The Hiscox Online Art Trade Report 2017
The Hiscox Report powerfully reveals that the last year has seen incredible positivity for the online art arena which has continuously grown against the backdrop of a challenging time for the global art market. In fact, the online art market now has an 8.4% share of this sector overall and there is no evidence to suggest that this figure is set to do anything but escalate in an ever-increasing digitalised world.
This has predominantly been the result of traditional ‘brick and mortar’ auction houses stepping up and starting to nurture and embrace a multimedia commercial agenda. Bricks-and-clicks account for four of the top ten companies listed in The Hiscox Online Art Sales Platform Ranking which is a surprising outcome compared against last year’s results. Such gains are highlighted by Christie’s online-only auctions seeing a particularly strong increase, 84% jump in sales.
One main element highlighted by the Report is that those successful online art sales are dominated by pieces priced below $5,000, approximately 79%, hence very little has changed from our review a year ago. These lower pricings are considered an ‘incubator’ for a new breed of younger collectors coming into the market place and there is ever increasing assurance that buyers are gaining confidence with reaching the higher price points.
The hesitant art buyers unconvinced of purchasing online is predominantly due to the lack of possible physical inspection of the items, however these issues are successfully being addressed by galleries and auction houses partnering or acquiring an online presence.
In the same instance, other notable increases of requirements by the buyers from last year is the need for human interaction (73% said they would like to have the opportunity to talk to an expert before purchase), as well as an education in the buying experience. This suggests that buyers are looking for more than just buying artwork. This evidence parallels the auction houses and gallery’s perspective as they would like to maintain more control over the client acquisition process and management.
Whilst e-commerce is yet to dominate total percentage of sales, there is a strong suggestion that the online art market is an important channel for galleries to broaden their international, as well as domestic client base. 54% of galleries state that their online sales have a global reach.
Social media too is becoming an increasingly important tool for galleries and dealers. This year, Instagram has now surpassed Twitter and Facebook as the social media channel of choice, with 57% of galleries saying they are finding this the most effective in terms of raising awareness.
To read the full report click here.