The Art Market Revolution: How Young Asian Collectors Are Transforming the Industry


The Rise of Young Asian Art Collectors

Asia’s Wealthy Young Collectors Fuel Demand for Art

The Art Market Revolution: How Young Asian Collectors Are Transforming the Industry

Wealthy young collectors in Asia are making a significant impact on the art market, particularly through online channels. Gen Zers (those aged between 12 and 27) and millennials (those aged 28 to 43) have been increasing their spending on art purchases, despite being relatively new to the market.

According to the Art Basel & UBS Survey of Global Collecting 2023, high-net-worth millennials in Asia spent a median of ,785 on art and antiques during the first half of 2023. Gen Zers spent a median of ,000. These figures compare to ,820 and ,000 respectively for the entire year of 2022.

Christie’s, one of the world’s leading auction houses, stated that Asia is a key driver of millennial buying globally. Mainland China was the top contributing region by value for millennials at Christie’s Hong Kong 2023 Autumn Auctions, followed by Hong Kong and Singapore.

Chinese collectors had the highest median expenditure of 1,000 in the first half of 2023, followed by Singapore at ,000 and Taiwan at ,000. Chinese patrons were also the largest spenders globally.

Sotheby’s and Phillips, two other top-tier international auction houses, have also reported a surge in purchases by young Asian collectors in recent years. Millennials made up almost 40% of Christie’s buyers in Asia Pacific and 20% in the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East during the first half of 2023. There was also a 65% increase in new Gen Z buyers at Christie’s in 2023.

Phillips’ latest annual report showed that millennials accounted for nearly a third of the global buyers and 40% of Asian buyers in 2022. Sotheby’s 2023 report stated that bidding activity from younger collectors grew to 30% in the first half of 2023, up from 6% in 2018.

What Are They Collecting?

A New Generation’s Art Preferences

Younger buyers have different tastes compared to older generations when it comes to art. Millennials spent the most on sculptures, installations, photography, and film or video art in 2022. Gen Zers, on the other hand, favored digital art and prints, according to the Art Basel & UBS report.

Figurative work and surrealist landscapes that portray spiritual spaces are particularly popular among millennial collectors. Emerging artists are also highly valued by 64% of younger buyers compared to just 43% of older buyers.

Interestingly, younger collectors are not as concerned with collecting blue-chip art (well-known artists) as older collectors. Only 11% of younger collectors consider it important, while 23% of older collectors prioritize it.

In Asia, millennial buyers are showing interest in both contemporary and classical Asian art, reflecting a desire to connect with their roots and culture.

The Impact of Online Art Auctions

The Growing Importance of Online Sales

While physical auction numbers have mostly returned to pre-pandemic levels, online art sales are here to stay. The online art market is expected to reach .76 billion by 2030, according to a report by Grand View Research.

High-net-worth collectors have become more selective about attending physical art events and have reduced their visits to live auctions. As a result, the number of online art auctions has increased in 2023.

At Christie’s, 80% of bids across auctions were placed online in the first half of 2023, compared to 45% in 2019. The pandemic has accelerated the shift to digital, with collectors now feeling comfortable bidding up to .12 million online.

Gen Z collectors often purchase art online, particularly handbags, watches, and prints. Auction houses like Christie’s are investing in digital spaces to attract younger buyers who are more digitally savvy and globally connected. Livestream auctions and online bidding on platforms like WeChat have become increasingly popular.

Christie’s livestreams reached a record high of 60 million views in 2023, highlighting the growing engagement with digital innovations.

The rise of young Asian collectors is reshaping the art market. With their unique preferences and increasing reliance on online platforms, they are bringing new life and energy to the world of art collecting.