Investigations

Millennials And Their Role In The Modern Art Market

BY OLYVIA KWOK DECANI | Founder of Willscape Partners

When it comes to the modern art world, millennials have played a crucial role in the recent years. After the pandemic, they tremendously helped the art market to recover from countless museum, gallery, and exhibition closures.

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A report from Art Basel-UBS states that in the first half of 2021, millennials spent the most on art, helping to boost the much needed recovery of the market. Sales were also up by 10%, with millennials doubling the buying power of Gen X, and spending four times more than baby boomers!

Millennials have overtaken boomers

With the report by Art Basel-USB revealing that millennials are spending more on the art market than boomers, the demand for digital art and NFT’s has soared, which could be a good explanation for the millennial takeover.

The pandemic pushed more shows and exhibitions onto virtual platforms, therefore increasing the sheer number of digital artworks that were bought by collectors. This digital transformation allowed the art world to keep doing business, even when the law prohibited socializing and face-to-face contact with others.

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Clearly the millennials are more accustomed to the digital age, after all they grew up with technology, and therefore are a lot more comfortable with the online art world.

After becoming such a large audience, artists are making an efforts to appeal to millennials, even over other groups, which means the digital art world is likely become much stronger over the next few years.

Mike Habs “Pepper”

Keeping the art world alive with digital platforms

Social media has allowed art to be viewed by the largest audience ever. With the ability to host artistic events online, have digital trade platforms and connect with fellow art buyers, the art business is blooming!

The driving force behind this integration has of course been millennials, however the fact that the art world has embraced these digital tools means that the doors are now open to a whole new type of art enthusiast that are attracted via social media. When it comes to appealing to a millennial audience, social media is key.

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Why do millennials have a sudden interest in art?

More and more people are seeing art as enjoyable assets, so this top tier will be very strong. There are also vast numbers of new millennial collectors buying art and spending hundreds of thousands just to be ‘part of the gang’. At the same time, they seem to be driven by their own desires to help artists after the COVID pandemic.

Art is also becoming a popular way for millennials to build their wealth. So much so, that when it comes to considering whether art is a financial asset, millennials are twice as likely to do so over boomers. When inflation is at an all-time high, many, including millennials, wish to protect their capital by investing in art.

Millennial artists

It’s not just the consumers that are increasingly millennial. There is a recent rise in the number of millennial artists who have come onto the scene. Artists such as Sadie Burnette, Lu Yang, and Sam Falls are being introduced to students in Art History classes now.

To help support movements and voice their opinions, many popular millennial artists often use their work as a way of sending messages to their audience. Due to this, over the years, there has been a rise in politically-themed artwork.

Millennials also tend to lean towards contemporary art and value experience over objects. There’s more of a focus on the need to provide an amazing consumer experience, rather than just creating artworks that are pleasing to the eye. They want to feel something when they look at art, rather than buying a painting for no reason other than “it looking pretty.”

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Summary

The impact that millennials had on the art market is ever increasing. From the use of digital technology during the COVID pandemic to creators exploring brand new and uncharted directions in art innovation, the powerful influence of millennials is evident. Just look at how the art world changed over the past few years!


Olyvia Kwok Decani has been collecting and investing in art for over 15 years. After graduating from Queen Mary’s University in 2002 with a degree in Statistics, she opened her first gallery in St. James’s London. Olyvia went on to create an art fund for a private bank in Switzerland and continued to utilize her knowledge of emerging markets, sourcing works from China, Japan, and Korea. With years of experience, alongside in-depth knowledge of the art market and an extensive global network, Olyvia continues to be one of the most prestigious and successful individuals in the industry.  Her business, Willscape Management provides clients with expert perspectives and in-depth art knowledge in order to help them make a decision in confidence. They specialize in services ranging from finance and acquisition to portfolio management and art valuation. Their dedicated team of experts identify, value, and offer guidance on artworks of various time periods and movements.


WillstoneManagement.com


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