Would you buy a painting online? If someone was asked that question 15 years ago, the answer would almost certainly have been “no”. However, with the rise of the internet age, the world has become a radically different place – we now buy everything, from groceries and clothes to cars and holidays, all entirely online, so why should art be any different?

A report published by Hiscox and ArtTactic last year found that, despite the fact that the global art auction market saw decreased sales figures, that decrease was coupled with an upswing in online art sales. In 2015 alone, the rush of people choosing to buy art online increased the market by 24%, which totalled $3.27 billion in revenue.

If the increase in buying art online continues at its present rate, then by 2020, the internet art market alone will be worth $9.58 billion. According to the Hiscox Online Art Trade Report of 2016, this impressive growth may be thanks to consumer’s decreasing wariness about buying art based only on a digital image. Technological improvements like the ability to quickly load large files, screen quality increases and the increased picture quality seen in online galleries (like Walton Fine Art’s shop) mean that digital representations of works are sharper and more precise than ever before, increasing consumer trust and making it easier for customers to anticipate what they’ll be getting when they buy art online.

More good news for the online art market is its rate of consumer satisfaction – the same report showed that 92% of online art buyers expect that they will buy the same amount or more online again in the next 12 months, while buying art online opens up the market to younger audiences, with 19% of under-35s buying their first artwork over the internet – a 4% increase since last year.

Art at lower price points tends to sell best online, with prints and paintings proving the winners so far. When interviewed about this, Osman Khan, the director of online art auction house Paddle8, said that he expected the value of the individual transactions to increase as “collectors and galleries establish relationships, gallery reputations are cemented, and the marketplace becomes more established.”

He added that the truly unique aspects of buying art online are that the internet is able to act as a combination of an informational channel, a distribution channel and a curatorial service. By essentially creating digital art galleries, online art shops allow collectors to explore art and artists which they might never otherwise have access to, discovering new artists and works with only a few clicks. With these digital galleries, and the ability to read all about artists on various websites, the art world has opened up to anyone with a passion for artwork, democratising the process of discovering artists and purchasing works for the first time.

Khan goes on to say that, thanks to the rise of platforms allowing people to buy art online, there is a “new, previously untapped community or art buyers” and finishes on an optimistic note – saying that thanks to this upswing in interest, the art world on the whole is beginning to pick up.

“A rising tide lifts all boats.”

For more information or to buy art online, visit our online shop here!