Thursday, August 02, 2012

ANNUAL POLL: What's the best place to sell art in the last year?

Every August I run a Poll in which I ask you to tell me what you, as an artist, have found to be the main ways that you sold art in the last year.  This year I'm running the poll for the fifth year with the aim of identifying:
  • The most (and least) effective places for selling art in the last year - in terms of which places generate the most revenue and turnover
  • The most (and least) profitable places for selling art in the last year - in terms of where did you generate the best profit
  • Trends in selling art in the last 5 years
Changes for 2012

This year the overall theme is about identifying the best place that you have found to sell art.  This month and next, the Making A Mark Opinion Polls will be looking at selling art from the perspective of flows - of money and potential collector traffic

This month I have:
  • generated TWO polls rather than one
    • the first focuses on income - which venue, place or channel generated the most revenue turnover in the last year
    • the second focuses on the profitability of different venues, places or sales channels - ie which of these has proved to be the best place to sell after you take related expenses into account
  • revised the categories to take account for last year's comments.  I'm also getting better at tweaking the descriptions to avoid confusion.
TELL YOUR FRIENDS: The more people who share and respond to the Poll the clearer the picture becomes as to what works best and what doesn't.  Please tell your friends!

#1.  What was the best place to sell art in the last year (most revenue)?

This poll aims to identify the places which generate the most revenue for artists.

The categories for the different sales channels are:
  • Commercial Gallery - Gallery Artist
  • Gallery/Art Fair - "Invitation" Exhibition
  • Art Society/Art Competition - Juried Exhibition
  • Annual Art Fair / Festival 
  • "Rent a Space" Exhibition
  • Street Art / Markets
  • Open Studios 
  • Direct from Studio
  • Online Gallery / Shop - eBay
  • Online Gallery / Shop - Etsy
  • Other Online Galley / Shop
The Poll is limited to:
  • the MAIN way you have achieved sales as a fine artist
  • ONLY sales in the last 12 months
You can find the poll in the right hand column - just above "For Your Information". The closing date is the last day of August and the results will be reported soon after.

#2.  What was the best place to sell art in the last year (most profitable)?

Last Sunday I highlighted a blog post by Liz Crain (Liz Crain Ceramics) A Frank Look at Money and Venues in which she unpicks the costs, the opportunity costs and the potential losses of selling work at different venues.  I called it an "eye-opener" and it's certainly a recommended read!

This second poll aims to identify the type of place which is most profitable in terms of the ratio of income to direct expenses.  In other words which place nets you the best return for your efforts?

I'm using the same categories as the previous poll.   This poll is just below the previous poll.

Previous Polls

If you can't wait for the analysis of this year's results you can see the surveys and survey results in the last four years in these posts.
NEXT MONTH - I'll be posting a Poll which looks at which channel generates the most traffic which converts to sales.  This will examine the various "triggers" such as Facebook and Twitter which generate traffic to view art.  This Poll will aim to identify which trigger gets traffic which most often converts to a sale.


  1. Thank you for your polls. They are both helpful and interesting. On this particular poll, you did not have this option: "word of mouth", which has produced many sales for me.

  2. Thanks for the comment Kiana

    With respect to "word of mouth" - it's not included as it's a marketing tool (like advertising) as opposed to a place (ie marketing channel).

    I'm going to be looking at the different ways in which we generate traffic - to direct people to the places where our art is sold - next month.

  3. I just submitted my vote in the poll, and am very curious as to the results. I too, was intrigued by Liz' blog post. (I had to vote for 'juried exhibition', as my income in the past year was skewed by my largest ever sale which happened to be at such an exhibition - not a venue I generally consider to be real great for sales).

    1. One of the purposes of the blog is to monitor changes year on year - so any info which is skewed for an individual balances out across a large sample of respondents

  4. Katherine I take it 'direct from studio' includes commissioned sales?

    1. Well it varies so it depends. Some might get their comissions from galleries, others might get them via direct contact and a lot get them via word of mouth.

      For example, FBA members might get their Commissions via the Mall Galleries who have a lovely lady called Annabel who looks after commissions.

      I'm looking at how people raise awareness about their art in order to generate both traffic and sales next month

  5. These are wonderful! Thank you for all of your work on information and resource gathering.
    I have always sold the most art to Retail spaces "other than Gallery", such as gift shops and boutiques.
    Thank you again!


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