Disruption has come to the traditional art gallery business. The latest insights from Unity Marketing about the new art consumer will guide retail art galleries to greater success in 2015. Since the recession, the retail art business has changed dramatically. In 2014 there were roughly 5,000 retail art galleries, down from some 6,500 galleries in 2010 ‰ÛÓ nearly a 25% drop in only 4 years, according to statistics compiled by D&B‰Ûªs Hoover‰Ûªs subsidiary.

While the number of retail establishments devoted to art has declined sharply in the past four years, the number of highly educated affluent consumers who can both afford and appreciate art has grown significantly.

In fact, the ultra-affluent consumer segment, those with incomes of $250,000 and above, are the fastest growing segment in the U.S. consumer market today, up nearly 33% from 2010-2013. Overall there are nearly 30 million affluent households in the United States today, including 3.3 million ultra-affluents, according to Pamela Danziger’s piece, “Art Gallery‰Ûªs Guide to the New Consumer Art Market: Retailer‰Ûªs Guide to Marketing Art in New Luxury Style.”

The question is how to explain that the total target consumer market for art is growing yet the number of retailers devoted to art has dropped sharply. Have people with a lot of money lost their interest in buying and displaying art or has something else changed? The answer is simple:åÊ People who appreciate art haven‰Ûªt gone away, but they have moved outside the traditional four walls of a retail art gallery to buy art.

Affluents are turning more frequently to buying art directly from the artist. Or at art shows, like the Miami Art Week, which featured some 20 different art fairs, including the Art Miami show and Aqua Art Miami, both of which reported record crowds earlier. And they increasingly are buying art online, from such services as Amazon.com/Art, ArtFinder.com and Zatista.com, according to Danziger.

For example, in Unity Marketing‰Ûªs most recent survey among 200 art buyers, some 30% of affluents made their most recent purchases online and another 10% bought in some other way, such as at an art show. åÊ What retail art business can withstand losing 40% of their business when real customers looking to buy art walk right by their door?

Secure relationships with your local gallery owners, curators and art dealers by sharing some details on the Fine Art Collector audience. Convince them to align themselves with nearby arts groups because collectors are 262% more likely than average consumers to be members of arts groups, according to AudienceSCAN. Do your galleries have a presence at arts festivals? They should (at least advertise along with festivals)! 60% of Fine Art/Antique Collectors will attend arts festivals in the next 12 months. Sign galleries up for banner ads with you: 30% of collectors took action after seeing them in the past 30 days.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports inåÊAdMall.