The rise of young art collectors in AsiaJuly 16, 2019
Asian art collectors are on the rise with the increasing numbers of world-class art exhibitions in Asia in the past ten years. Hong Kong as the emerging market for art sales, hosts Art Basel Hong Kong that gathers galleries in Asia-Pacific providing a diversity of historical material and cutting-edge works by artists all over the world. New art events such as Taipei Dangdai in Taiwan and S.E.A. Focus in Singapore set the focal stages of art market business, widen galleries’ customer base in Asia. Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan have among the highest average incomes in the world, and a high proportion individuals who are willing to spend.
A latest art market study brings out a new scenery of art collection. According to The Art Market 2019, a publication by Art Basel and UBS, Art Economics revealed that 46% of the collectors surveyed in Singapore were millennial collectors (those who are born in the 80’s and 90’s) and millennials represented a share of 39% of the total in Hong Kong. Collectors from the millennial generation were perceived as more active art buyers than others. Technology had also played a part in the growth. The Art Market 2019 pointed out global sales in the online art and antiques market reached an estimated US$6 billion, up 11% year-on-year in 2018. While China’s total art retail sales in 2019 are expected to grow at under 8%, retail e-commerce is expected to rise 30%. 93% of millennial collectors had bought from an online platform. Asian collectors are relatively more willing to conduct research, source and purchase online when compared with other regions. Those high-spending potential buyers, who are too occupied to participate in art fairs or exhibitions in person, can transact art at their fingertips. Online transaction also provides transparency and easy access to sales information. Many artists use Instagram, for instance, to receive sales requests through private messages. Galleries use Instagram feeds and its tagging function to link up items available for sale to their online purchase website.
Young art collectors with inherited wealth are better educated, compared to their well-off generations before them. Although findings of The Art Market 2019 showed that the greatest number of collectors, especially those in Singapore and Hong Kong, were motivated by investment return when purchasing works of art, the “social reasons for collecting” were “extremely or very important” among 62% of millennial collectors, a proportion much higher than that of the elderly group. They like to discuss about art, spend leisure time on them, express their personality and knowledge, and make friends in the artworld.
Hong Kong art industry favourably welcomes the rise of millennials in luxury markets. A Hong Kong gallery has 20% of its customers aged below 35 years old, whose spending takes up 30% of the gallery’s total sales revenue. The industry anticipates these millennial collectors help strengthen Hong Kong’s position as the third largest art exchange market, following the leaders New York and London. The momentum created is expected to be accelerated with the eventual opening of M+ in 2020.
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