What is going on?
The 2016 art market seems to be lagging. Sales tend to be down, it is not something that only I noticed but it is the main conversation among the vendors. This downward sales trend seems to affect all segments of the Native American Arts market; jewelry, paintings, sculptures, etc. So what is going on?
I theorize that this sales trend is common during the election years. in 2012, and 2008 there was the trend. During this unsettling and disturbing time, we get to observe presidential candidates hack at each other and vie for campaign dollars. Dollars that could be used in the purchase of art. Just consider how much a campaign costs. Consider Ted Cruz's campaign this year, it is at 54.8 million, with 99% of that from individual contributions. Of that 54.3 million, 42% are from small individual contributions (Opensecrets.org, 2016). This is only one candidate!
Another point is the idea that people tend to hold on to cash until the fate of the presidency is decided. This seems to hold true, with much exception to the 2008 financial crisis.
Of course there is the fact that the Fed raised interest rates in December 2015 for the first time in nearly 10 years. We surely must understand that this affects our market, because that act changes our target market's financial outlook.
As working artisans, what do we do? Well, I find that we tend to barter with each other. I think that it is great we see the value in each other's work. Great job! I believe that most of us understand this and has already planned to weather the storm. The economic outlook is good for Art in 2016 up through 2020. Artisans, look at different avenues to selling art. For the buyers, you may find quality art at lower prices. The opportunity is still there.
Hang in there! I am interested in what you think though..
Opensecrets.org (2016). Sen. Ted Cruz. Retrieved from https://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/summary.php?cid=N00033085&cycle=2016#funds