.

This summer, Artsy interviewed collectors around the world to verify their current behaviors, preferences, and more. Ahead of another busy season, we share our insights to give galleries and collectors an immediate understanding of the art market.

From inflation to shopping online and more, the following four takeaways speak to the state of art collecting – right now.

1. Despite inflation, half of collectors have not yet changed their buying habits.

High-income collectors feel comfortable spending money on art regularly, even during economic downturns.

Based on Artsy survey responses.

A major side effect of the pandemic has been rising prices for consumer goods and services – but this has not diminished the consumption habits of most collectors, with 51% saying that inflation has had no impact on their purchases over the past 12 months.

This means, of course, that 49% collectors feel have been affected by inflation. But a more accessible art market means there are more active collectors in play, all of whom have varying comfort levels and different approaches to weathering volatile economic times.

What we see now is that when the economy tightens, the art market becomes more concentrated at the top. Spending by collectors with less disposable income is declining, while those with more money feel comfortable continuing their buying habits as usual, or even increasing their spending.

In effect, nearly 60% collectors with incomes between $250,000 and $500,000 said inflation had not caused them to change their art spending. For those with an income above $500,000, that figure increases to 74%-and 25% of collectors of this slice purchased After art in the last 12 months than the year before.

2. More and more collectors are spending more of their art budget online.

The IRL art world is back in full swing, but a majority of collectors still prefer the convenience of buying art online.

Even as in-person shows resumed and galleries reopened, online shopping remained an important part of collectors’ shopping habits, and even increased in volume among all collectors.

Globally, 76% of collectors have purchased art online in the past 12 months. For “new generation” collectors – who started collecting in the last four years and spent at least $5,000 on art in one of those years – buying art online is highly preferred, with 90% have done so in the last year. Nor are these one-time purchases: over the past year, 56% of all collectors spend more than half of their annual art budget online.

These figures indicate that buying art online will continue to grow in importance as new collectors enter the market. Chances are that many have already purchased other luxury goods online, such as watches, antiques or cars. So they’ll probably expect their art buying experience to be just as smooth.

Online art marketplaces are particularly good places to discover new works.44% of respondents have used platforms like Artsy to find out which pieces they end up buying. The benefits of online collection have also extended to physical, with 61% collectors who purchased a work in person after discovering it online.

3. New collectors are buying more art than ever.

Aided by easier buying methods and a more accessible art world, new collectors are shaping the art market of tomorrow.

In 2022, 73% of all collectors bought the same number or more of works as last year, compared to 68% in 2021. This number is even higher for new “new generation” collectors, with 86% having purchased the same number of works or more (compared to 78% last year).

The growth in purchasing power of next-generation collectors is aligned with the boom in the online art market. Among these new collectors, 57% discovered an artist via an online marketplace whose works they then collected, and 46% bought art on a platform like Artsy in the past year. Further away, 66% prefer to discover the works on their mobile devices.

With these online shopping habits come expectations of convenience, such as public prices. Of all the new generation collectors, 70% consider the lack of visible prices to be their main obstacle to collecting online. Most collectors also prefer to pay for art by credit card, with 60% of all respondents—and 68% new generation collectors, placing it above other payment methods such as wire transfer or wire transfer.

Beyond their convenience, credit cards are more secure than the outdated PDF files and chat threads that galleries have relied on and transacted for years, opening the door to fraud. Collectors also think about it when they buy art with their credit card, with 70% naming security as their top priority when transferring funds to a gallery.

4. Collectors pay great attention to these emerging artists.

On Artsy, collectors follow and buy works from a diverse group of emerging artists, all new to the platform in the last 12 months.

Based on Artsy internal data.

Of all the artists newly added to Artsy this year, a group of 20 emerging global talents stand out as the most followed by collectors. Among them, Alfie Caine, Nedia Were and Danielle Mckinney, young figurative painters from the United Kingdom, Kenya and the United States, respectively, have more than 400 followers. In addition, 60% are artists of color, including 7 of the top 10.

In total, these 20 artists generated 891 commercial actions on Artsy, defined as auctions, orders or requests from collectors. Commercial activity is tied to following an artist on Artsy, as collectors receive notifications about newly available works from artists they follow – and the more artworks for sale, the more has opportunities to collect.

Norma D. Ross