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New study: many find buying art more intimidating than buying real estate

Nearly 70 percent of people have never purchased artwork for their home, with almost 50 percent citing cost as the barrier, according to a newly commissioned study by Toluna Research Group on behalf of UGallery, an online art gallery, reveals that. Yet many of the obstacles noted seem to favour the continued growth of online art galleries as a customer-friendly way to browse and buy artworks.

Key reasons for not buying art include believing it is too exclusive, too expensive or too intimidating. 20 % found buying art from a gallery to be the most intimidating shopping experience of all, more so than shopping for real estate or a car.

When asked what would make them comfortable buying art, 36% name an “easy, money-back return policy”; 30% want to better understand the background of the artist, and 25% cite a “virtual way to look at the art on their walls.”

Millennials, the ‘touchscreen generation, “ were understandably more inclined to browse online, as they prefer online sites for all shopping experiences, as opposed to the traditional in-person sale.”

Per the data, 30 percent seek virtual methods for experiencing art before committing to a purchase. They were also four times more likely to buy art online. These factors may explain the growth of online art galleries.

Online art is booming, with over 300 web-based art ventures having launched in recent years according to the Deloitte and ArtTactic 2013 Art and Finance Report and at least 71% of art collectors having now purchased artwork online, according to the Hiscox 2013 Online Art Trade Report.

Many online galleries offer curated, original art for sale from mid-career and emerging artists. “Many people think art – particularly original art – is prohibitively expensive because they hear about the multi-million dollar auction results or get blinded by the number of zeros on the wall of their local galleries,” said Stephen Tanenbaum, president & co-founder of UGallery.

“Online galleries have the ability to offer a wide range of artwork and prices, with original art that’s actually affordable.”

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Alasdair Whyte

Alasdair Whyte

Alasdair is a financial journalist writing about art. He has focused on high value asset finance since 1998. As well as Private Art Investor, he also edits Corporate Jet Investor (despite knowing very little about aircraft) and Helicopter Investor (ditto).