|The Tortilla Lady, 9x12, oil - $150 - contact Michael|
I had over 90 responses to my survey on buyer demographics. It's a small sample of the buying population, and no doubt it is biased toward my own network of buyers, students and followers. Although I did have one billionaire - really! - cruise through the Campobello Island gallery a few years ago and buy a truckload of paintings, she's at the far end of the bell curve. With that in mind, here are some interesting statistics, starting with what people are buying:
- Over 87% buy landscapes. I am, after all, a landscape painter! But each of the other categories - abstract, figurative and still life - had approximately a 20% share. (You'll note that some questions end up with more than 100%; these allowed for multiple responses.)
- Over 62% buy impressionistic work. Half buy "somewhat realistic" work" and and nearly a third "expressive" work. A tiny percentage, 4%, buy photo-realistic work.
- A strong majority of 73% purchase work that evokes a mood. A little over a third buy because the work evokes a memory of a particular place. Nearly half buy work that they want to study in order to improve their own painting skills. Whether a painting had bright or muted colors didn't seem to matter so much - 15% or less responded positively to this question.
Now let's look at who's doing the buying.
- More than 82% of respondents are 50 or older. Twelve percent are 70 or older. Only 2% are in the 21-29 age group.
- Over 70% have only a bachelor's degree. Over 30% have a graduate degree.
- Nearly 70% are employed. About a quarter are retired. Of those employed, over 70% are self-employed. Surprisingly, nearly 75% of those employed are either full-time or part-time professional artists.
- Slightly more than 86% of the respondents buy one or more paintings a year. About 14% have never bought a painting. Two percent say they haven't and probably won't.
So what does all of this mean?
- The average painting could be described as an impressionistic landscape that evokes a mood.
- The average buyer is over 50 with at least a college education and is self-employed as a professional artist. He or she buys at least one painting a year.
Now the question is, Should this data guide me in my future work and the marketing of it? I'd be curious to hear your thoughts.