- Lockdown boosts market value by estimated $5.4 billion
- But 30% of buyers plan to purchase less online in the next 12 months
London, UK (26 April 23) – Online art and collectible sales grew 6% in 2022 generating an estimated $10.8 billion. Following two turbo-charged years of unprecedented growth, this has returned to its pre-pandemic, single digit levels.
Now in its 10th year, data from the Hiscox Online Art Trade Report 2023 suggests that the pandemic provided a $5.4 billion boost to annual online art market sales. Had growth continued on its pre-pandemic trajectory (4% annual growth), sales for 2022 would have been around half their current levels.
As the market settles back into a slower, steadier pace, it is also braced for tougher economic times, with 30% of collectors planning to make fewer online purchases in the next 12 months as a result of shrinking disposable incomes. Just over a quarter (26%) of new art buyers said they were likely to buy art in 2023 (vs. 57% in 2022). This falls to 18% for younger collectors (down from 44% in 2022).
Robert Read, Head of Fine Art at Hiscox said: “The Covid-19 pandemic was a significant catalyst for the market, boosting its value and size in a relatively short space of time. Although this level of growth was unsustainable it has proven extremely beneficial, instilling higher levels of trust and confidence amongst buyers. Some of the key barriers to entry have been broken down, converting previous online-skeptics to regular online buyers.
“The online art sector, like so many others, is facing into a potentially difficult period, but it does so in a more resilient state than it would have otherwise been. The challenge of a sluggish economy is already apparent in our findings, but the extent of the impact remains to be seen.”
The 2023 report also looked at concerns over the sustainability of buying art online such as the carbon footprint of art shipping. Just 19% said they were concerned about the environmental impact of their transactions whilst most (54%) expressed little or no concern at all.
Online Art Trade Report 2023 key findings:
- Online sales grow in 2022, but more slowly – sales are estimated to be $10.8 billion, up 6% from $10.2 billion in 2021, accounting for 15.9% of all art sales.
- A significant boost – two years of accelerated growth boosts the market’s value by around $5.4 billion.
- The impact of economic jitters - 30% of online buyers will cut back on art purchases over the coming year. Just 18% of younger online collectors plan to make a purchase in the next 12 months, which is down from 44% in 2022. A quarter (26%) of new art buyers said they were likely to buy art in the year ahead, compared to 57% in 2022.
- Online-only auction sales down - online-only auction sales at Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips were down 35% (to $898 million from $1.32 billion in 2021). But more art buyers (44%) said they had bought online from traditional galleries and auction houses in the past 12 months, up from 35% the previous year.
- Fractional ownership shows potential - although only 9% of art buyers invested in fractional ownership last year, 61% said they were likely to do so over the next 12 months, rising to 78% for younger collectors.
- Few concerns about carbon footprints - 54% of online art buyers express little or no concern for the environmental impact of buying art online. Fewer than a third (32%) said they would be prepared to pay extra for a more sustainable way of buying art online.
- Trust and confidence improve - 51% of art buyers said their confidence and interest in buying art online art had increased during the pandemic.
- Consolidation more likely - 71% of the online platforms surveyed said they anticipated more M&A activity taking place in the next 12 months, compared to 64% who said the same in 2021.
- NFTs flop with traditional collectors - NFTs haven’t taken off among art buyers. One in five (20%) said they had bought an NFT, virtually unchanged from last year (19%). Even fewer (12%) are likely to buy an NFT in the coming 12 months (down from 27% in 2022).
The 2023 report tracks 10 year trends and shows the market for buying art digitally has boomed over that period. With sales now five times the size they were in 2012 (from $1.6 billion in 2012 to $10.8 billion in 2022), the volumes of collectors buying online have also increased (from 38% in to 78% over the 10-year timeframe).
You can read the full report by visiting https://www.hiscox.co.uk/online-art-trade-report
- The research was carried out by specialist art market analysis firm ArtTactic during January and February 2023 via interviews with senior management and CEOs from 46 online art trade platforms.
- The market share of 15.9% is calculated using the estimated online sales figure of $10.8 billion as a share or the total art sales figures from Art Basel UBS – Art Market Report 2023 of $67.8 billion.
- Estimates based on pre-pandemic growth rate of 4% for three years.
Online Platform Survey: This year’s report includes the survey feedback from senior management and key staff of the online art platforms participating in this research. Between January and Match 2023, ArtTactic conducted 46 one-to-one interviews and online surveys with major online art and collectible platforms,
Methodology: Since we started in 2013, the online art and collectible sales figure is based on sales estimates and growth projections provided by international online art and collectible sales platforms, including online sales from traditional auction houses (for reference see company profiles in the appendix of the report). The figure does not include online sales conducted directly through social media channels, such as Instagram, nor galleries’ own websites or art fair’s online viewing rooms (OVRs). The figure also excludes NFT art sales, and therefore is likely to be a conservative estimate of the overall online art and collectibles market.
For further information please contact:
Katie Bergin, Senior Communications Manager, Hiscox: [email protected] / 0787 295 3065
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.
The Hiscox Group employs over 3,000 people in 14 countries, and has customers worldwide. Through the retail businesses in the UK, Europe, Asia and the USA, we offer a range of specialist insurance products in commercial and personal lines. 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, courage, ownership and integrity. We pride ourselves on being true to our word and our award-winning claims service is testament to that. For more information, visit www.hiscoxgroup.com.
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 www.arttactic.com.
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