Art Market Insights 2024: Online Sales Surge

Packaging artwork for delivery. Source: Zarastro Art

The Art Market Report 2024 by Art Basel & UBS revealed an expansion in global online sales in 2023, growing by 7% to ~$11.8 billion. This resurgence nearly doubled the size of the online art market compared to 2019, bolstering the enduring significance of the digital channel.

Overall sales went down in 2023, decreasing by 4% to ~$65 billion. Despite the drop, lower-priced transactions drove a 4% increase in transaction volume to $39.4 million. Public auction and dealer sales both decreased, with auctions experiencing a more severe decline. Private sales at auction houses saw a 2% increase.

With 42% of worldwide sales, the US continued to be the greatest market for art, followed by China (19%) and the UK (17%). France held steady in fourth place at 7%.

Surveys conducted among High Net Worth (HNW) collectors in 2023 highlighted evolving buyer behaviors, with an increasing comfort level observed in sight-unseen online transactions. Around 30% of collectors favoring dealers opted for entirely online transactions, with Gen Z collectors exhibiting a particularly strong preference for digital transactions.

The impact of online sales on new buyer acquisition emerged as a notable trend in 2023. Online channels served as vital entry points for new buyers, facilitating access to both established auction houses and emerging players in the art market.

The report highlights how online sales are still relevant, increasing accessibility, changing consumer behavior, and changing the dynamics of the art market.

Global economic development is expected to be hindered by continued wars in 2024, with forecasts predicting a rate of 3.1% for the year. In 2025, the rate is expected to slightly increase to 3.2%. Progress is being hindered by a number of issues, including low productivity growth, high debt, less government support, and inflation.

The art market is showing some encouraging indicators despite persistent difficulties, such as declining rates of inflation and hints of prospective interest rate cuts in various geographies. These factors offer a ray of optimism and may help alleviate some of the cost pressures currently faced.


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