Saturday, 10 April 2010

The buying habits of fine artists - in the UK

How does your buying behaviour compare to fine artists in UK? Did you know that nearly 75% of artists responding to this poll buy online on a regular basis?

I've been running a poll on my information site Art Supplies in the UK - Resources for Artists since November 2007. The above chart shows you how people buy art materials in the UK. (Click the pic to see a bigger version or visit my information site)

Based on 86 responses - and in order of magnitude - the results are as follows (percentages are rounded):
  • 31% buy most of their art supplied online - spreading their custom around and doing business with reliable suppliers who offer great deals
  • another 31% have no particular preference and buy online and from their local art shop - choosing whoever can serve them better for their particular requirements
  • 26% are happy to do all their business with just one supplier
    • 16% have a great local art shop and are happy to do all their shopping there because it has a great range and good stock levels. Great art shops don't do one or the other - they do both!
    • just over 10% of fine artists are happy to deal with just one online supplier - who fulfills all their needs in a timely way
  • The UK fine artist appears to have little love for B&M art shops which don't offer a good service. Only 10% choose to do all their shopping in the high street despite the fact that some local art shops do not provide a great service.
    • 7% are prepared to shop locally even though the range of goods on offer may be limited and occasional stock-outs.
    • over 3% of people are averse to shopping on the internet and continue to shop locally despite major problems with what's available

The bottom line

When compared to the fine artists in the USA (see The buying habits of fine artists - in the USA), my own conclusions from the above is that
  • UK artists are slightly more likely to buy online than artists in the USA. 73.3% compared to 70% of USA artosts buy online
  • UK artists are discriminating and tend to spend their money with suppliers who deliver a good service. Although artists are happy to buy online, excellent local art shops still have an edge over excellent online suppliers if these are available to artists. I know I always oprefer to handle art supplies if at all possible and am prepared to pay the cost for doing that. However once I know my product well I may well order it online if supplies are available and the delivery service is good. My choice was the buy online and from my local art shop - however I always promote good local art shops.
  • UK artists use websites to shop around between different online suppliers. The message for online suppliers has to be that paying attention to the design and accessibility of their website could well prove to be a cost-effective measure. Anything which makes the information that artists want to know more accessible is likely to get returning buyers. Speaking personally, the websites I tend to look at are the ones which I know have got a good structure which is easy to navigate and good quality information about what is on offer.
If you'd like to take a poll just click this link to go straight to the poll

If you've got any comments - either as a retailer or an artist - do please leave a comment below (and please say which you are).

and finally......

If you'd like to see the inside of some excellent and traditional art shops in London and Paris try a virtual visit to see the slideshows on my information site My Favourite Art Shops - Resources for Artists which has just been awarded a purple star for excellence by Squidoo
My Favourite Art Shops - Resources for Artists
As more and more sales move online, it's crucial that all artists continue to patronise and support our favourite 'bricks and mortar' art shops in our towns and cities. These are where we can find the specialist art materials which can be impossible to find online. This site contains:
(1) reviews of favourite art shops
(2) photographs of what they look inside
(3) details of how to find them.

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