A 5 minute guide to understanding the online art market in 2015

A market growing exponentially
The online art market has reached a volume of $ 2.64 billion. As online art sales went into high gear last year, global online sales platforms of art and collectors gained popularity. Using a growth rate of 19 % (calculated for the slightly more mature line of luxury products) this value will increase to $ 6.3 billion in 2019! Fifty-two percent of online shoppers surveyed say they are more likely to buy more art online over the next 12 months than in the last 12, and 34 percent say they will spend the same amount, which underpins the estimation of growth rates at 12 months of the online art market.
Buying a work of art: a “multi-experience”!
Art buying has transformed into a multi-channel experience. These results suggest that art buyers have become less dependent on the traditional gallery as a place of purchase and, increasingly, collectors either choose one or the other channel to acquire works of art. In the future, it will be essential to offer a choice of acquisition channels to potential art buyers.
Buying online : additional galleries
Knowing that 91 % of respondents have made purchases from a gallery or a traditional auction house before buying online, “brick-and-mortar” (traditional sales companies storefronts) remain essential to inform and build trust via the purchase of art. An online art purchase must thus be regarded as a complement rather than a substitute for galleries, auction houses auctions and fairs.
The new generation turns more easily to purchase online
That said, the survey results show unequivocally that the online art market attracts and shapes a new generation of art collectors. Online sales platforms play an important role as an access point for new buyers, especially because art buying via this channel is often perceived as less intimidating. In fact, 45 % of respondents feel the art buying process on an online sales platform is less intimidating than at a gallery or a traditional auction house (as compared to 39 percent last year).
Loyalty collectors to the online buying process
These results show that once past the first online purchase, collectors are very prone to reuse the same process that they were satisfied with their in their previous experience, from order to delivery. The online purchase of a work of art is no longer just a casual activity, but becomes a real purchasing behavior, which reinforces the art market’s position in relation to the online art market in general for the future.
The investment value of the work has started to play an increasingly important role!
Return on Investment is a strong motivation for online art buyers. While the emotional benefit remains an important motive for buying online art works, up to 63 percent of respondents are also attracted by the “potential value” or return on investment. Motivation linked to investment is more prevalent among novice art buyers (defined here as those who started buying art less than three years ago), of which there are 75%, to include the potential of value as a trigger for their online art purchase. This implies a sense of negotiation and demonstrates the potential of art selling via online sites.