Buying Art Online

The purchase of works of art online is already a reality. Project Luxury & Art took a closer look at this growing trend. Your next art purchase could be just a few clicks away.


In spite of a growing range of websites which are dedicated to the sale of works of art, the Internet has still yet to reach its potential in terms of art sales. This blind spot in development can be easily explained by that age-old hindrance: fear of the unknown. Stereotypically a more traditionally-minded consumer group, those who purchase art are often of the opinion that there’s no real substitute for seeing a painting in person in a gallery or auction house and buying it from a person, faceto- face. Despite this, technology development and modernisation will happen, and more convenient, userfriendly ways of investing in art are being developed every day; we’re about to see a real change in the artbuying experience. In fact, the inability to see a painting “in the flesh” before purchase is the only real disadvantage in a sea of advantages. Owing to the fact that companies which sell art online don’t have to deal with issues such as the amenities and infrastructure surrounding a physical auction house or gallery, they are able to charge the selling artist less for their services and these savings are then passed on to the buyer. What’s more, the Internet is a vast network which features a great range of art-selling websites, meaning that buyers can build their collection from the comfort of their own homes without having to limit themselves to the galleries they are able to travel to in person. Additionally, in a world which is becoming an increasingly globalised melting pot of different cultures, the creation of a link between a buyer and an artist from the other side of the world is an important step in the development of art trade.


Studies show a growing trend in the use of online websites to buy and sell art. One such study shows that online art sales increased in 2014 by 20%, and in 2015 by 24%, with 375 consumer-oriented art purchase websites based in the US alone (2015), a system which is now steadily catching up with auction house purchases. The progress has been very promising, and invites art sellers to try their hand in online sales, which in turn will only cause this percentage to rise. The art in question can come from artists from all walks of life, but the online platform is especially appealing to emerging contemporary artists who otherwise would struggle to gain attention in the competitive art industry. Important sites to check out when searching for new pieces for purchase include Saatchionline, Artful, Art Space, Artsy, New Blood Art, Art Gallery, Eyestorm, Counter Editions, and London auction house “Christie‘s” special online auction site. Some websites, such as ArtFinder.com, offer buyers the opportunity to “connect with and directly support artists”, allowing customers to search pieces by art form, artist, or community. So why are we seeing this change in the art industry?


Well, this more than likely has a lot to do with our changing relationship with the Internet. Studies have found that in the space of just one month, the population of the US spent over one trillion minutes online on their mobile devices, which is almost twice as much as that spent on desktop computers. This is a trend which is supported by studies such as the Hiscox report, which found that an average of 40% of online visitors and 24% of online purchases and bids came from mobile devices. Newcomers and seasoned collectors alike are moving their search for art to the Internet, which now allows them to find exciting contemporary pieces from the comfort of their own homes and have it delivered to their door like a piece of flat-packed furniture. Art can now be chosen, purchased, and returned if the customer isn’t happy, all with the click of a mouse. In addition to this increased convenience, 66% of the customers of these websites said that a major advantage of buying art online is the great range and diversity of art and collectibles available. The demographic of online art investors is one which will only continue to grow, so it will soon become vital that both sellers and buyers who have not yet embraced the change come to adopt these market advancements.



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