The recent change to sell art online had to be accepted by one group in particular – the buyers. The art market is a traditional one, therefore the move to online selling has not been as quick as other markets. Factors such as brand recognition and consumer trust are still issues for online platforms. While the online market has seen growth in the past five years, 44 percent of art buyers still stated that they would prefer to buy art in a physical space as opposed to 14 percent whose preference was online purchasing. That being said high net worth collectors seem to be becoming more comfortable browsing and buying art online with 37 percent stating they bought art always or often using an online platform in 2018.
Those who do buy art online specified that the quality of the art on offer was the most critical attribute when choosing where to buy from. Price transparency and a search/navigation feature were also seen as important qualities. The growing importance of the internet in selling art can be seen when looking at the share of online art sales which accounted for 29 percent of total art sales worldwide in 2018. A portion of these sales are generated by well-known auction houses such as Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Heritage.