HNW Collectors Often Bid Without Seeing Art First UBS 2021

HNW Collectors Often Bid Without Seeing Art First UBS 2021

The findings are based on a US study, the publication knows from industry practitioners that Asia. For example, there is an increasingly important player in online market auctions as well as the art investment market more broadly.

An earlier version of this news item appeared on Family Wealth Report.

The Study

The study showed that the use of online and social media channels to follow and acquire fine art is increasing among wealth collectors in the US.

High net worth investors invest in fine art an area continuing to pull in large sums of money. Are often happy to buy paintings, sculptures and other works without seeing them.

This suggests that investment rather than aesthetic enjoyment is often a driver, UBS shows.

A study from the Swiss bank, called Art in Motion, found that 58% of fine art collectors have bought a piece of art without ever having seen it in person. A percentage that has more than doubled from last year 26%.

With mainstream markets sometimes offering low yields and investors hunting for the “Holy Grail” of uncorrelated returns. Fine art attracts devotees even though the market is not immune to economic forces.


In March, a study also by UBS found that the market achieved total sales of an estimated $63.7 billion in 2017. A 12% increase from 2016 to reverse two years of declining figures.

The US was the largest at 42% of sales by value, with China in second place 21% and the UK the third largest market with 20%.

The Asian market accounted for 23% of global sales in 2017, and Asian buyers accounted for 15% of dealer sales globally. Chinese buyers represents the majority at 10%+ significantly from just 4% in 2016.

The online art market increased substantially in size over the last five years by 72% at $5.4 billion in 2017.

In its latest analysis UBS said that 84% of collectors are either always or opportunistically looking. To add to their collection with 58% planning to add to their collection in 2019.

Perhaps as a reflection of cultural and political trends, 57% said they bought art partly because of the artist’s gender. 70% expecting to purchase works by women in the next year.

The report studies attitudes and behaviors of fine art collectors in the US with at least $5 million or more of investable assets.


The study that collectors are increasingly at ease buying art online. The share of those buying via the internet before seeing the work in person has skyrocketed.

63% of survey respondents used the internet to take part in online sales. They are also using social media 67% of collectors follow an artist via this route.

While 65% have seriously considered buying art after first seeing it through their social media platforms.

Source: wealth briefing Asia story