Earlier this year, Artsy asked gallery practitioners for their views and thoughts on today’s art world. The result was our Art Industry Trends 2023 report, released in April, which highlighted five key trends that emerged from our findings.
Now, as part of Foundations, Artsy’s new online fair focused on small galleries, we decided to revisit the results and zoom in on galleries with no more than six employees. The results—from more than 600 respondents—yielded several interesting findings, which we’re sharing below.
Here are four insights that we learned.
1. Most small galleries experienced a stable or increased level of sales last year.
According to our survey, some 46% of small galleries reported an increase in sales during the previous year, while around 30% indicated that their sales remained steady.
When examining the demographics of art buyers at these small galleries, the age group of 35–54 emerged as the primary segment, comprising 50% of the highest spenders. Here, there is a strong contrast with larger galleries, where over-55s made up a similar percentage of the high spenders as the 35–54 set.
2. Most online buyers are new to their business
In a post-pandemic world, online still remains a crucial source of growing revenue for small galleries. According to our survey, 51% stated that the online buyers they encountered last year were entirely new to their business. Additionally, 31% reported a relatively equal mix of known and new buyers in their online transactions.
A majority of small galleries also said that online sales either rose (38%) or stayed the same (33%) last year. The reason behind these growing artwork sales? According to small galleries, it’s online marketplaces, which were the most frequently selected option for increased sales.
3. Most small galleries planned on adding only a few artists to their roster this year
Most small galleries from the survey represent fewer than five artists (compared to larger galleries, where a majority represent more than 21 artists), so it’s no surprise that most smaller gallerists plan on representing one or two new artists in 2023. This mirrors the number of names that they added to their rosters last year, where most added between one and two artists.
4. Most small galleries planned on doing only a few art fairs this year
Art fairs returned in a big way last year, with more than 300 taking place around the world in 2022. Despite this number, some 47% of small galleries said they planned on taking part in one to three fairs this year, and 41% said they didn’t plan on having a booth in any fairs whatsoever.