Study Finds Millennials Prefer Instagram to Museums

Social media reigns supreme.

Guests take a selfie in front of artist Camilo Matiz's "Take A Selfie/Fake A Life" neon at SCOPE Miami Beach in 2015. (Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images)

Millennials are the next big art market frontier, and a new survey shows that many of them are fine skipping a trip to the museum to discover new works of art.

“American Attitudes Toward Art,” a study conducted by online art marketplace Invaluable, claims it’s the first time more US consumers are seeing art on social media rather than in museums. In fact, 22.7 percent of US consumers on aggregate cite image-driven platforms as their primary method of finding new work. Only 20 percent of adults come across new art through museums, and an even smaller 15.6 percent do so through galleries.

According to the company’s survey, which included over 4,500 participants, 44 percent of millennials turn to Instagram and Pinterest. It’s a demographic that reportedly spends more than 30 hours a month on social media sites, after all.

What’s more, the study found that more than half of respondents would collect art online, compared to only 19 percent of Baby Boomers.

“Just as U.S. retail, restaurant and hospitality industries have wielded major digital-first transformations over the last decade to turn Millennial browsers into buyers,” Invaluable’s CEO, Rob Weisberg, explained in a statement, “our survey findings reveal that Millennials’ mobile-first preferences are driving similar demand from the art industry.”

Their data also yielded insights on art’s perceived value across generations. For example, 42 percent of younger millennials, identified in the study as ranging from 18–24, believed that collecting art is a good investment. However, only 37 percent of their older counterparts (millennials age 25–34) agreed.

It’s important to note that despite an increasing preference for digital discovery and acquisition, millennials are still getting out of the house and paying museums and galleries a visit. According to the data, nearly 40 percent of all respondents reported to visiting art museums and galleries at least once a year, while 14 percent said they went on a monthly basis.

These findings, while useful, more or less confirm the notion that millennials are inherently social media’s premiere generation. As we detailed last year, millennials are likelier to take risks, and are comfortable buying on- and offline.

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