Online art sales to grow fast, global study finds

Mon Apr 28, 2014 5:02am EDT
 
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By Michael Roddy

LONDON (Reuters) - The value of the online fine art market is expected to more than double to $3.76 billion in the next five years as it increasingly attracts younger and first-time buyers, British insurer Hiscox said on Monday.

Online art sites do not threaten galleries and auction houses in the same way Internet availability has undermined the traditional movie, book and music businesses, Hiscox said.

But the willingness of younger buyers to make their first purchases over the Internet along with the rapid growth of online sites pointed to the future of the sector, it said in a statement.

“Young collectors are looking for art work which is easy to buy and available at a wide range of prices," Robert Read, Hiscox's head of fine art, was quoted as saying.

"Online art platforms cater for all tastes and budgets, but are particularly effective for those just starting to collect – opening up the art market in a way that is hard to replicate in the real world.”

London-listed Hiscox, which underwrites cover for oil rigs, kidnappings, fine art and vintage cars, estimated the value of global online art sales at $1.57 billion in 2013.

In its second annual report on the online art market, in conjunction with market research company ArtTactic, Hiscox projects this figure will grow to $3.76 billion in 2018.

The report's findings are based on a survey of 506 international art buyers on ArtTactic’s client mailing list, Twitter and Facebook, Hiscox said.   Continued...