The everyday life of each of us is becoming more and more digital, so it is not surprising that collectors have decided to use online art galleries. But how is the market evolving?
According to the report TEFAF, written in the context of what is considered to be one of the world’s major art and antiques exhibitions, the artwork sales via Internet are growing, especially among the so-called Millennials, and young people born between 1980 and 2000.
How are the data collected? Basically, since 2002, TEFAF – The European Fine Art Foundation has been involved in an independent research program conducted within the art market. This is a privileged monitoring centre, since it can benefit from both, the data collected during the Fair organized every year in Maastricht (and which is considered one of the most important in the world), and the collaboration with the Maastricht Center of Arts and Culture, Conservation and Heritage (MACCH) of the local university. Also, in 2017, the partnership with Invaluable (one of the largest companies that deal with online art sales), has provided data on the e-commerce to complement those on online auctions.
The art market on the web: artists, auctions, online art galleries
Through the special focus that the TEFAF report dedicates to online collecting, we learn that e-commerce is slowly but inexorably changing the art market.
Collectors rely on increasingly technological means to search for information, increase and even manage their own collection. The artists perform an effective and continuous online promotion without having to find an intermediary (whether it is a merchant, an agent or a gallery owner).
But the Internet has also become more institutional: currently about 8% of art auction sales takes place online, as well as 4% of art dealers (for the amount of 26 billion dollars of online revenue) and the growth of the overall turnover of about 19% that can be assumed from the TEFAF data collected among merchants of ancient and modern artworks and antiquities.
A survey submitted to about 600 operators in the sector (art dealers and antiquities) showed that 65% of them have an online presence, that is to expand their audience and increase sales.
There is also a large group of online galleries that have chosen not to have an offline business presence, such as: ArtStar, in the United States, which represents about 100 artists, Artfuly in Switzerland, with 130 artists, Riot Contemporary, based in France and its 30 artists using an external sales partner. 70% of their collectors are under the age of 30.