Women art collectors spent more than men in 2020

·2-min read
Female high-net-worth collectors' spending on art reached some $188,700 last year.

In a major first for the art world, female collectors spent more on art than their male counterparts in 2020, according to a recent report from Art Basel and UBS. In fact, their spending grew 13% on the previous year.

Sometimes, money is no object. And, according to the report -- titled "The Art Market 2020" -- that's especially true for female art collectors. For female high-net-worth (HNW) collectors -- with wealth topping US$1 million -- median spending on art was $188,700 last year, compared to $188,600 for male collectors.

While this trend was seen in markets such as the US, France, China, Taiwan and Singapore, it was particularly strong in the UK. On average, female HNW collectors in the UK had a median expenditure on art of $429,000 in 2020 -- almost twice the amount spent by male HNW collectors.

The rise in online art sales

These figures are even more impressive given that the global art market saw a 22% fall last year, according to this latest report from Art Basel and UBS -- a figure that would have been even worse if it wasn't for online art sales. Online sales reached $12.4 billion in 2020, a new record for the sector. Online sales also represent a quarter of global sales (art and antiques).

Younger collectors were a particular driving force, seeming particularly inclined to spend large sums online. In fact, when buying online, one quarter of Millennial buyers regularly purchased at prices in excess of $1 million, versus 13% Gen X collectors and 15% Boomers.

However, galleries and auction houses have been hesitant to sell high-value artworks online. According to "The Art Market 2021" , no sale exceeded $100 million in 2020, unlike previous years. Still, the art market's recent enthusiasm for digital NFT artworks could put paid to that, if the recent record sale of Beeple's "Everydays: the First 5,000 Days" for $69.3 million at Christie's is anything to go by. Watch this space.

Caroline Drzewinski