Many thanks to the 187 artists who took the time to complete the survey.
There is a lot of interesting information I am analyzing for this blog entry and likely several more blog reports to come. Individual requested comparative reports for those who signed up will be sent out in the coming 2-3 weeks.
Charts to illustrate the findings presented below, with much more detail, are available to download here. Please open this Artist 2012 Sales Survey Report 1 (If you cannot open see the Adobe Reader download link below)
First a caveat:
Everything presented here is opinion. Do not base your marketing efforts solely on this. You must do your own planning in context of your own business. With a healthy sample size of 187, we do hope to provide you with some reasonable sense of how artists are seeing the art business, and what they plan to do.
The findings are:
- Half the 187 responding artists spend 20 or more hours per week. Page 2
- Half see their art business as somewhat or very important financially. Page 2
- A segment called ">20h-$NB" is defined to be those 70 artists (37%) who reported that they spend 20 or more hours a week, and the income is somewhat or very important to them. (NB is taken from Nota Bene which is good old LATIN for note well, aka 'important'). What I am looking to do by showing results for ALL in comparison wth those artists in this segment, is to show how this particular segment of the responding artists think relative to how the whole group thinks.
I picked those who are able to and do spend most of their working time - you might call them "full timers" - and married with that those who are somewhat or very dependent on the income from their art business. In other words these artists have some skin in the game from a business point of view from both time spent and money needed. You will see that sometimes this group shows some interesting differences when compared to the overall group.
- Market outlook is positive for 2012 by all artist respondents, and is even more positive in outlook by the >20h-$NB art business operations. Page 4
- Group art shows came out overall on top as best way to get income, but the >20h-$NB artists rank commissions first, and then galleries, solo shows and group shows. Page 5
- Promotions that worked in 2011 were # 1 direct selling to clients, then dealing with galleries/agents and media promotions as the most productive avenues, especially for >20h-$NB segment. Page 6
- Artist spent about 53% of time producing art (Page 7) and over 73% want to increase that time. Page 8
- Original art works sales were 72% of all income, with instruction generating 11% and copies or prints of originals generating 9.4% for all respondents, totaling 92.4% of all income sources. Page 9
The implications are:
- You can see where you fit in for hours per week, and review how other artists see the market from that similar perspective.
- Prices and sales units are seen to be going up. Artists should not lower prices, rather should at least hold prices steady and increase if their pricing analysis permits. A review of pricing benchmarks would be a worthwhile effort.
- The >20h-$NB segment is even more positive about sales opportunities. Seeing is believing! Don't let this very positive opinion sway you too much. You can feel some heart warming positive thoughts to be cautiously optimistic about marketing efforts you undertake this year.
- Commissions may be the best way to earn income, be sure you are promoting this or considering how to build this part of your business, if applicable
- If direct selling is the most successful, what are your promotions to contact and engage with your clients? Draw up a plan
- To increase the amount of time creating art means either having assistance with other time consumers, or getting more time to spend. A way to off load or save time doing admin and set up looks desirable. Could increased learning be done in tandem with creating?
- Income sources from originals is already so high it is hard to imagine that increasing as a percentage of your art business. Copies on the other hand do represent a way to reach a lower cost market segment. Our Art Market survey indicated clients buy as many copies as originals.
- Instruction while logical and lucrative needs to be balanced in time commitment if you want to increase your time creating and learning. Offer instruction as a block of time – say a weekend retreat – vs several weeks of once a week classes - to retain your maximum time availability.
Anyone who would like a spreadsheet (CSV) copy to examine the detailed survey submissions immediately is most welcome. Email your request for the "Report spreadsheet", to firstname.lastname@example.org
We will continue to report on our findings in upcoming blogs, and hope you find this of help. Please comment below to indicate / pass along your thoughts, comments and suggestions!
Download Adobe Reader software here