Last updated: 03:21 / Thursday, 10 January 2019
Says UBS Global WM

Over Half Of Fine Art Collectors Have Purchased A Piece Online Sight Unseen

Over Half Of Fine Art Collectors Have Purchased A Piece Online Sight Unseen

UBS Global Wealth Management released a report that unveils the majority of art collectors are going online and using social platforms to stay at the forefront of the art market year round. Released during Art Basel in Miami Beach, this special Investor Watch Pulse Report, titled "Art in Motion," studies the attitudes and behaviors of fine art collectors in the U.S. with at least $5m+ in investable assets. The percentage of art collectors who have purchased art online before they’ve seen it in person has more than doubled in the past year (26 percent in 2017 vs. 58 percent in 2018), while 63 percent of collectors polled have gone on the internet to participate in an online auction.

What’s more, art collectors are beginning to feel the pull of social media, using it as a resource to help them follow the art market closely. Among the collectors, 67 percent follow an artist on social media, while 65 percent have seriously considered buying art after first seeing it through their social media platforms.

“The technological trends changing the economy are increasingly changing the art market," said Karl Ruppert, Market Head of Florida Private Wealth Management at UBS Global Wealth Management. "There are potential opportunities presented through future growth of the online art market to attract new buyers at different price levels, which is beneficial to the health of the overall market. For gallerists, fairs, auction houses, artists and collectors, digital tools will be a key area of growth over the next five years.”

Women artists on the rise, and so are the investments in them

Women artists are increasingly being recognized for their standout contributions along with breaking their sales records — which hasn’t gone unnoticed among collectors. Almost three-in-five collectors see the artist’s gender as a determining factor when purchasing a piece, and 70% plan on purchasing works by women in the next year.

“While male artists continue to lead overall sales within the market, we found clients are increasingly recognizing that women artists are undervalued,” said Ruppert.

Collectors ready to buy, but cautious to sell

Collectors are eager to grow their art collection with half stating they’re always looking to add new pieces, and 34 percent are opportunisitically searching. Moreover, 58 percent are ready to make an addition in the upcoming calendar year, while 64 percent of fine art collectors are gearing up to spend more than $100k on their new additions in 2019.

More than half (58 percent) of these wealthy art enthusiasts view their collections as their most prized possessions. Not surprisingly, collectors are only willing to sell up to a third of their collection.

Passing along the passion: Concerns for art inheritance

When it comes to passing along their passion pursuit to the next generation, 58 percent of art collectors are worried their heirs won’t know how to care for the collection and 57 percent are concerned about taxes when passing on to the next generation.