According to ArtTactic’s report, commissioned by the insurer Hiscox, in 2013 revenues from online art market totalled 1.570 million dollars. Despite this only represents 2,4% of the total market share, it is almost double of what was billed the previous year. And the fact is that estimates are very positive regarding to this area of the market’s health since, according to ArtTactic, in 2018 art will be sold online worth 3.760 million dollars.
According to Hiscox, this increase in online art sales is not a threat to physical distributors as it has happened with other products with a greater online impact. Galleries or auction houses can coexist with companies specializing in e-commerce sales of artworks.
The chance of acquiring art at more competitive prices, the access to an almost never ending catalogue of works and the increasing potential of the network are, without a doubt, some of the reasons for the good situation of this sector. But there’s also a reason that seems to be critical and that is the increase of the purchases done by young people very interested in acquiring their first works of art. A generation of emerging buyers that is willing to use the web for their acquisitions. In fact, regarding this report, 43% of young polled between 25 and 29 years old have bought art online without physically seeing the work. And a 67% of this age group is willing to buy this next year.
It is also very significant that 50% of the purchasers polled over 60 years old had done acquisitions online, even though it is between 20 and 40 years old where a gradual increase can be appreciated, pointing out a peak between 35 and 39 years old, where an 81% has bought art online.
Besides these buyers analysed by age groups, the report highlights that 67% of the polled have bought art online at a website without a little or no interaction with the seller.
Regarding to what kind of pieces are purchased online, ArtTactic’s report stated that, while the general perception is that online art market is perfectly suited for limited edition prints sales, clients also use this medium to search for original works. In fact, favourite works for online purchases are paintings (45%) and limited editions (43%), followed by photographs (37%). Very odd are the differences concerning to buying habits if we attend to the gender of the purchasers. The three favourite disciplines for men are painting (46%), photography (44%) and graphic works (36%). Women are also tipped in favour to these three disciplines but at a first place they are keener to graphic works (55%), followed by painting (44%) and photography (24%). There are also differences regarding the age of the collectors, 50% of the acquisitions made by buyers between 25 and 34 years old came to graphic works. Between 35 and 59 years old, even though there’s also a great interest for limited editions, seeks for paintings are growing.
The report also analyses the channels used by the polled to purchase their works of art. 49% of them have done their purchases on websites owned by galleries, 45% use online auctions and 26% has bought art to e-commerce specialized art companies, which means, regarding ArtTactic, that although a major part of the transactions seem to be done through the most traditional channels, e-commerce businesses of works of art are worth to be reckoned as a force of great potential in the market.