Insights derived from the survey outlined below should be taken primarily as anecdotal indications of hot, culturally specific sentiment. It would be foolish to weigh interviewer-constructed, curtailed answers received by under a thousand respondents as some form of undisputed truth when gauging the art world’s nearly incomprehensibly diverse and expansive practices.
Respondents taste’s do although hint at more widely applicable considerations.
“The percentage of art buyers making online purchases has dropped in the past year, and the increase of internet art sales has slowed for the second year running, a new report has found.
The survey also found that mobile purchases have continued to grow and take a larger share of the market, and social media remains an integral way for people to find new art. “The future of the online market is guaranteed, although the shape remains a mystery,” writes Robert Read, Head of Art and Personal Clients at Hiscox, the insurance provider behind the report. He proceeds:”Buying art is still hugely exciting and enjoyable (as well as sometimes frustrating) and the continuing influence of social networking, notably Instagram, helps fuel the development of the market.”
Shifting Sales | The report’s findings, which also evaluate the impact of cryptocurrencies and cybercrime, are based on feedback from 831 art buyers surveyed through Art Tactic’s customer mailing list. Roughly 43% of art buyers bought online in the last 12 months, down from 49% the previous year. Only 36% of this group purchased art online in the last 12 months, compared to 44% the year earlier. According to the report, this implies that the art market is”struggling to convert hesitant, as well as occasional online buyers, into repeat customers”. Hiscox notes that while the online art market grew by 20-25percent between 2013 and 2015, the previous 24 months showed signs of a downturn,”perhaps as the industry struggles to expand and grow its online customer base”. The industry growth rate fell to 15% in 2016 and 12% in 2017.
Tate’s Instagram accounts has 2 million followers. 90 percent of new art buyers stated that price transparency was a key attribute when determining which online art sales to buy from, making this a possible obstacle to increasing sales.
Threats | The report also finds more than half of surveyed selling platforms had been the target of attempted cyber attacks within the past 12 months. Around 15% stated that an attack had been successful. Just over 40 percent of online art buyers are either concerned or very concerned about cyber crime if purchasing art online, and 82% said they’d most likely buy from platforms they had prior knowledge of because of fear of cybercrime. Read concludes:”The art market is dominated by little – and medium-sized companies who have historically been in the less tech-savvy, more complacent end of the scale. “These businesses are vulnerable and our findings suggest that cyber criminals might be waking up for this, possibly seeing the art market as a target.” Arts Professional
Discussions reference art sales as they pertain to traditionally defined canvases, prints or typically smaller compositions. Like the construction of the most popular promotional tool employed, Instagram with it’s series of panels, a’gallery perspective’ is perfectly suited to these.
Here it may be argued that each phase of the process has been influenced. From concept, production to end-client delivery all parts necessarily either overtly or unconsciously account for the promotional constraints that such a medium inherently entails. Meaning an artist who profits from utilization of the’gallery view’ sales channels may coordinate their efforts, however individually measured as ultimately positive or negative, so as to achieve the best outcome when their work is seen through this type of platform.
A similar contention might be exponentially compounded for mixed media, larger three dimensional compositions, performance or any variety of visual art forms. If understanding the purpose of artistic creation to be unencumbered creation or sharing of novel interpretations, this type of self-reflexive and influential delivery mechanism should perhaps cause some misgiving.
Who’s Buying & Why?
Galleries and advisors were held as gatekeepers, the art world governments. The Tate’s two million followers on social media prove it can still be argued that source reputation and influence may precede deference to personal interpretations. At the minimum formal reputation may function as a type of collective indicator of quality filtering for what is an eclectically varied or perhaps commonly imperceptibly saturated field. And when seen as investment vehicles, this collective work test retains a significant impact.
An inconsistency appears though with bureaucratically structured gatekeepers now facing democratized, self-controlled and almost truly decentralized purchasing capacities. Art transactions are possible directly between just about any gallery’s producing and consuming target markets.
Through internet channels independently each artist has the potential to reach relatively unlimited audiences. Although their authority, expertise and or’formal’ stature might be diluted in the face of participant breadth as well as presentation context. At this time galleries or advisers may maintain an educated experience, discerning judgement and or appreciation far beyond the commonly grasped. Although a purchaser’s choice in choice could nevertheless be seen as a liberated one due to the multiple avenues permitting ownership accomplishment.
Purchasers may decide to purchase straight from an artist or upon pro influence. Do they appreciate a composition or did they purchase it because they believed it to be of value. The democratization of availability calls into question how value may now be collectively assigned.
Pricing transparency was indicated as the single largest influential element. The safety concerns and utilization of reputable channels is more or less subsumed to that metric. If the website, channel or medium was not safe nor secure then any’transparency’ in pricing would naturally be secondary and untrue.
Yet to quantify price must be to defer to a collective or subjective interpretation. It’s the cost attainable during re-sell or what is self-ascribed from attachment or belief. By itself, transparency may offer no stable universally extendable footing. Value ascribed remains as variable as the art itself, it is derived from the eye of the beholder or market [beholders].
Online or off, publicly available options loosely dictate art sales being formed from a place of educated value recommendation or as a facilitation of subjective interpretation. Objective gradations and statements of a composition’s worth cannot be equally nor officially applied to all.