In connection with the increase in general prosperity in the world, interest in art has also increased. More and more people want to buy original art and the shopping patterns have changed with the accessibility that has been created in the tides of globalization and the Internet.
In recent years, the global art market has remained stable around $ 60 billion a year, the latest major downturn being during the financial crisis in 2008, but the art market recovered rapidly. What is increasing most, however, is sales online which constitutes a larger share of total sales each year. How do those who shop online think, what is important to them and how do their shopping patterns look?
The way customers consume has become segmented in both the art industry and in all other major industries. In recent years, the turnover of online art has increased by around 15% each year and it now generates several billion US dollars annually.
Today it is not as obvious to buy from an established art dealer and even the more traditional galleries have realized the need to move parts of their business online. It has also become much easier for the customer to buy directly from the artist, which is now available to a much greater extent with social media, third-party platforms and their own websites.
It is all about psychology
What is it that drives this development with more and more art purchases online, is it just because artists and art dealers are going online with their businesses and that it constantly opens up new digital marketplaces for art sales? Have art dealers and artists become significantly skilled in online marketing? No, even if the supply and presentation are important, the big difference lies in the customer perspective. Let's look at some interesting figures before moving on with the reasoning:
The global art market online generates more than $ 5 billion annually.
About 75% of online buyers bought more than one artwork online over the past 12 months.
Around 90% of art buyers who shop online see price transparency as an important criterion for buying art online.
The first point is an indisputable parameter for how large the online art market is. The second point indicates that it is not just single treasures that are sold, those who buy art online seem to rather have it as a habit. The third point states that, as long as the information is detailed and comparable, the greatest barrier disappears. The conclusion is that during the last decade, the mentality of consumers has changed fundamentally, we are now so comfortable in and secure with buying something online that as long as we can do what we love most, compare, we are just as happy to buy online as anywhere else.
As an art dealer and artist, it can be easy to dismiss the importance of comparability, all art is unique, many thinks. And so it is, but that perspective is not as relevant to the customer. They often want to feel that they have done a good deal and to do that, comparisons are absolutely necessary. Today, it is not just convenience that is the deciding factor for why someone is buying something on the web, it is just as much about the hunt, about doing research, the feeling of satisfaction when figuring out what is the "best buy" is the driving factor for many. In a physical store, or in the case of our industry an art gallery, the customer gets a very limited selection.
No matter how skillful the art dealer is, the customer will know that they might miss something by not looking at more places, preferably online, to really make sure to choose "right".
What benefits can you, as an artist, draw from this? The solution is not to try to find comparable competitors and offer cheaper prices, although this may seem like an attractive quick fix. It is about completely different things that again link to the psychological aspect. First and foremost, the prerequisites need to be there to be found at all. Website, presence on social media and third-party platforms are the major parts. Then, it's simply about being the best option, because believing me, the customers are doing their research.
With this, we come back to the fundamental pieces of how you present your artistry online as well as off-line, your brand needs to appear strong and credible. It is not about how long your resume is, it is about conveying a feeling, a feeling that makes the customers feel safe and like they get value for money when they choose to buy something from you. Here it is not just about making a stylish website and designing a good-looking logo, those are too superficial attributes for the customer to be deeply influenced and triggered to purchase.
The brand should be built with care, it is the core of your entire business.
Once it is composed, you should set up a strategy that will allow all your online presence to breathe your brand. If they find you on social media, then click on to your website, sign up for newsletters, get to know you and your work, they should constantly recognize your brand, become interested and feel that your entire artistry is an overall experience well worth investing in.
With that said, stop fiddling with hashtags for a while and get involved in how you can really build an online presence that matters and generate sales.
If you want to know more about how you best build your brand as an artist and market yourself online as well as off-line, our course "How to sell your art in the 21st century" is something for you.