Reopening: The Impact and Consequences of Covid-19 on the Art World

· Art Market

France, like many other countries, spent almost two months in lockdown. Every company and individual has already seen the consequences of this unprecedented situation on their daily lives. Artsper takes a look at the consequences and lessons to be learned from this crisis. It’s true that the art market has suffered greatly, but the reopening must be seen as a renewal. Here is our advice for a smooth transition.

What is the impact on the art market?

A first painful observation: closed museums and galleries, deprived of their clientele. But also first reactions and possible solutions. Whilst it is true that this period may have been anxiety inducing for the members of the art world, ensuring an online presence quickly became the most effective response.

Digitalisation at all levels

Deprived of physical meetings, galleries quickly realised that the internet and social media would be their only sources of contact with the outside world. As a direct consequence, marketplaces saw their sales explode. The big names in auction sales such as Sotheby's and Christie's also accelerated their transition to an online sales model. For example, according to ‘Le Quotidien de l’Art’, Artnet saw its online sales increase by 63% last month (April 2020).

In addition to the direct impact on sales, other impacts are already noticeable within the organizations themselves, especially on the way they work. Adjustments to facilitate telework have taken place, sometimes in an emergency. For example, the need to set up Drives with all the photos of your work, contracts, etc., has been eliminated. Indeed, several galleries told us about their difficulties, such as the fact that they did not have access to their stock and therefore could not put new works online on Artsper.


This crisis has finally led to a general awareness, now you will be ready for all eventualities. Admittedly, the art world is not always at the cutting edge of technology. But one thing is certain, the pandemic will have made many companies realize the interests of digitalisation, more flexible working methods and improved productivity in a complex context.

Changes in collector behaviour

In the midst of the lockdown period, consumers have been forced to make more of their purchases online, which has led them to discover new platforms. Thus, those who were already accustomed to buying online often increased their consumption.

Meanwhile, for those who had never made the leap of buying art online, lockdown pushed them to overcome their hesitations. In particular, we found that the situation led reluctant buyers to familiarise themselves with online platforms. This initial introduction to online art has led to the emergence of new consumer practices among some of them. Indeed, this is a good time to understand the advantages of online sales platforms: no geographical constraints, no travel, while still allowing for negotiation and human contact.

We are certain that whilst buyers will of course return to their favourite galleries as soon as they reopen, they will continue to keep an eye on the online marketplaces that give them access to galleries that are still out of their reach.

How do you plan to reopen?

The lockdown period has been a pivotal time for all companies. Between restructuring your services and adapting your working methods, you have undoubtedly had the opportunity to take stock of your gallery, your assets and perhaps even review your strategy. In order to start again on the right foot as of mid-May, it is essential to ask yourself the right questions now.

Here are a few things to consider before reopening:

How to assert your presence on social media

You have no doubt become aware of the strength of social media in your quest for visibility during these complicated times. Your main leverage? Sharing videos or photos of your artists. Indeed, the public always wants to know why an artist paints, to know their life and inspirations. Especially since lockdown has further fuelled curiosity (and the time available for entertainment and education)!

Do you have a long-lasting and trusting relationship with your artists? If so, let them express themselves about their daily life, their current work and share their answers on social media. Your community will be even more engaged...

Remember, just because you can no longer see your buyers, doesn't mean you have to become invisible. Social media (Instagram in mind!) is an essential channel that is quick to get to grips with. Widely used by the artists themselves, it is easy to make connections with them online, to share key updates about the art market, news about your gallery and your artists and much more.

What marketing strategy to adopt

Every manager makes strategic choices for their gallery and then puts them into action. But it often occurs that we get locked into a routine that is no longer relevant. You have already made the decision to be on Artsper, which allows you to establish your online presence. However, there are a thousand and one ways to make your artists more visible on this platform! Adding works every week, creating online exhibitions, updating the artist page... so many things that make all the difference for the collector.

Artsper's tips to gain visibility now:

→ Plan well for future artwork additions, to make sure you always have something new to put on the site and plan in advance for the necessary photos.

→ Organise online exhibitions. Artsper offers you the opportunity to create an exhibition on the site, an option that is more attractive than ever considering the situation, so grab it!

And don't forget to prepare for reopening:

→ Keep up to date with new creations. Your artists have likely been working throughout lockdown, so don't hesitate to make sure everything is ready to put them online. You can also create teasing campaigns on these new works to capture the attention of collectors...

→ Why not send a regular newsletter to your collectors (loyal or prospective) to inform them of your news or exhibitions, an effective way to build their loyalty and arouse their curiosity!

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