With U.S. consumers spending more than $150 billion on arts and entertainment in recent years, new data released by Invaluable — the world’s leading online marketplace for fine art, antiques and collectibles — examines how consumer attitudes and preferences toward art will impact behavior for future generations. The “American Attitudes Toward Art” survey, fielded to nearly 5,000 U.S. adults in March 2016, found that age is a major factor in how U.S. consumers discover and purchase art, especially when it comes to capturing the next generation of art buyers.
With Millennials spending more than 30 hours a month on social media sites, survey findings show social media channels, such as Instagram and Pinterest, are the preferred art discovery tool among Millennials. Nearly half (44.3%) of young Millennials age 18-24 and 33.8 percent of older Millennials age 25-34 indicate they discover new art through social media channels, compared to the largest percentage of Baby Boomers age 65+ (29.5%) who prefer a more traditional discovery path by finding new art through museums.
When it comes to how the next generation will purchase art, more than half of Millennial respondents (56.9% ages 18-24 and 51.6% ages 25-34) said they would purchase art online, compared to only 19 percent of Baby Boomers (age 65+). In fact, roughly one in four Millennials age 18 to 24 prefer to purchase art through an online marketplace or website.
“Just as U.S. retail, restaurant and hospitality industries have wielded major digital-first transformations over the last decade to turn Millennial browsers into buyers, our survey findings reveal that Millennials’ mobile-first preferences are driving similar demand from the art industry,” said Rob Weisberg, Invaluable CEO. “There has never been a more critical time for our industry to prepare and execute digital strategies that engage, inspire and capture the next generation of art buyers — Millennials.”
While findings reveal that Millennials aren’t purchasing art as frequently as Baby Boomers, the survey shows Millennials see long-term value in purchasing art. Roughly 42 percent of young Millennials and 37.2 percent of older Millennials surveyed believe that buying art is a good investment, compared to roughly 32 percent of Baby Boomers.
“These findings not only reveal the importance of connecting and assimilating new generations and first time buyers into the art ecosystem, it also spotlights a tremendous growth opportunity in reaching new segments of buyers,” continued Weisberg. “As digital-first preferences continue driving more interest from Millennial buyers, we know that technology will play a critical role in engaging and connecting this generation to the art world.”
Additional survey findings reveal deeper consumer attitudes toward:
- Art Appreciation: Almost one-half (48%) of overall respondents indicated they like and/or appreciate art, especially Baby Boomers. Respondents over the age of 65 reported the largest appreciation in art (55%), followed by older Millennials (25-34).
- Art Genre Preferences: Consumers found Impressionist art was the most visually appealing over Old Masters, Asian art, Modern art and Contemporary art, with 42.1 percent of those polled saying they would purchase Impressionist art based on its visual appeal.
- Discovering Art: Roughly 22 percent of U.S. consumers discover art through social media channels, more than those who discover art through museums (20.8%) and art galleries (15.9%).
- Visiting Cultural Institutions: Consumers continue to visit museums and galleries, with nearly 40 percent (38.6%) visiting once a year, and 14 percent visiting on a monthly basis. Implementing social and digital strategies will be important to connect the 15 percent of consumers who admitted they are not visiting these cultural institutions.
- Purchasing & Investing in Art: Currently 65.3 percent of U.S. consumers purchase art at least every few years, and 37 percent of consumers say they would buy art online. The percentage of consumers who prefer to purchase art through an online marketplace or website (15.3%) was more than double of those who prefer to buy art at an in-person auction (7.3%). Preference to purchase online is also impacted by income, as more than a third (35.7%) of U.S. consumers making over $150,000 and 26 percent of those making $100,000 to $149,999, prefer to purchase art at an online marketplace or website. Additionally, one in three U.S. consumers (33.7%) believe buying art is a good investment, especially among younger generations.