Investment, accessibility and value key motivations for online art buyers.


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Investment return is a growing motivation for online art buyers, with as many as 63% of purchases driven by a piece’s potential return on investment, according to the new Hiscox Online Art Trade Report.

It found that while the emotional benefits of buying art remain the dominant motivation for purchase among collectors, 63% said they are also motivated by ‘value potential’ or return on investment when buying art online.

“Investment motivation is even higher among new buyers, with 75% saying they were driven by the value potential when buying art online,” stated the report. “This suggests that new buyers are much more driven by economic factors than social trends or status.

“It also indicates a strong ‘trading’ mentality and the potential for online art marketplaces to succeed as pure transactional platforms.”

The report found that online art spending is gathering pace, with the online art market reaching an estimated $2.67 billion last year. Some 46% of the online art buyers surveyed had spent £10,000 or more so far on buying art online (up from 44% last year).

Among these, 19% have spent between £10,000 and £25,000 and 11% said they had spent between £25,000 and £50,000. Only 16% said they had spent in excess of £50,000.

The report found that buyers say the primary advantage of buying art online is the ability to easily search for art and collectibles (80% – up from 74% last year). Some 71% said that the ‘discovery of new art and artists’ was the key advantage of buying art online.

“The internet is breaking down geographical barriers, making it possible for artists to find fans and collectors with unprecedented scale and efficiency,” said the report.

It found that 67% of online art buyers said that the convenience of buying and bidding on art online is one of its key advantages. This was even more attractive to younger buyers (those aged 35 and below), where 78% said this was a very important aspect of buying art online.

“It is clear that the need for a one-stop shop for art discovery and buying is becoming increasingly attractive to new, and younger, buyers,” it stated.

These buyers are attracted by affordability, with 46% saying that this played an important part in buying art online. While the art world is often seen as exclusive and inaccessible to new buyers, 45% of those surveyed said that it is less intimidating to buy art online.

“Again, this aspect of the online purchase experience was significantly stronger among new and younger buyers, with 63% of buyers below the age of 35 saying this was an important reason to them to buy art online,” stated the report.


Picture credit: Eric Norris/Creative Commons license.