The survey found that international auction houses Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Philips had sales of 336 million euros in the past six months, 463% more than the same period in 2019. The corona outbreak appears to be a turning point for the future of digital art sales. The online trade in art objects is expected to continue to grow due to the continuing pandemic: 8 out of 10 art platforms expect the number of purchases to increase further in the coming year.
Online art sales accounted for 28.3% of total auction sales by auction houses Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Philips in the first half of 2020, compared to just 1.2% in 2019. Two thirds predict that the pandemic will have a changing effect on the long term market. Jeroen Opstelten, art & private client manager at Hiscox, says: ‘The growth in online purchases in recent months is logical due to the forced switch to digital. The fact that art platforms expect a lasting change in the market can be explained by the adjustments they have had to make in recent months. For example, parties have invested in making their online platforms user-friendly and safe. However, digital sales still represent less than 10% of the total art market. The corona crisis may be the catalyst that accelerates the digitization of the traditional art market. ‘
Hiscox’s research also shows that visual arts account for 32% of online sales, significantly more than watches and jewelry (23%), decorative arts (12%) and furniture (8%). Other collectibles are also very popular among art collectors: stamps, rare books, coins and memorabilia account for a quarter of all online sales.
The study was commissioned by insurer Hiscox by art market analysis agency ArtTactic among 44 art trading platforms. The trends and developments in the online art trade and turnover figures for 2019 were examined.