Hiscox Online Art Trade Report 2015: ready for an omni-channel experience?

The Hiscox Online Art Trade Report, produced in association with ArtTactic, is becoming an important barometer of how the online art market is developing, as well as an attempt to forecast what the future holds.

In its first 2013 report, Hiscox wrote: “In recent years, technology has disrupted businesses in the music, film and book industry, and it is likely to have a significant impact on the art market too … The real challenge is how the traditional art market engages both with their existing client base and a potential new audience that increasingly wants the option to conduct their business online.

The 2015 report opens with the following:

The figures speak for themselves. The evolution of online art sales mean that the value of the global online art market has risen from just under $1 billion in 2013 to an estimated $2.64 billion this year. Based on that growth trajectory, we estimate it to be worth $6.3 billion in 2019; no mean feat.

The report highlights the following findings in its Executive Summary:

  1. Online art market reaches $2.64 billion.
  2. Investment return is a strong motivation for online art buyers.
  3. The trend for ‘click-and-buy’ art is gathering steam.
  4. The bulk of online transactions take place below £10,000.
  5. Online art buying is becoming an omni-channel experience.
  6. Social media is likely to play an important role in driving future online sales.

Acknowledging the immaturity of a sometimes over-hyped market which has rapidly growing numbers of venture capital-fuelled art market startups every month, Hiscox warns:

However, there are too many players in the online art market, as one would expect at this stage of the development cycle, and it is still unclear who the winners will be. We will have to wait for a couple more years of mergers, acquisitions, thrills and spills to see who emerges on top.

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