Online Art Sales Reach $3.75 Billion in 2016

If you sell art online, you might be encouraged by some online art sales statistics reported in the 2017 Hiscox Online Art Trade Report. Hiscox is an international provider of specialized insurance to small businesses and property owners.

According to the Hiscox report, online art sales reached an estimated $3.75 billion in 2016, up 15 percent from 2015. This gives the online art market an 8.4 percent share of the overall art market (up from 7.4 percent in 2015).

The online art market is predicted to reach $9.14 billion by 2022.

“For those who say the online art market has had its day, it hasn’t even had it’s morning yet. It’s still waking up,” says Robert Read, head of art and private clients at Hiscox.

 

Cover art: Insecticide 13 by Mat Collishaw (photogravure etching, 2009), purchased through an online platform by Hiscox in 2017.

 

Key Findings

Most online sales are for works priced below $5,000. In the 2017 survey, 79 percent of online art buyers said they spend less than $5,000 per piece. This is up from 67 percent in 2015.

People who have purchased art online once continue to buy art online. About 65 percent of previous online art buyers purchased more than one artwork in 2016.

Fully 91 percent of online art buyers surveyed said the quality of art available is one of the most important elements in their decision to buy art online. They reject the notion that the online art market is a dumping ground for works that can’t be sold offline.

Some art lovers continue to be hesitant about buying art online. Some fear the physical art will look different from the online image. Or, buyers worry that the condition of the artwork might be different from what was anticipated.  About 73 percent of the hesitant buyers surveyed said they would like to speak to a human expert before making a decision to buy art online. Others would be interested in reviews and feedback from previous clients. Shipping options and return policies also matter.

Instagram has overtaken Facebook as the preferred social media platform for promoting and discovering art. Fifty-seven percent of art galleries said Instagram is the most effective in terms of raising awareness. About 35 percent of galleries said Instagram is driving direct sales, compared to only 7 percent of respondents who mentioned Facebook.

About $720 million in online art sales in 2016 came through online auctions by Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and Heritage Auctions. This represents about 19 percent of online art sales.

For most traditional galleries, e-commerce isn’t  a major sales channel. About 59% said online purchases account for less than 5 percent of their sales. The 18 percent of galleries that derive most of the sales from direct online sales deal in collectibles such as watches, design, furniture, and photography.

About 49 percent of galleries who sell art online do so through a third-party e-commerce platform.

Some online art platforms (29 percent) have either established a brick-and-mortar gallery space or are thinking about doing so.

What’s Next?

The report predicts online auctions will become a key battlefield this year. Virtually every online art platform has started to offer an online auction services.

To help further grow the market, online art platforms will seek ways to build trust with current and potential buyers. Expect them to offer buyers more background information the artist and the object. They may also boost the educational experience by producing more informative and interesting content.

Methodology and More Information

The 2017 Hiscox Online Art Trade report is based on a survey of 758 art buyers from ArtTactic’s client mailing list and a survey of 132 galleries and dealers representing a wide range of art and collectibles. The report also includes insights from one-to-one interviews and online surveys of key staff at online art platforms.

In the free, downloadable report you can also find profiles and ranking of the Top 25 Online Art Platforms.

To further educate both art buyers and artists, Hiscox publishes informative posts on Online Art Market Insights.

 

Artplode Sells Art for a Flat Fee Instead of Commissions

The days of paying commission to sell art are over, according to Maureen McCarthy founder and CEO of Artplode. Artplode is a cutting-edge platform where art is traded directly between buyers and sellers all over the world.

Artplode allows everyone – artists, collectors, dealers and galleries–to list art for sale for a one-off fixed fee of $60 per artwork with no commission charged to either buyers or sellers.

The site has attracted millions of dollars in listings of artworks from sellers in more than 40 countries since it launched in August 2014. Art can be purchased on Artplode at prices beginning at $1,000 to $126,000 for Andy Warhol’s Marilyn 26 lithograph.

Andy Warhol Marilyn 26 lithograph
Andy Warhol Marilyn 26 lithograph 1967 (PRNewsFoto/Artplode)

Artplode was created by the international art dealer to meet a gap she identified in the art market and to give art collectors a low-cost alternative to resell quality artworks.

McCarthy, who for 20 years was an agent for the publishing arm of the John Lennon estate, represents a number of respected dealers in works by the Masters including Monet, Picasso and Boccioni. She predicts Artplode will be a forerunner of the demise of auction houses that charge 40 percent or higher commission on sales and online art sales websites clinging to outmoded commission-based business models.

Prominent galleries in the UK, US, Europe and Australia have embraced the site where works by collectible artists Banksy, Andy Warhol, and John Lennon are for sale alongside art by savvy emerging artists who see value in marketing and selling their art alongside works by the Masters.

“The absurd rates of commission charged by auction houses to resell art, in some instances exceeding 50% of the hammer price has left many collectors looking for a better way to sell art,” McCarthy says.

She sees no reason why artists or anyone else should pay online galleries commission to sell art: “It is absolutely crazy that some websites are charging artists and collectors 30% or more in commission to sell their art online. Equally outrageous is the practice of some art sales websites requiring artists to sign exclusivity agreements that prohibit artists from listing their art for sale anywhere else.”

Artplode was created to be easy to use for buyers and sellers. Sellers list information about the artwork, upload photographs, discuss questions directly with potential buyers and arrange payment and shipping the art themselves. Specialist art consultants are available to assist buyers and sellers.

Collectors can quickly and easily navigate Artplode to find works listed by sellers in their own country or search by fine art category, subject, medium, style, country of origin of the artwork, size and price.

LINKS

Artplode

Gallery Specializes in Original Paintings Priced Under $500

ARTISTS. A new online gallery called Fifty Artists, is catering to art lovers who would love to support artists but are turned off by high-end gallery prices. Fifty Artists specializes in offering affordably priced one-of-a-kind originals

fiftyartistslogo“Early on, the team talked a lot about our own experiences buying art,” said co-founder Jason Kallas. “Our adventures ranged from awful encounters to celebrated interactions. These impressions shaped our belief that buying original paintings is harder than it needs to be. At Fifty Artists, we believe there is a large gap between how traditional galleries are marketing their artists and the reality of current shopping trends.”

Jason Kallis and his partner Gail Kallis believe that most galleries lack the capabilities to promote their artists and sell artwork online. This in turn makes it hard for potential customers to find artists they love and can afford.

Fifty Artists exhibits paintings and illustrations inspired by a range of art movements. They do not sell prints or reproductions.

“Everything is original and under $500. This has broad appeal no matter the size of your wallet,” commented Jason. “Rather than compromising on quality, we opted to sell smaller works.”

“Snow Day Driving” is a 12 x 12 inch oil on canvas painting by Chin H. Shin

Jason and Gail believe “smalls” are fantastic for a lot of reasons.

“Small paintings are perfect for the newbie seeking their first original piece as well as the seasoned collector,” said Gail Kallis. “Smaller works are more about personal enjoyment versus a monetary investment.” Buying smaller works also removes the pressure of finding a single, great piece. Small artwork fits into tight spaces, can be purchased online, and travels easily.

Smaller, original paintings are perfect for commemorating special occasions and make extraordinary gifts.

“Red cross” is a 22.5 x 30-inch oil and cold-wax painting by Karen Darling.

“We chose the name “Fifty Artists” because that’s who we want to represent. We want to promote fifty talented artists and thought the number fifty personified other positive characteristics,” Gail added. “To us, Fifty Artists says we take pride in who we represent and that the collection is curated. The number also indicates there will be spectrum of styles, but as a customer, you’re not going to be overwhelmed.”

“Today’s Weather” is a 14 x 14 inch watercolor and ink painting by Marsha Boston.

The Fifty Artists website includes abstracts, cityscapes, portraits, and a variety of other subjects.

Artists seeking representation through FiftyArtists are encouraged to apply online.

LINKS

Fifty Artists

About the Application Process for Artists