How does your buying behaviour compare to fine artists in USA? Did you know that
- 99% of fine artists are willing to buy art supplies online
- 70% actually do buy online on a regular basis.
I've been running a poll on my information site Art Supplies in the USA - Resources for Artists since November 2007. The above chart shows you how people buy art materials in the USA. (Click the pic to see a bigger version or visit my information site)
Based on 78 responses - and in order of magnitude - the results are as follows (percentages are rounded):
- one third of fine artists (33%) prefer to go with whichever art materials supplier serves them best - they're neither wedded to their online supplier or their local art materials store. This figure is very similar to that experienced in the UK and suggests that around a third of the market is always going to be looking across the whole art economy of B&M and online art stores for their supplies and deals. These are the people who are going to be sensitive to aspects of online supply such as: ease of finding a product on the website; product pricing and delivery time and charges levied. In relation to the B&M supplier the issues are likely to revolve around whether items required are stocked, price points and urgency of need. In relation to both sets of suppliers artists may bring their custom for a sale but the really critical question is whether they come back and become a regular customer on a routine basis.
- 24% prefer to shop online and are price and customer service sensitive. They always spread their custom around a range of online suppliers of art materials. Essentially they give their custom to whoever gives them the best overall deal. However all suppliers should note that this level is lower than that experienced in the UK.
- Artists in the USA are much more tolerant of a poor customer service compared to the UK. 15% buy at the local art shop despite some problems in supply eg even if it has a limited range and occasional stockouts. This is significantly different to behaviour in the UK. I began to wonder whether distance between art shops might have anything to do with this. Some people will not buy online whatever and consequently will buy from a local store even if it's not providing the greatest service....
- ....however in the USA this only 1% buy at their local art shop because they don't like internet shopping. That says an awful lot about how online shopping for art supplies is now completely rooted in the American mindset as a normal fact of life. It's a message that all B&M retailers need to take to heart - and their business plans.
- By way of contrast some 14% are very happy to buy at their local art store BECAUSE it has a great range and good stock levels. This level is pretty much the same as experienced in the UK. Local art stores providing an excellent service can only be certain of capturing most of the purchases of around 15% of the the buying power of fine artists who live locally
- 11% buy all their art supplies from one online supplier who serves all their needs. This is the customer who is like gold dust to online suppliers - a dedicated buyer who keeps coming back!
My own conclusions from the above is that
- USA artists are more likely to support their local store and less likely to move all their purchasing online based on a parallel but identical poll in relation to UK suppliers
- neither online supplier nor B&M retailer can be certain of the custom they will continue to attract. Consequently both sets of suppliers of art materials need to be working hard all the time to provide the best service and the best prices they can possibly offer. Artists continue to support their local art shops but 99% are also very willing to buy online if what they want is available at a reasonable price and can deliver when they need it - even if they don't do so right now
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.
Tomorrow I'll reveal the buying habits of fine artists in the UK!
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.