Saturday, September 04, 2010

What's the MAIN way you have sold art in the last 12 months? (RESULTS)

The results of the annual Making A Mark Poll on the main way people have sold art in the last 12 months reveals a significant shift in the popularity of the main sales channels used by artists between 2009 and 2010.

What's the MAIN way you have sold art in the last 12 months?
(September 2009 - August 2010)
Results of the survey run on Making A Mark - August 2010
  (n = 52 responses in 3 weeks)
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
right click and open in new tab to see larger version

Here's a summary of the main changes compared to rgw 2009 results.

Gallery sales
  • Commercial gallery: gallery artist - Increase from 18% to 25% - suggesting that professional artists are working harder at their marketing or that sales outside galleries have been hit hard
  • Gallery:  Invite only Group Exhibition ( a new category) - 8% 
  • Gallery: "rent a space" exhibition - down to 4% from 5% last year
  • Commissions - Decrease from 21% to 12%, a major reduction of over 40%.  Commissions are much reduced when compared down on normal levels I've also heard anecdotal evidence that artists who normally work to commission are also finding that marketing channels are now generating very different results when compared to last year.  I'm speculating here but it seems to me that commissions are the type of purchase people make when they're feeling well-off and not worrying about their income.  While people's income may actually be secure a lot of people are very worried that it may not stay that way - and will wait and commission when they feel more confident
Artist's own sales channels

Overall sales are down across all channels operated by artists themselves  
  • Online sales via own blog/website - A very similar story down to 12% from 21% in 2009.  This could partly be to do with better definition of categories.
  • Word of mouth & family/friends - A steady source of sales which this year (10%) is very slightly down on last year (11%).  
  • Studio sales/ Open Studios - down form 7% to 4%
Online sales - commercial third party sites
  • Other online galleries and shops (a new category) was identified by 10%.  The question is which online galleries are generating these sales!  Please leave a comment if you voted for this category.
  • Online shop: Etsy - 6% identified Etsy as their main source of sales - a 300% increase (up from 2% in 2009)
  • Online shop: eBay - eBay sales have very nearly halved, down to 4% from 7% in 2009.  Who would have thought that eBay art sales would be running 3rd behind Etsy and other online galleries and shops?!
  • Print on demand galleries were identified as the main source of income for 2% of artists responding
The switch in the fortunes of eBay and Etsy reflects the trend lines in terms of traffic in the last 12 months which you can see in this chart.

eBay Art: last 12 months of visitor statistics for art categories

Note that the scale is in HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of visitors and the downward trend on eBay in 2010

Etsy: last 12 months of visitor statistics

Note that the scale is in MILLIONS of visitors and - unlike eBay art - Etsy is continuing to maintain very significant traffic in a difficult market.

You can read more about different sites and see more charts in my information site Online Art Galleries and Stores - Resources for Artists

Previous Polls

Below you can see the surveys and survey results in the last two years in these posts.

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