Collecting insights: Singapore

As the region welcomes a new international art fair – ART SG – in 2023, explore the latest collecting trends in Singapore. Presented by Arts Economics and UBS.

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Showfloor at Art SG 2023

Growing support for art

Since 2019, collecting levels in Singapore have increased dramatically – both in terms of value and volume of works being purchased. By the end of the first half of 2022, the region had advanced from one of the lowest to the sixth largest market for median expenditure of 11 markets surveyed - surpassing Japan, the UK and Germany. Plans for the rest of the year also indicated that the amount of works purchased could be more than double that of 2021.

Art fairs return and thrive

Just over one quarter of collectors in Singapore prefer to buy from a dealer at an art fair, which is 10% higher than the global average. In 2022, more than half of all expenditure by collectors was through a dealer or gallery, and 18% of that was at art fairs.

A post-pandemic shift to local artists

Surveys of collectors in Singapore before the pandemic showed that foreign artists’ works were featured slightly more in collections, but 2022 saw a shift to local artists holding the majority share at 54%, also the second highest share overall next to Mainland China.

Although collectors worked with a stable number local galleries over recent years, for the 47% who prefer to buy locally, the top motivations were access to local artists, a desire to support local businesses and reducing their carbon footprint.

Closing the gender gap

As in other global markets, collections were dominated with works by male artists, with a share of 57% on average versus 43% female. While still unbalanced, the results showed signs of progress toward greater equity, with the share of female artists held in collections in the region having increased over time: from 37% in 2019 and just 29% in 2018.

Insights are taken from a survey conducted by Arts Economics and UBS, of more than 2,700 HNW collectors from across 11 markets - including 200 from Singapore.

UBS is proud to be the Founding and Lead partner of ART SG, launch 12-15 January 2023.