A recent report from IBISWorld estimates that the Online Art Sales industry in the U.S. was worth about $287.5 million in 2011. This figure includes the sale of original or limited-edition artwork through online galleries, online auctions, online art fairs, and online art dealing and trading. The sales figures included data from 716 businesses and covered the sale of paintings, drawings, sculpture, photographs, and other media. The sale of reproductions is not included in the report.
According to IBISWorld analysts, the market for online art sales has been growing in line with strong demand from overseas markets and increasing access to internet-based retail outlets. Even as brick-and-mortar art dealers experienced declines during the past five years, online-based art sales have stayed strong.
The growth in art sales through e-commerce and online auctions is expected to continue through 2016, fueled by global growth in consumer spending and increased access through more broadband connections. Mobile apps are anticipated to provide further room for innovation in online art sales.
One reason for the strength of the online art market stems from the nature of its customer base. The goods sold though the largest auction houses are targeted toward high-end consumers. As such, the demand tends to remain constant even during times of greater economic turmoil. Also, the trade-weighted index, which measures the value of the US dollar relative to foreign currencies, has driven export sales to newly industrialized countries. Consumers in those regions have recently found themselves with greater levels of disposable income that can be invested in “soft commodities” such as original works of art.
In addition, online art dealers operate within the larger realm of e-commerce which has shown double-digit growth over the past five years. IBIS analysts believe that art dealers who have an e-tailing or online auction presence are well-positioned to take advantage of consumers’ preference for online shopping.
The full report on Online Art Sales includes Industry trends, statistics, analysis, and market share information. The report can be purchased from IBISWorld for $825.