After years of steady growth, young and wealthy collectors in Asia are increasingly dominating the global art scene, particularly through online channels. This demographic, primarily consisting of millennials and Gen Zers, is not only spending more on art but also reshaping the types of art being collected.

According to the Art Basel & UBS Survey of Global Collecting 2023, the median expenditure on art and antiques for high-net-worth millennials in Asia was $59,785, with Gen Zers spending around $56,000 in the first half of 2023. These figures represent a significant increase from the previous year, indicating a growing interest and investment in the art market among younger generations.

The art world is witnessing a “massive shift into digital,” with the online art market projected to grow to $17.76 billion by 2030. This trend is particularly pronounced among younger collectors, who are comfortable with and even prefer online transactions. Christie’s reported that 80% of bids across auctions were placed online in the first half of 2023, a stark increase from 45% in 2019.

Young collectors in Asia are diversifying their portfolios, moving away from traditional preferences. Millennials are drawn to sculptures, installations, photography, and film or video art, while Gen Zers show a strong inclination towards digital art and prints. This shift in taste is also reflected in their interest in both contemporary and classical Asian art, underscoring a desire to connect with their cultural roots.

Auction houses are responding to this shift by ramping up their digital presence. Christie’s, for instance, has embraced livestream auctions and online bids via platforms like WeChat, experiencing a record high of 60 million views on its livestreams in 2023. This digital engagement is not just a response to the pandemic but also a strategic move to attract a younger, more digitally-savvy clientele.

The rise of young art collectors in Asia marks a pivotal shift in the art world. Their distinct preferences for digital art, emerging artists, and a strong connection to their cultural roots are not only influencing what is being collected but also how art is bought and sold. With their growing influence and comfort with digital platforms, these young collectors are redefining the landscape of art collection and investment.

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China Market