The European Fine Art Fair and the Hiscox Online Art Trade Report show that online art sales soared last year despite a 7 per cent drop in the global art market from US$68.2 billion in 2014 to US$63.8 billion in 2015.
Christie's online auction platform benefited the most from this increase, which reported an 11% increase in online sales, and a 10% increase in number of online buyers.
Sotheby's also reported an increase in their online sales according to Sotheby's executive David Goodman. A staggering 44% increase in online sales was reported for Sotheby's in 2015, which was a 52% rise in the number of online buyers from previous years.
There are also new players in the entry level art market, such as Artsy and Paddle8. Some of their customers are aged 34 and younger and have made their first art purchase within the $5,000 range.
Growing competition and attention in the art market means that those who collect art will benefit from increased liquidity and recognition, which are two important aspects of an asset class.
Liquidity means that for those who buy art as an investment, the time it takes to convert the art into cash will decrease.
Recognition means that for those who buy art as a status symbol or for aesthetic appeasement, their peers will recognize their taste for luxury goods. Recognition also factors into art being an asset class for first time investors considering their first purchase.
Though online sales of art has yet to be of concern for traditional galleries and art sales, it has definitely increased the art market cap and lowered the entry barrier for first time buyers and young artists.