The art economies value chain reports: art business trading practices and policy views

Aboriginal people (Australia) Torres Strait Islander people Arts First Peoples art Rural and remote communities Australia
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Survey respondents indicated some confidence in the future, expecting art product sales to increase by 15% over the next five years. Art product sales had been slow over the last five years; sales were down by a mean of 13.5% for both private and public art businesses. Private businesses were most impacted: in the period 2008–12 turnover was down for the majority of businesses: • more than -30% for over half the private businesses • more than -55% for 25% of private businesses. Seventy-four percent of current sales were to Australian residents, and NSW and Victoria were the largest markets. The Western and Central Desert were the most popular sources of art products for private art businesses. Most growth in sales (37%) was anticipated from sales to Australian private buyers, followed closely by international buyers (35%), primarily tourists. Europe and North America were the main international markets, with growth anticipated in North America and Asia. Sourcing materials for new products was not considered to be the major challenge in product development; rather, the main barriers to product development were that product design and development are time consuming and expensive, and that finding new markets is difficult and obtaining funding is a major barrier. Private art businesses did not think it was easy to work with remote artists and art centres on product development; however, they did believe that artists are interested and willing to create new products. Art Centre respondents emphasised the value of visits from private art businesses and the value of sharing information about artists, customer purchasing behaviour and emerging markets. Respondents indicated that artists, Art Centres and private art businesses need information on market trends to enable more timely and informed responses to market and product development opportunities. Private and public art businesses are finding it harder to make a profit from the sale of art products. Quality control is important to maintain brand credibility. Art businesses seek changes to industry policy settings. There were four policies that survey respondents provided feedback to, because they had direct impacts on the art sector: 1. Changes to Self-managed Super Funds was perceived to have had a significant and detrimental impact on collectable art 2. The Resale Royalty Scheme was criticised for its limitations regarding distribution of funds, particularly in relation to deceased estates and unknown artists 3. The Indigenous Art Code was criticised both for not improving industry practices as well as contributing to over-regulation of the sector. Several galleries indicated that there was no benefit to joining, given that membership was not conditional on performance standards 4. The fourth policy was the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986. There was limited knowledge about the implications of this policy, primarily because the policy related to international sales, which did not concern most respondents. However, it was considered to be an unnecessary barrier to international sales by some respondents.

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