Despite buying art the traditional analog way at auctions, in galleries and at art fairs there is a ‘new’ way of buying and selling art. More and more the online art market increases its relevance. The whole industry has to accept this development and the importance of the online market.
When talking about the digital art market it is necessary to make a difference between two ways of buying art online. On the one hand some auction houses offer the opportunity for buyers to participate in the auction via an online access. That means a traditional auction is held – with buyer’s in the salesroom or on the telephone. Absentee bids can be made written or via the homepage. To bid online during the auction is one more way to buy art at a classical auction.
The world leading art business Christie’s reached over 470,000 online visitors during the auction sale of Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi in New York in November 2017 – impossible of not having heard about that, if not watch the video here.
But because of the rapidly rising relevance of the internet auction houses are more and more establishing entirely online auctions. With this online only auctions a salesroom is not needed anymore and the clients are able to buy anonymously. This point is important especially for new buyers. And for the auction house it is a discreet option to serve new clients properly and to reduce the fear of entering auction houses.
At the moment the online auction market brings only around one percent (in 2016) of the entire revenue. But in times of the difficulties of winning new clients it is positive to recognize the online market brings over 30% new customers. It will take some time indeed until works worth millions will be sold successfully at online auctions.
The Berlin based online auction house Auctionata was forced to declare insolvency in 2017. It has been too early to only focus the selling online. Obviously there has been a lack of trust on the art owners side to give high price art works to auction and on the other side the potential buyers didn’t have enough trust as well.
Over the years since the founding of Auctionata in 2012 the price levels of the offered artworks were more and more reducing. The merger with the online auction platform Paddle8 should bring the company back on course, but then it turned out it was its deathblow.
The crux of the matter is still the lack of the consumer confidence in online businesses. The auction house’s hardest task is to be as personal as possible to the client and also retain the feeling of anonymity.
The art market is changing and the globalization with its all time availability as a consequence will conquering this industry undoubtedly.
To finally answer the question, if I would recommend you to buy art online – yes!
It is us the young generation, the future collectors, who will demand the digital opportunities more and more. At the moment it is a good time to buy art online. You can benefit from the online market with its international range and it may still be a niche to currently purchase art online. More and more the internet will attract the art market. The established auction houses and also art galleries will increasingly offer art via the internet.
These are some platforms I am visiting in regular intervals: