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How will the Online Art Market look in 2019?

Posted on January - 16 - 2019

Courtesy: Artist

Courtesy: Artist

As you open your laptop or swipe through Instagram while you are waiting at the doctor’s office, regardless of your personal interests, the Internet is an ocean of possibilities, satisfying every user’s craving and needs. Art which use to be a very niche segment of society is gaining more traction, as museum’s and especially artists gain more attention in social media, rallying followers by the hundreds. These social exchanges have become essential for economic transactions carried out online. Before, an art vendor would hang artworks from top to bottom in the walls of his galleries. Now, paintings are curated and hanged in a digital space, where users can just scroll up or down from the comforts of their house.

The online art market has greatly become a topic of discussion over the last couple of years, and many art dealers have proclaimed that the traditional paradigm has started to shift. But, is it really true? Paddle8 caused a commotion when it was launched in 2011 and merged with Berlin online auction house Auctionata. However, the former then regained its independence when Auctionata declared insolvency in 2017, a clear sign that it couldn’t keep up with the demands of the market.

In their recent report, insurance giant Hiscox states what is on everyone’s mind: “The online art market remains enigmatic”. The findings of the report are insightful and, in some cases, not at all surprising, in the sense that sales are up, despite the global art market slowing down and technologies, such as blockchain and cryptocurrencies are playing an important role in the market.

However, since it’s enigmatic some of the shortcomings are its lack of transparency concerning pricing. A model that many companies are integrating is the Brick-and-Click in which the company operates and integrates both an online and offline store. At the top of the report, giants like Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Artsy and Artnet dominate sales and possess most of the market share. Moreover, Auctionata is a particular case where a purely online platform could not keep up with this competing model.

However, the industry is still nascent and there are many questions that still need answering. The report suggests addressing some concerns of the hesitant art buyer, which is what still proposes a challenge for online galleries. The lack of physical inspections still remains a key difficulty for buyers. Also, price transparency is needed, as well as human interaction and customer feedback.

What do you think as an online buyer? In Scoop Art we try to uphold this and offer the best customer support and price transparency to accompany you in the journey of online art purchasing.

By: Gabriela Martinez de la Hoz