Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 22 October 2019

How wealthy millennials are boosting the art market

A survey conducted by UBS and art economist Clare McAndrew found that millennials were buying art more actively and frequently taking to the internet to do so

People between 22 and 37 years of age made up nearly half of the wealthy art buyers who regularly spent $1 million or more on an artwork. Reuters
People between 22 and 37 years of age made up nearly half of the wealthy art buyers who regularly spent $1 million or more on an artwork. Reuters

The global art market experienced another uptick in 2018, helped by an increase in the spending power of millennials, a report published by UBS and Art Basel said on Friday.

A survey of wealthy individuals conducted by UBS and art economist Clare McAndrew for the report found millennials were buying art more actively and frequently taking to the internet to do so. It found that more of them were willing to shell out big money on art than their older peers.

They also provided a boost for female artists.

"For a generation that might never own a car, their appetite for buying art is encouraging," UBS Group Chief Marketing Officer Johan Jervøe told Reuters.

"It may be a reflection of the unique and often experiential qualities of art and collectibles as long-term assets."

Overall sales in the art market grew 7 per cent to $67.4 billion (Dh247.5 billion) in 2018, according to UBS and Art Basel's third annual art market report.

People between 22 and 37 years of age made up nearly half of the wealthy art buyers who regularly spent $1 million (Dh3.67m) or more on an artwork over the past two years, the survey found, despite representing just over a third of the high-net-worth individuals surveyed.

For a generation that might never own a car, their appetite for buying art is encouraging. It may be a reflection of the unique and often experiential qualities of art and collectibles as long-term assets.

UBS Group Chief Marketing Officer Johan Jervøe

The results of the survey, which was conducted in Britain, Germany, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong, offered a silver lining for the art world as geopolitical and economic worries have weighed on overall sentiment.

As millennials grow into greater wealth, and benefit from a generational shift in wealth inherited from ageing parents, their wealth could reach $24 trillion by 2020, according to Deloitte.

Millennials' spending habits could provide significant potential for both online sales and art's squeezed middle, Jervøe said, benefiting the industry's overall health.

This younger generation of collectors with over $1 million in household assets to spend or invest helped buoy the digital art marketplace to $6 billion sales last year.

And a majority of them also took to photo-sharing social media platform Instagram to source and buy art.

Between 2016 and 2018, 93 per cent of the millennials made purchases online, spending $106,930 on average, while the slightly older Generation X — between 38 and 52 years of age -spent around half a million dollars on an average web purchase, but did so with less frequency.

Updated: March 11, 2019 12:12 PM

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