Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

The online art market grew 12% to $4.2bn (£3.07bn), behind the 15% growth in 2016, and the 24% recorded in 2015, according to the sixth annual Hiscox Online Art Trade Report.

Robert Read, head of art and private clients at insurance firm Hiscox, said: “The slowing growth in the online art market comes as no surprise. It has now reached a level of maturity where the business is broadly sustainable.” 

The report found price transparency is a concern for new buyers, with 90% of new buyer respondents citing price transparency as a “key consideration that simply isn’t being addressed”.

Read added: “Resolving… price transparency is essential to attract new buyers. What is clear, is that the talent is there to make it happen, even if the timing remains hard to predict.”

Hiscox predicts the value of the online art market could reach $8.37bn by 2023.

Online art market in numbers:

  • 43% of art buyers bought online in the last 12 months - down from 49% the previous year
  • 74% of art buyers make multiple online purchases, up from 65% in 2017
  • 63% of buyers use Instagram to buy, up from 57% in 2017
  • 20% rise in using mobile phones to buy art, up from 4% in 2015
  • 81% of online platforms expect to see a higher rate of consolidation and competition to increase
  • 54% of platforms and 28% of galleries have been the target of an attempted cyber attack in 2017
  • 7% of respondents accept cryptocurrencies as payment and 8% use embedded blockchain technology
  • 90% of new buyers say price transparency is an issue

The Hiscox report is based on responses from a survey of 831 art buyers through art market research firm ArtTactic’s client list. The sample is larger than last year’s 758 and includes more new art buyers. The survey also included 130 galleries and dealers - 60% in contemporary art and 40% across other collectable areas such as art, design, furniture, decorative arts, antiquities and Old Master paintings.