Survey shows that Finns would buy art – if the buying were easier

30. oktoober, 2014

ornamo banneri en 670x350The Finns are interested in art and would want to buy it. However, the Finnish art scene does not serve all Finns but focuses on large-scale consumers of art. Art has been purchased by 65 percent of Finns, but 90 percent would want to purchase art. The Finns would want to spend even more money on art. These facts are revealed by an art market survey commissioned by the Finnish Association of Designers Ornamo. This is the largest survey of its kind produced in Finland to date.

“Art and those interested in art don’t meet. It’s sad that up to 83 percent of Finns feel that buying art is complicated and difficult. Art is considered distant and a hobby of a small inner circle. Many believe that art is only for the older and affluent Finns,” states Anna Rikkinen, the Ornamo art expert.

Many would want to spend more money on art

One-third of all Finns have spent less than 100 euros on a work of art or contemporary craft. One-quarter of them have spent somewhere between 100 and 400 euros. One in 20 Finns has spent more than 1,000 euros. The largest sums have been spent by large-scale consumers of art. The Finns could, however, spend more on art, although their impression is that art is expensive. The groups of Finns willing to spend either 100–400 euros or 400–1,000 euros on art are expanding. About 16 percent of Finns would spend more than 1,000 euros on a work of art.

“Not all art is expensive. One can start collecting art from unique pieces of contemporary craft, for example, ceramic plates. Some of them sell for less than 50 euros each. Small paintings sell for some hundreds of euros. Art galleries offer installment payment plans. Art can also be borrowed from art lending agents. For example, you can borrow a work of a famous graphic artist for a month for 20–50 euros. Galleries and art lending agents have good websites,” Rikkinen explains. Older consumers buy paintings, younger ones prefer photography

Men in particular buy sculpture 

The most popular art form in Finland is paintings. In addition to paintings, art jewellery is very popular. Apart from paintings, the older age groups and those earning more than 4,000 euros per month have purchased graphic art the most. Finns with medium incomes buy contemporary craft more than others. Men in particular buy sculpture, although they buy art slightly less than women. The art forms favoured by young people are now more varied than before. Young people are particularly interested in photography, serially produced posters and comics.

“When people buy art for their homes, the most important reasons for them to do so are the aesthetic qualities and pleasure derived from the art. According to the survey, art in public spaces can be more challenging. Men buy art as investments twice as much as women,” Rikkinen says. 

Art is not yet bought online in Finland

Many people prefer to buy art directly from artists at their studios or at art exhibitions. The most important factor in art purchases is expertise, and artists are naturally the best experts in their works. In addition, buyers want to see their money go directly to artists instead of intermediaries. Young buyers prefer to buy online, because they feel less close to artists and galleries.

Only 4 percent of buyers have purchased art online in Finland, but nearly half of the Finns are potential online consumers of art. However, more than half of the Finns would not buy art online. People want to see and experience the artwork before buying it. A mere picture of an artwork fails to capture something essential. On the other hand, there should be more information available on the Internet, and buyers should be able to contact artists and art dealers of their interest online.

The Internet is not yet recognized as a channel for art in Finland. However, there are many good international examples of online art stores including traditional dealers (for example, Saatchi Gallery) and new types of dealers (Etsy).

The extensive art market survey commissioned by the Finnish Association of Designers Ornamo was produced by the market research company Taloustutkimus (quantitative research) and Kopla Helsinki (qualitative research). The survey was taken by more than 1,000 Finns in May 2014. The art market survey has received funding from the European Social Fund, granted by the Häme Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment. A development programme of the European Social Fund supports national projects that promote business in the cultural and creative sectors.

Find the entire report, a summary of it, graphs and photos of various art forms at (in Finnish).