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A New Breed of Online Collectors

A New Breed of Online Collectors

In previous articles, we’ve talked about the many recent reports confirming the online market is both booming and evolving in an “uberisation” direction. This puts digital platforms, like ArtAndOnly, who have embraced the technological aspect and have found savvy ways to reach online collectors ahead of the game.

To understand why these particular ingredients are important and effective we must look at the industry’s largest, and fastest-growing demographic of buyers – 18-34 year olds. This new breed of online collector expects much more than a simple e-commerce, transaction site – they want direct access to the market with a robust social media element to help them both discover works and get expert advice. They want highly curated selections to provide an entry point, and above all, a personal experience. In short, not all online platforms are created equal, and that’s why from day one we created ArtAndOnly to provide a personal gallery experience with a global reach.
Let’s look at some numbers. A recent survey by Invaluable (March 2016) has a wealth of data about this demographic:

  • 44% of art buyers under 65 now find new work online and through social media (up 9% from last year) which is noticeably greater compared to the 16% who are finding art via traditional galleries
  • 19% of those aged 35 or under made their first art purchase online, up 9% from the previous year. 49% made two to five purchases online over the last 12 months, and 92% said they would buy more in the coming 12 months
  • 42% said they were influenced by social media when buying art online last year, compared to 27% in 2014. And 85% have purchased art from multiple platforms. Many believe this new group of buyers will continue to change an art market already in a fast evolution


As this demo grows and settles down, they begin shopping less for “things” and begin considering collecting contemporary art as a hobby or investment. Even traditional auction houses have reported a major shift in buyer profiles:

  • Christie’s auction house reported 20% increase in online sales from buyers in the 18-34-year-old range, with a particular focus on similar buyers from Asia growing 12%, and their spending up by 34%. Sotheby’s reported 2016 has already seen a 41% rise in online bidders


However, while online sales grow and digital platforms boost their presence in order to reach a new generation of younger, wealthy collectors who are more receptive towards technology, they key is also providing a personal and social element. “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” said Rob Weisberg, Invaluable CEO. Social media plays a vital role in all aspects of the market, from building relationships with collectors and engage in conversations to discovering new artists and ultimately giving everyone access to truly global network.

  • 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%)
  • (35.7%) of U.S. consumers making over $150,000 and 26% of those making $100,000 to $149,999, prefer to purchase art at an online marketplace or website


All of the data above is interesting, but what it reveals about this powerful younger demographic is important. Today’s new breed of collectors want a comfortable environment to browse, research and acquire art with expert help navigating the market, personal advice and complete transparency into prices and fees. By adding this experiential and personal connection from start to finish, cutting edge online platforms like ArtAndOnly have a distinct advantage. We can reach and respond to what collectors are really asking for – and deliver that right into your home.