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Online marketplace democratizes art

December 5, 2017

Artfinder survey shows demographics of consumers and artists shift as online sales grow

Online marketplaces are changing the way art is consumed and produced, according to Art Finder’s inaugural art market report. The platform for independent artists claims that the art market is being democratized for buyers and sellers thanks to growing online sales. It cites Hiscox’s latest report, which showed a 15 percent growth in online art sales compared with a 1.7 percent growth in the market overall in 2016.

Artfinder reports significant shifting consumer demographics, with a 50 percent increase in sales among under 34-year-olds in the first half of this year. It also uncovers a geographic change, showing that the majority of buyers are not based in big cities.

The report suggests that new buyers are coming into the market, “because of an accessible price point or because the online market gives access to many who previously wouldn’t know where or how to buy art, or who might be intimidated by the traditional gallery atmosphere.”

The traditional conception of the artist is also changing in this more open market. Only 37 percent of respondents regard themselves as full-time artists and 15 percent balance their art business with full-time work. The majority, 55 percent, view themselves as entrepreneurs and spend a significant portion of their working week engaged in business activity related to their art practice.

Artfinder CEO, Jonas Almgren, says, “We believe that this shift in power towards the artist will have a transformative effect on the art market as a whole, decentralizing power and creating more channels through which artists can sell their work.”

While the study showed the art market opening up, it also revealed shrinking financial returns as 82 percent of artists earn less than 10,000 pounds a year from their art practice.

Online marketplace democratizes art

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