5 facts about the online art market

The art market goes online

The online art market is strongly growing since 2013, the year Artsper was founded. Based on Hiscox's annual reports, art buyers increasingly trust internet platforms. Here are five informations that confirm this trend.

1. Online artworks sales are inscreasing

The global online art market sales grew from €1 billion in 2013 to an estimated volume of €2.64 billion in 2015. Despite the global art market slowing , the online art market has continued to grow with up 24% in 2015. If this rate of growth is maintained, the market volume should reach €5.9 billion in 2019.

2. Social media influence buyers

24% of online art purchases are influenced today by social media. The information shared by museums, art galleries and artists' studios have a direct impact on buyers' decisions. Facebook (52%) and Instagram (34%) are the preffered social media platforms for art-related purposes, followed by Linkedin (27%), Twitter (26%) and Pinterest (11%).

However, 51,5% of Instagram collector users report having bought artworks discovered on this platform. It is the social media with the highest visual impact when it comes to promoting artworks and artists.

3. Online art buyers are demanding

According to Hiscox's panel of collectors, the main drivers of online art buying are the return on investment, the facility to search and discover new artists and atworks and the ease to buy and outbid. Other stated reasons are the range and diversity of art and collectibles on offer and the artworks' affordability. These collectors also feel that the process of buying from an online art sales platform is less intimidating than buying from a physical gallery or auction house.

4. Collectors trust the internet

Most of collectors (71%) and galleries (88%) are buying and selling art on the sole basis of a digital image. More precisely, 25% of the 20-30 years old art buyers have bought their first artwork without physically seing it.

5. Auctions are going digital

Art galleries are not the only actors of the art market going digital. The auction house Christie's, organized 11 exclusively online auctions in less than 6 months and converted 46% of new art lovers. Online auction aggregators, web platforms that provide online bidding for traditional bricks and mortar auctions, are also multiplying.


" Dealers are struggling to meet the internet challenge, and many are too small to take (what is for them) the high-stakes gamble of investing in an online gallery. As long as their traditional business model just about works then they can continue as they do now. Having a basic website to show their art, while still doing most of their sales face-to-face with clients in their gallery and at art fairs. [...] I think that pressure to change will inevitably come because of the accelerating evolution of the online art market which grew 24 percent in 2015, despite a slowdown in global art auction sales. For that reason, one or maybe more dominant online art marketplaces is bound to emerge."

Robert Read, Responsable Fine Art at Hiscox


You can download the complete Hiscox Online Art Trade Reports here : 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Kenza Zidi

All Posts

Almost done…

We just sent you an email. Please click the link in the email to confirm your subscription!