Hiscox Online Art Trade Report - Interesting Figures and Findings

October 10, 2014

Hiscox Online Art Trade Report, through its findings, shows the attributes of the ever-changing nature of the online art trade, including the habitual behavior of the new generation of art buyers, the online buying experience, absence of the physical dimension, the aspects of return policies and, perhaps most notably, the rapport with the gallery experience. The research of the trends within the art market represents an important body of issues which need to be addressed. Recently, Widewalls has brought you the short analysis and presentation of the key findings of the Deloitte Art & Finance Report 2014. This study had also tackled the issue of online art trading, as this form of acquiring artwork has show interesting tendencies of transformation. What is more, this kind of activity shows various aspects which can influence the field of international art market in general. If you are in need of a more clear understanding of the changing nature of the online art buying/selling experience, check out our rundown of the most interesting findings of the Hiscox Online Art Trade Report.

Hiscox Online Trade Art Report 2014 billion arttactic search sales 2015 buying value
Hiscox Online Art Trade Report 2014

About Hiscox

Hiscox Art Insurance, for nearly half a century, specializes in fine art insurance. In addition, the organization articulates the activities of collecting, promoting and sponsoring art. With the understanding of the complexities of the art world, Hiscox offers diverse forms of specialist expertise in the protection of art collections. We have before us the second report on online art trade, since the last year’s report had already shown interesting figures and findings. Let us turn to the exploration of the tendencies of online art trade, in a goal to better understand the vastness of the digital world of urban and contemporary art.

Tendencies of Online Art Trade

Recent years have shown an increasing activity of online auction houses. This kind of an approach to the art market has proven to be beneficial and with numerous positive perspectives for at lest two reasons: 1. online auction houses have a chance to articulate the activities of dealers and collectors from different geoeconomical art markets and 2. some research studies have shown proliferation of payment methods. However, this time we will focus on aspects which don’t necessarily apply exclusively to online auction houses. In this rundown of the Hiscox Online Art Trade Report we will present the key findings through three groups of interesting questions. Firstly, we will focus on the general tendencies and aspects of the practice of online art trading activity. Secondly, we will provide a short overview of buyer’s aspirations and habitual activities. Finally, we will discuss the various forms of online art transaction platforms.

Hiscox Online Trade Art Report 2014 billion arttactic search sales 2015 buying value
The online art buyer, information from the 2013 report

Some General Tendencies

The research has shown that the new generation of buyers, namely those individuals between 20 and 30 years of age, are likely to make their first purchase of artwork online. In addition, more than one fifth (specifically 22%) of the surveyed individuals have never bought an art piece from a physical gallery space. Among other indicators, this shows an important signal of the approach to the online platforms. However, it must be said that it is unlikely that online art trade will replace the gallery experience. The report states that 90% of all online buyers covered in the research have bought from a physical gallery and more than a half actually prefer the physical space. With all of this in mind, we have to turn our attention to that which buyers consider the greatest challenge of online acquisition. Namely, 82% of online art buyers have said that not being able to inspect the object itself represents the biggest hurdle. In this regard, the report asserts, detailed information and certificates of authenticity should play a more significant role in confidence increasing between participants of the process. With this in mind, let us turn to the buyers themselves, and the certain important aspects of their activity…

Hiscox Online Trade Art Report 2014 billion arttactic search sales 2015 buying value
Hiscox Online Art Trade Report 2014

What the Buyer Needs and What Makes the Buyer Happy

First of all, it has to be said that there is a high level of satisfaction from the buyers. Almost all of the surveyed subjects, namely 92%, have stated to be satisfied with the experience of buying art pieces online (65% have said that they are “extremely or very satisfied”). This kinds of levels of contentment surely correlate with the expected rapid growth of the online art market in the years to come. The research has also shown that there is a strong preference for unique artwork. Although this might sound as a hollow truism, it points to significant information – 61% of online fine art buyers have one or more painting online in the period of the previous year. Finally, light should be shed on a particular important instance in the eyes of buyers – for establishing confidence within the practice of online art trade, return policies represent a significant encouragement factor. This, in turn, raises other issues of technical nature, but the role of this factor remains to be a policy of high interest…

Hiscox Online Trade Art Report 2014
Hiscox Online Art Trade Report 2014

Online Art Transaction Platforms

In the end, let us turn to some of the interesting platforms which shape and/or will shape the nature of the online art transaction process. The series of the possible and existing models are likely to go through a period of transformation in the years to come. Let us point to some of those which are expected to increase market activity and represent sustainable models. First of all, there is a high expectation to see growth of peer-to-peer interaction, an opportunity for both collectors and dealers to share inventory without the intervention of third parties. We have already mentioned the importance of online-only auction houses (read more about an interesting example in our article Winklevoss Twins Invest In Paddle 8). Moreover, online auction aggregators are likely to see growth – these platforms serve as online bidding option for traditional bricks and mortar auctions. Finally, it should be mentioned that there is a lot of open space and possibilities for inquire to buy platforms. These mediums are versions of online galleries which provide an intricate inquiry system, but do not provide an e-commerce function. In any case, the horizon of online art trade shows extraordinary possibilities and it is surely going to be exciting to see where the transformation our today’s story will lead us.

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