Together with ArtTactic, Hiscox has published a report about the online landscape of the art world. Along the way they have estimated what the online market is worth in 2019. They have unearthed a few peculiarities in the way that the industry works with Social media. Finally, the authors have nailed quite accurately why people buy online, what they prefer to buy online and at what price point. However, before we delve into some findings, there is one big reservation to make about Hiscox Online Art Trade Report 2015.
It is easy to slam reports like these because they have been sponsored by someone who could have some specific commercial interests and suspect the truth is being bent somewhat. While we should not suspend all rational faculties, it is not really the issue with this report. Hiscox is a specialist art insurer with no vested interest other than being considered a thought leader who understands its own market. Yes, they do want to sell insurance. But in a sense they are sharing findings from a market they must follow closely anyway. If you can derive some value from reading the report, so much the better from their perspective. It is really that simple.
Prediction of growth in online sales
It is not wholly improbable that the uptake in online art business from the recent past five years could provide a trajectory for future growth. Even as a conservative extrapolation, Hiscox Online Art Trade Report purports we could expect the value of the online market to rise to a net worth of least
US$6.3 billion by 2019
That equates to £4.1 billion or €5.5 billion globally.
The online art market right now
The bulk of the current online transactions still takes place below £10,000, with 84% of purchases made within this price band. Unsurprisingly, purchasing online is catching on with the savvy art collectors who are enjoying having a vast supply of art right at their fingertips and eyeballs 24/7. In addition, online is favoured by first-time or infrequent buyers and they are more likely to buy easel art and limited edition prints. 45%, i.e. almost half of the respondents felt that online purchases were less intimidating. However, fair or unfair that may sound, it could suggest that some people either expect or experience high street galleries difficult to approach.
Art and social media
Social media plays a role in art buying decisions, although the figure of respondents voicing so is somewhat insignificant. 24% of the respondents say that posts by museums, galleries and artist studios directly influenced their art buying decisions. Speaking of social media usage, the primary and secondary art markets do stack up a little different from other markets.
Facebook is not that that unusual in that mix, but the near absence of social media channels such as Youtube and Vimeo speaks volumes about either the report authors or the key players in the art markets.
Instagram is more popular in the art world than in any other world. At closer inspection it is not that difficult to understand why. It is convenient and fast way of raising awareness about works of art and all it takes is a mobile phone.
You can peruse the full report at your own leisure by visiting this link.