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Online Art Sales Don't Threaten the Offline Art World

Wednesday 30th April 2014

Much has been made of the e-commerce revolution, and with good reason. It has completely changed the way we interact with businesses, whether they are retail stores or service providers or any other kind of business. But one of the downsides to the widespread adoption of e-commerce has been the way that it has negatively impacted stores in the physical world, so-called 'brick and mortar' stores (as opposed to digital storefronts, aka websites). Stores have been closing doors left and right as they struggle to stay afloat in a tricky economy, especially when it's so much cheaper to move an entire business online in order to save money.

While it's taken certain areas of the retail economy more time to move towards a digital marketplace, the art world is no exception. It's now possible to buy prints from thousands of different online stores, and as you've probably learned from your Gallereo page, it's equally easy for individual artists to begin to make a name for themselves with a little bit of digital know-how and some sales talent.

Interestingly, though, instead of online art sales replacing the traditional offline world of galleries and auction houses, it appears that both sales channels are able to operate side by side with a minimum of interference. According to a report released this week by British insurer Hiscox, online fine art sales are going to more than double in the next five years, reaching an impressive $3.76 billion USD, up from its 2013 market value of $1.57 billion USD.

The reason the two markets don't collide, according to Robert Read, head of fine art at Hiscox, is “Young collectors are looking for artwork which is easy to buy and available at a wide range of prices," and when that fact is coupled with the comfort level of younger generations when it comes to making online purchases, there is a whole new market being created. So rather than supplanting the world of auction houses, the online art market should rather be considered an expansion of the art market as a whole, which makes it relatively unique in terms of the e-commerce world.

"The findings indicate that online art e-commerce will not exist as a separate entity – it will augment and co-exist with what is happening in the real, physical art world," Hiscox said.

So digital artists, take heart! Your prospects only stand to grow in the coming years, so make sure that you read up on all the best tips and tricks to ensure your digital sales success!

Posted on April 30th 2014 on 11:33pm

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