The online art market has exploded in popularity over the last decade, with countless buyers around the globe getting familiar with their favourite art gallery’s online offerings.
According to a recent Hiscox Online Art Trade Report, sales from 73 international online platforms accounted for approximately $2.63 billion in 2014. In 2021, this number soared to an impressive $6.79 billion.
So, what explains this incredible growth? Alongside ever-improving technology like rapid-fast internet and smartphones, the pandemic brought about a series of unique circumstances where art lovers had little choice but to browse and purchase from online art galleries.
Here, we delve into the reasons behind the staggering growth of the online art market.
Growing Confidence in the Online World
In the past, art collectors felt compelled to see a piece in person at an art gallery before committing to their purchase. Although many still follow this sentiment, buyers are increasingly comfortable purchasing sight unseen from an art gallery or auction house online.
This change is represented in the statistics, with online-only artworks seeing their sale price surge at high-end auction houses like Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips to the tune of 202% when comparing data from 2021 to 2019.
While most online galleries don’t have the same esteemed reputation as these institutions, up-and-coming galleries and marketplaces can develop trust with their target audiences through outstanding customer service and an unmatched sales experience.
The art market's increasing online presence is also rapidly attracting younger buyers. With the next generation incredibly familiar with making purchases online, these people often prefer to shop virtually than head down to their local art gallery.
In fact, almost half of new buyers now make their first purchase online.
The Power of Social Media
The rise of social media has also been a game-changer for art galleries and the online art market. For example, leading platforms like Instagram and TikTok lend themselves perfectly to people looking to explore their favourite artists and institutions from anywhere in the world.
According to the top online sales platforms, Instagram remains the most important platform for generating sales, with 89% of respondents choosing it as their preferred social media. Meanwhile, platforms like Facebook and YouTube remain vital online avenues for capturing the attention of would-be buyers excited to purchase.
Many leading art galleries and auction houses have also enhanced their success through live streaming. For instance, Christie’s benefited from over a million viewers getting online via their website and social media channels to watch their major 2020 sales event unfold.
The Future Online Art Market
The remarkable growth of the online sales market in the last few years has been largely attributed to the pandemic, with those intimidated by the traditionally strait-laced art market happy to purchase from their couch at home.
Yet now that art galleries and auction houses have reopened, there’s little chance of things returning to the way they were.
With the pandemic kickstarting a host of business innovations, this necessity has improved how art institutions engage with the online world. Plus, it’s helped established art consumers overcome their aversion to digital purchases.
Now, countless industry people and art buyers are keen for these changes to remain as the art market prepares for the digital future. From increased access to a greater diversity of options, there are plenty of reasons the online evolution has reshaped the art market for the better.
Browse Wonderful Local Artwork Today
Did you know Art to Art started life as an online art gallery? We've always strived to make art as accessible as possible, and focus on ensuring all artwork is represented accurately on our website, so you can shop online art with confidence. We're also always on hand to help your decision making process – whether by offering additional photos or videos of the artwork, a unique Art-Insitu tailored to your home or simply being on hand to answer your questions.
To view incredible artwork from some of Australia’s top emerging and established artists in person, head to Art to Art’s Melbourne-based gallery at 130 Bulleen Road, Balwyn North. Meanwhile, you can browse our full collection online before deciding on the perfect piece for your home. Get in touch with our friendly team today.