Before the Internet, the art market had long taken heat for being exclusive and secretive. Today, social media platforms and online databases and auction houses have democratized access to the art market. Collectors are now younger than ever, utilizing online tools to penetrate a market that twenty years ago would have ignored them. In 2014, Artsy interviewed collectors on their buying behavior and found that 73% believe that Instagram makes the art market more transparent. 51.5% of those collectors also said they previously purchased work from artists that they discovered using the photo sharing app. This is no surprise, considering the ease of discovery on the platform. Simply type in an artist's hashtag to see more of their works and, more importantly, discover how Instagram's 500 million users perceive these works. It's at this intersection of art and technology, that a new generation of collectors has been born and emerging artists can reach a wider audience.
Sara Pritchard, the head of day sales in post-war and contemporary art at Christie's explains, "younger collectors are looking for value. They are doing a great deal of research and really sticking to the mantra of buying the best that they can afford." Sifting through a social media influencer's followers or likes can bring up and coming artists from all over the globe to the attention of young collectors that are looking to acquire art within reasonable means. According to Artbusiness.com, the art market is responding to this trend as younger galleries have reported making 60-85% of their sales almost exclusively online, never meeting between 65-75% of their client base.
Increased accessibility to the art market via social media apps, has created a constituency of collectors that before the Internet, would not have easy access to the vast art market. Matt Carey-Williams, deputy chairman for Europe at Phillips, explains that for "the younger generation, there's more opportunity; there are more choices, more artists, more places to go and see." Instagram in particular acts as a marketplace, exponentially increasing sales volume. Many collectors admit to conducting business by direct messaging artists they have discovered on the app's 'explore' page. This explains why increased social media presence often leads to an increase in price for many works.
While exploring art on Instagram is great, it's also beneficial to see and discover new work by emerging artists at art fairs, galleries and museums. If you are interested in attending Arthena's tour of PULSE Miami Beach during Young Collectors Cocktails on Thursday, December 1, 2016, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.