The Art Collectors of the Future: How Will They Buy?

The Art Collectors of the Future: How Will They Buy?

Source: MyArtBroker.

The Art Basel & UBS Report claimed that Gen Z are spending more on Prints & Editions than any other category, but how are they collecting and why? My Art Broker surveyed Gen Z print collectors.

Gen Z, born 1997-2012, is gradually stepping into the art market’s spotlight. With the older segment of this generation now in their 20s, a number find themselves in a unique financial position to begin exploring the world of art collection. A generation largely opposed to ‘tradition’ in every aspect of life, we found that Gen Z is – unsurprisingly – rethinking the art market as we know it. In contrast to older generations consuming within the market, Gen Z is bypassing auction houses in favour of more direct and transparent ways of buying art. Preferring prints from emerging artists and street art, their choices underscore a profound emphasis on authenticity, access, and personal enjoyment. Our survey, conducted in February 2024, sought to uncover their collecting habits: what they’re buying, where they’re buying it, and why.

This digitally native generation is steering away from the conventional alleys of art acquisition, favouring a model built on transparency, direct artist support, and digital platforms. The reality revealed by our survey is that the traditional art world and market, to the younger eye, seems fundamentally out of touch and near-impossible to participate in.

51% of Gen Z say the appeal of art prints is the access to artists they couldn’t otherwise buy unique works from

Graph showing the type of prints that Gen Z buy.What Type of Prints do Gen Z Buy? © MyArtBroker 2024


Our survey reveals that an impressive 89% of Gen Z collectors are drawn to prints by emerging artists, while a significant 46% are investing in established artists’ prints. When asked why the medium of prints and editions specifically appealed to them, 51% answered that it gave them access to artist markets they otherwise couldn’t buy unique works from. On the contrary, 43% said that the appeal of prints comes purely from the creative process of their creation.

In terms of the genres that appeal to Gen Z collectors, street art emerged as a particularly popular category. Likewise, photography emerged as a Gen Z favourite with over 20% of respondents collecting photographic prints. The preference for these categories reflects Gen Z’s drive towards supporting underrepresented voices, and a desire to connect with art that speaks directly to contemporary experiences and social issues. This generation values art that is not only visually appealing but also carries a narrative that they can resonate with.

An overwhelming 89% of Gen Z are championing prints by emerging artists, underscoring the generation’s inclinations to supporting new talent. This might be inferred as reflecting Gen Z’s fresh approach to the art market, fostering a more inclusive and diverse art world. However, the reality is that works by emerging artists come at a lower price-point for budding collectors.

“In 2074 – 50 years from now – the boomers and ageing millennials that make up the vast majority of major collectors will be dead. Gen Z will be the prime collecting generation. The race to build a marketplace truly fit for this generation, and the next, is on.”


A graph showing where Gen Z buy art prints fromWhere Do Gen Z Buy Art Prints? © MyArtBroker 2024


In terms of where Gen Z are buying their art, online and social platforms are the go-to venues of acquisition in 2024. Unsurprisingly, a substantial 76% of respondents purchase art through online platforms, highlighting the significance of digital marketplaces. This digitally native generation looks to online venues for ease of purchase, and the significance of social media should not be underestimated as a powerful source of marketing towards the next generation.

78% of Gen Z said they’d never buy art prints from auction houses

A graph showing where Gen Z claim they'd never buy art prints fromWhere Do Gen Z Claim They’d Never Buy Art Prints? © MyArtBroker 2024

A striking 78% of Gen Z collectors have expressed a clear aversion to purchasing art prints from auction houses. This speaks volumes about the generational shift in acquisition habits. This overwhelming majority demonstrates a profound disconnect between the traditional modes of buying art and the preferences of younger collectors. Previous generations may have viewed auction houses as prestigious, bidding on art for the sake of theatre and social clout. Gen Z on the other hand sees them as emblematic of an opaque system, one that prioritises exclusivity over accessibility. Rather than putting all their eggs in one basket and trusting auction house provenance without question, Gen Z collectors are more frugal and willing to browse for a better deal in the art market. Simply put, they’re not interested in participating in the pomp of the traditional art market for the sake of it, and are more likely to purchase artworks via transparent online sales – as they would with most goods.

“Previous generations may have viewed auction houses as prestigious, bidding on art for the sake of theatre and social clout. Gen Z on the other hand sees them as emblematic of an opaque system, one that prioritises exclusivity over accessibility.”



  1. 96.3% of Gen Z say they buy prints ‘for pure enjoyment of the work’
  2. 87% say to support the talent they love
  3. 38% say to be part of a community

The prevailing attitude among our respondents underscores a great shift in priorities. An overwhelming 93% of respondents indicated that the investment potential of art does not factor into their purchasing decisions. Instead, their focus is squarely on personal enjoyment and the support of artists.

Only 7% of Gen Z consider investment potential important when collecting art

Despite this current disinterest in the financial aspect of art acquisition, this might be largely owed to Gen Z collectors not being entirely aware of the opportunities available to them in the art market. As one respondent commented: “I don’t have the money to invest in expensive art, and don’t have any idea about what is likely to grow in value.” As seasoned collectors will know, however, “expensive” does not always equate to a good investment in the art market. Investing in an emerging artist is largely a game of luck. Young artist markets are some of the riskiest to invest in, with no proven value growth or liquidity.

Blue chip prints are by no means “affordable” for every Gen Z collector, and primary motivation for collecting art should always stem from a genuine love and appreciation for the piece. However, this segment of the market undoubtedly offers far greater liquidity than artworks with no sale history whatsoever. The Affordable Art Fair kicks off in London on 6th March – an art fair historically favoured by a younger audience with artworks priced between £50 and £7,500. While it is important for Gen Z collectors to support emerging talent and be driven by passion, there appears to be a gap in understanding the level of art accessible within their budget. Specifically, collectors who are prepared to invest at the higher ends of the Affordable Art Fair price spectrum could, in fact, acquire prints from iconic blue chip artists such as Damien HirstBridget Riley, and even Keith Haring and Andy Warhol for under £10,000. These prints offer entry into the markets of era-defining artists, and come with a proven history of value growth, presenting a compelling alternative to the works of emerging artists.

A woodcut print by Damien Hirst depicting 12 coloured spots against a white background.Perillartine © Damien Hirst 2011


For example, Damien Hirst’s Perillartine (2011) from the esteemed 40 Woodcut Spots series is estimated on MyArtBroker at £4,250-£6,500. This piece, originating from one of Hirst’s most sought-after collections and featuring one of his renowned motifs, comes from a limited edition of 55. With significant demand for these earlier works, especially following Hirst’s series of print drops with HENIPerillartine has demonstrated an impressive 27% increase in Average Annual Growth Rate (AAGR) over the last five years, making it an attractive entry point into the market of this Turner Prize-winning artist.

Similarly, works from Bridget Riley’s Lozenges series, valued below £10,000, have shown AAGR increases of 30-80%, further highlighting the investment potential within this segment. Even works by Keith Haring and Andy Warhol, such as select prints from Warhol’s Ladies And Gentlemen portfolio, fall within this price bracket. These works carry immense cultural significance, and offer collectors of all ages the opportunity to collect artworks from the King of Pop Art – something they might think impossible.

The challenge seems to be that Gen Z have yet to fully recognise the investment potential inherent in art, particularly in prints and editions. As this generation begins to accumulate more disposable income for investment in alternative assets, prints emerge as a strategic avenue to access mature, established artist markets at a fraction of the cost of original works. These prints offer not only the opportunity to own a piece of art history, but also the potential for tried and tested value growth – distinguishing them from the more speculative investments in emerging artists. In their decisive pull away from the traditional venue of the auction house, the race is officially on to build an art market that accommodates this next generation of collectors.