Online art market grows 68% to $2.64 billion

A Christie's employee looks at a painting entitled 'Claudius' by German artist Gerhard Richter at Christie's auction house
A Christie’s employee looks at a painting entitled ‘Claudius’ by German artist Gerhard Richter at Christie’s auction house

Recent research from specialist insurer Hiscox has revealed increased confidence in buying art online.

According to the Hiscox Online Art Trade Report 2015, the value of the online art market has risen from $1.57 billion (€1.46 billion) in 2013 to an estimated $2.64 billion (€2.45 billion) in 2014. Based on these figures, online art buying therefore accounts for 4.8% of the estimated $55.2 billion (€51.3 billion) value of the global art market. On the same growth trajectory, the value of the online art market could reach $6.3 billion (€5.8 billion) in 2019.

“The rise in online art buying is even greater than we anticipated. The speed and confidence with which new and established collectors are adapting signals a new era as buying art becomes an omni-channel experience. Physical gallery space and auction houses can no longer act in isolation; online channels and social media have an important part to play and, when combined, prove to be attractive. This is good news for sellers as well as collectors,” said Robert Read, Head of Fine Art at Hiscox.

The majority of online art transactions still take place at a lower price point, with 41% of those surveyed saying their average price paid was less than £1,000 (€1,350). According to Hiscox, investment return is also being cited by many as a growing motivation for purchase. Art is increasingly seen as an attractive and highly tradable asset class and such a trading mentality may lead to online marketplaces succeeding as pure transactional platforms.

  • For more on Art Finance and Lending, look out for the May issue of Finance Monthly, which will feature industry comment from Paul Ress, Founder & Managing Director of Right Capital