Purchasing Habits of Fine Art Buyers

I did a workshop a week ago at the Port Moody Arts Centre. Among the attendees was Cam Anderson, whose business, MyArtClub.com, did a survey a few years back with buyers of fine art. It’s a very interesting report, and I thought I’d share some of it with you. This is a bit dated–the survey was done in 2007, so social media is not really a factor, but there are still some really good insights to be had.

Underground (painting) and Mine (poem)
Photo Credit: Faith Goble via Compfight

  • The main reason given for making a purchase was that art buyers bought on impulse, loved the work (78%) . Three secondary reasons were prominent: bought as a gift (54%), bought from an artist known to the buyer (48%), or bought while on a trip (48%)
  • for original art, art buyers have strong preferences regarding purchase locations or venues:
    • highest preferences are buying from the artist directly (71%) and at local art shows (64%)
    • art galleries (51%) represent the most effective full time retailer, and
    • online (15%) and gift / frame shop (12%) sales outlets are not significant channels for original art
  • fine art buyers advised they would consider buying directly from artists in order
    • to see the artist benefit financially
    • to get to know the artist, and
    • to get more meaning from the art
  • the most often stated advertising medium by clients to learn of arts events (by far) is the newspaper (73%), followed by signs (54%) and then personal invitations, whether by mail (46%) or email (45%).
  • half of art buyers (50%) seeking art online are looking mainly for work by local artists, and state the internet is used to find art and shows (54%). Art buyers prefer to see pricing on art websites (58%).

When it comes to buying art, purchasers often do so because they fall in love with the piece. This works both to our advantage and to our disadvantage. Art is subjective: what you love, I may find repulsive, and vice-versa. But we have the ability, as artists, to really create an emotional reaction in our viewer or listener. That is a very powerful marketing tactic.

Another very powerful marketing tactic is creating trust relationships. We want to do business with people that we know, like, or trust. So, the better I get you know the artist, and to trust them, the more likely I am going to want to purchase their work.

A really great place to start is with an e-newsletter. You can sign up for a MailChimp account for free, and use it for free until your list hits 2,000. Use it to inform your clients or potential clients about shows and sales, share your process with them, and photos of your work. Maybe even share tips from your field of expertise. It’s a simple marketing technique, and e-newsletter marketing is known to be immensely successful.

Looking for some examples? Sign up for Bernadine Fox’s eblast or Robi Smith’s Blue Lantern Studio News.

And if you’d like to read the rest of Cam’s fascinating report, you can contact him here.

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Rebecca Coleman

Social Media Marketing Strategist, Blogger, Author, Teacher, Trainer. Passionate foodie, mom to Michael, fueled by Americanos. I love my bike. Soon-to-be cookbook author. Localvore with a wanderlust.

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