Researching the market for contemporary craft
A two-year study that quantifies and appraises the buying market for contemporary craft, which followed on from Making it in the 21st century (profile and economic contribution of designer-makers), and Taste Buds (developing the art market). This allowed the distinctions between the art and craft markets to be explored. The findings were then interrogated to create a contemporary craft production model and a supply route model, details market-regulating factors, identifies market segments and explores designer-makers’ motivations and attitudes alongside those of buyers and potential buyers. Recommendations addressed subscription activity, dealer networks, supporting excellence, and sector advocacy.
While there is a substantial potential market, the research shows that there is little drive to buy. Potential buyers put out excuses – money, lifestyle, life-stage, and more – for not buying. To them craft lacks a symbolic aspirational quality. To persuade people to buy contemporary fine craft demands a stronger retail model, reliable brands and more developed subscription.
Even if it were possible to imitate the fine art model, it is not necessary to do so. There are other models with the necessary characteristics, such as the antiques sector. Some buyers of contemporary fine craft even say that they are buying the antiques of the future.