Online art market sales up 9.8% to $4.64bn

London, UK (2 April 2019) – Online art market sales increased 9.8% in aggregate in 2018 to reach an estimated $4.64 billion, but the annual growth rate has slowed for the third consecutive year.

The online art market may have benefited from the wider art market boom in recent years, but according to the Hiscox Online Art Trade Report 2019, economic and geopolitical uncertainty could test the resilience of online art buyers in 2019. Even so, based on the current growth trajectory, the report estimates that the online art market could be worth as much as $9.32 billion in five years’ time.

Robert Read, Head of Fine Art at Hiscox, commented: “The online art market plods on with steady growth.  2018 was not a game-changing year and we wait to see where the consolidation and casualties will be in a market place that remains undeniably overcrowded.  Perhaps the penny is starting to drop as confidence levels about the future amongst online platforms has fallen again this year.  Most will have planned on the online art market gaining traction and market share quicker than it has in reality.”

Key findings from the report:



  • Although 77% of the online platforms surveyed feel positively about the online art market in the coming 12 months, this is down significantly from 96% in 2018.
  • 71% of the online platforms said they expect more consolidation among online art platforms in the coming 12 months.
  • 55% of the online art buyers surveyed said they were likely to buy more art over the next 12 months, up from 52% in 2018.
  • Instagram continues to be the art world’s favoured social media platform, with 65% choosing it as their preferred social media for art related purposes, up from 63% in 2018.
  • 29% of millennial art buyers said they preferred buying art online as opposed to offline, up from 14% in 2018.
  • More millennials bought art online in the last 12 months, and 79% said they had bought more than once (up from 64% in 2018). At the same time, 23% of millennial said they had never bought an art work in a physical space (e.g. gallery, auction or art fair) prior to buying art online, up from 18% in 2018.
  • Provenance tracking and ownership-registry remains the most relevant user-case for blockchain in the art market as half of the online platforms said that a title/ownership registry for the art market would be the likely area where blockchain technology would succeed.
  • 51% of art buyers surveyed under the age of 30 said they would consider fractional ownership of art as a form of investment.



For further information please contact:
Hiscox Ltd

Lucy Hensher                        +44 (0) 20 7448 6619                      [email protected]

About The Hiscox Online Art Trade Report 2019
The Hiscox Online Art Trade Report 2019 is the seventh annual report of its kind. The research was carried out by specialist art market analysis firm ArtTactic during January and February 2019.  The findings are based on interviews with 128 art galleries and art dealers, 42 online art trade platforms, and 706 international art buyers.

About The Hiscox Group
Hiscox is a global specialist insurer, headquartered in Bermuda and listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE:HSX). Our ambition is to be a respected specialist insurer with a diverse portfolio by product and geography. We believe that building balance between catastrophe-exposed business and less volatile local specialty business gives us opportunities for profitable growth throughout the insurance cycle. It’s a long-standing strategy which in 2018 saw the business deliver a profit before tax of $137.4 million in a challenging year for insurers.

The Hiscox Group employs over 3,300 people in 14 countries, and has customers worldwide. Through the retail businesses in the UK, Europe, Asia and the US, we offer a range of specialist insurance for professionals and business customers as well as homeowners. Internationally traded, bigger ticket business and reinsurance is underwritten through Hiscox London Market and Hiscox Re & ILS.

Our values define our business, with a focus on people, quality, courage and excellence in execution. We pride ourselves on being true to our word and our award-winning claims service is testament to that. For more information, visit

About ArtTactic
ArtTactic is a London-based art market research and analysis firm that offers dynamic and responsive research and commentary on the fast-paced and ever-changing art market. ArtTactic was founded in 2001 by Anders Petterson.  ArtTactic has been a pioneer in developing industry research and analytical tools for the global art market. ArtTactic provides a new dimension to art market analysis by combining both qualitative and quantitative research tools with an in-depth knowledge of how the art market works. ArtTactic’s weekly art market research and analysis can be accessed via

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