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The Artfinder Blog

Where do the art lovers live?

Have you ever wondered where the art buying capital of the UK is? Clue: It's NOT London.

We crunched the numbers and are delighted to report that Cambridge is the UK's art buying capital, with 916 artworks bought per million inhabitants in 2016. Next most arty city is Brighton, followed by Southampton, St Albans, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Oxford and then London.

There are also regional differences in what customers buy, with people in the South preferring abstract, non-figurative works and those in the North preferring animals, flowers and plants and landscapes, sea and sky.

"Our data shows that the whole of the UK is busy buying original art for their homes, but also that people in smaller cities and university cities are more likely to buy art than Londoners – maybe they have more space!"

"We are now seeing a new generation and a new kind of art buyer emerging, our audience are typically younger than those who buy from galleries, and they don’t necessarily classify themselves as ‘collectors’ – they’re not buying for investment, they’re buying because they want something handmade by a real person on their wall, something no-one else has got."

Top 10 UK cities (on customers per 1 million inhabitants):

  • Cambridge (916)
  • Brighton (625)
  • Southampton (535)
  • St Alban’s (506)
  • Edinburgh (500)
  • Glasgow (410)
  • Oxford (400)
  • London (378)
  • Bristol (307)
  • York (285)

Bottom 10 UK cities:

  • Stoke on Trent (48.2)
  • Walsall (48)
  • Wakefield (46)
  • Oldham (40)
  • Gateshead (40)
  • Bradford (36.5)
  • Rochdale (33.1)
  • Salford (25.6)
  • Medway (18)
  • Dudley (16)

The North South divide: art buying habits in the North v. South

What do people buy?


Paintings dominate with nearly 70% of all sales.


Paintings drop to 60%, handmade prints and drawings are more popular.

Popular Subjects


Landscapes are most popular, followed by animals and then abstracts.


Abstracts are most popular, followed by landscapes and then portraits.

Popular Styles


Impressionistic is most popular, followed by abstract, then graphic.


Abstract style is most popular, followed by impressionistic, then graphic.

*Artfinder customer data 2013 – 2017.

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