Over the past 10 years the art market has considerably stagnated, the quantity of art trading yearly has declined. However, there has never been such a large amount of people engaging with art. As dealers, galleries and auction houses are seeking modish ways to succeed and prosper, the online art market and its increased recognition has given the industry an incredible opportunity to cultivate new art enthusiasts. 

What ways can the art industry assist the rise of burgeoning or distinguished collectors of online art? If we take a look at the Artsy Online Collector Report from 2019, we can discern the similarities and differences between online collectors and traditional art buyers. Spending patterns, incentives, and the obstacles are compared between the two sects of buyers. 

To download a PDF of the complete report, click here.


Art collectors worldwide were surveyed for Artsy and in the subsequent report, five key motivators influenced their art purchases online. 


Why Should We Buy Art Online?


Online Markets Permit Access to Certain Artworks Collectors Can't Obtain Anywhere Else 

There are many idiosyncrasies regarding supply and demand in the art market. Essentially, the art market is often supply-driven, so access to artworks was one of the most popular reasons artists resorted to online transactions for exclusive art. Exclusivity remains one of the most popular reasons collectors considered the online market, cited by just under half of all online collectors.  

Collectors with more experience and higher budgets are up to 30% more likely to purchase artworks online as they could not attend the art fair or be present at the gallery where it was sold. According to these collectors, it was stipulated that one of the perks of the online art market is the ability to browse and purchase art from major fairs and international galleries they are unable to attend due to their strenuous schedules. 

“If we only were able to buy from galleries that we knew, and we visit, and we regularly have deals with, it would have been very limited,” said one collector based in Portugal. “We wouldn’t be able to see and appreciate and get to know artists from such distant geographies than the ones we are in”.

The Artsy Report


The Accessibility of the Online Market

There is no doubt that finding and purchasing art online is one of the most popular cited reasons for collectors to buy through the online market. In addition to this, the lowered pressure and overall swiftness of transacting online suggests an amiability of the online art market. Collectors new to the market indicated the ability to discover more artwork with ease is an engaging characteristic of the online art market. 


Less Buyer Pressure, Less Sticker Shock


Online platforms can be a far more congenial space for buyers and collectors of art. Comforted by an environment of no pressure from dealers or gallery salesmen allows them to research in their own time. The access to artists' biographies, past work and exhibitions gives the collectors a substantiated insight to the artist and artwork they are interested in purchasing. While this may be seen as set-back for galleries, the results are quite the contrary. According to the Artsy report, buyers were more likely to purchase on the online market with “less intimidating” one of their driving factors. 


“A third of online buyers with smaller collecting budgets and who are newer to the market said that buying art online is less intimidating than buying from a gallery, fair, or auction house directly. These new buyers were 49% more likely than other online art collectors to identify this as a driver of their purchases. It also offers an opportunity for art-world entities hoping to secure new buyers to find ways to engage them that may counter the art world’s “intimidating” reputation.”

The Artsy Report

25% of online art collectors disclosed the benefit of comparison shopping and finding the best price was a key driver for their online purchases. More experienced art collectors' concerns surround an artworks potential or reputation to hold or increase in value.  

The purpose of this report and article is to evaluate perceptions about online buyers. It aims to give us an understanding of online art collectors at each step of their expeditions through the art market.


The online art market remains on of the highest grossing trades. However, it is our artists and online art collectors that truly benefit the online market, improve its sustenance and most importantly provide more opportunities for artists.

March 02, 2022 — Tahlia Whitfield


Mark E. said:

Excellent read

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