1 minute reading time (265 words)

Online art market matures

Online art market matures Halfrain, CC licence https://www.flickr.com/photos/halfrain/15134351524/

Hiscox has released its ​Online Art Trade Report​ for 2018, and it makes for interesting reading. The market is slowing and maturing; online art platforms are continuing to consolidate; and Instagram casts a long shadow over art consumers.

Key points are:

  • Online sales are up 12%, but growth is slowing.
  • Sales were estimated at $4.22bn in 2017, up 12% on the previous year. This is a reduction in growth from 2016 (15%) and 2015 (24%).
  • While the three main auction houses for art saw general sales increase by 25%, online-specific sales increased by only 16%.
  • However, the average price of a work increased by 25% Y-o-Y, with the average now exceeding $5k. Almost three quarters of buyers (74%) purchased more than one item, and buyers are also broadening the range of what they want to buy.
  • 63% of art buyers choose Instagram as their platform of choice. Everything else trails it. MoMA has the highest number fo followers for a gallery (3.5m).
  • 60% of platform owners believe that cryptocurrency payments will become standard within a few years, even though only 6% of art platforms offer such facilities.
  • In the list of the top 25 online art websites, Christie's comes top for another year, followed by Artsy - which could dominate next year.
  • The report also asked 20-35 year olds for their specific views on buying art online; the majority of this group had only owned one work to date, with their average spend being under $1k. However, 59% will buy more over the next year.

It's an excellent report; well-designed, full of tidbits and thoroughly researched. Grab it here (PDF).​

Thanks to OnBuy for their assistance in this article.


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