With so many consumers turning to the Internet for their everyday shopping needs, it was only a matter of time before art buyers started to do the same. In fact – according to a recent report from Hiscox – online art sales rose by 15% to $3.75 billion last year, giving online sales a huge 8.4% share of the overall market.
Despite these strong figures, some art lovers still have concerns when it comes to buying art online. From worries about condition to ways of confirming authenticity, a lot of buyers are reluctant to join this growing market. Here’s how both buyers and sellers can allay some of these fears.
What concerns do buyers have?
According to Hiscox, 75% of buyers hesitate to buy online because they’re worried that the condition of the artwork will not be as it appears on screen. This is an understandable concern; condition plays a huge role in the value of a piece and it’s not always easy to accurately determine condition from a few pictures online. Similarly, a lot of buyers cited issues with determining the authenticity of an artwork if buying from a previously unknown website or online gallery, as well as worries over the safety of pieces during delivery.
What can you do?
As a buyer, there needn’t be cause for concern if you treat any online purchase as you would a face-to-face purchase. Do as much research as you can – both on the piece you’re interested in and the seller – and only buy via reputable sellers and galleries if you’re worried about authenticity.
Feel free to ask the seller to provide all the information you need to satisfy any worries you might have; ask for a full condition report in writing, certificates of authenticity where relevant, and for any history the seller might have on the piece. It’s also important to make sure you understand the seller’s shipping, returns and insurance policy to make sure your new purchase is fully protected up to the moment it’s delivered to your door.
What can we do?
Buyers surveyed in the Hiscox report named several solutions online sellers could employ to put their customers’ minds at rest. These varied from providing condition reports and authenticity certificates, alongside detailed photographs, to offering a 30-day return guarantee policy in case a buyer finds that their purchase is not as it was represented online.
As sellers, these are all things we should take into consideration to increase buyer confidence. For example, here at Trinity, we’re dedicated to providing as much information as possible about the art we sell, from its condition to its provenance, age and history.
The benefits of buying art online
When working out the pros and cons of buying art online, it’s also important to remember that there are a considerable amount of benefits too!
Taking your search for new purchases online gives you access to a much greater range of art than is possible to view in person. Many sellers, like ourselves, have galleries all over the world, giving you international access to works you would previously not have been able to see.
As a first-time buyer, many people can feel intimidated visiting a gallery and making a purchase. From feeling worried about not being an expert to discussing what price you’d like to pay, buying from a gallery can be nerve-wracking for the uninitiated. Buying art online takes all of these worries away, leaving you to browse, compare prices and take your time before making your purchase.
Now that we’ve assessed the merits of buying art online – and hopefully helped to overcome some of the potential concerns – are you tempted to start your collection? If you are, why not set up your own My Trinity account? Our exclusive members area allows you to browse, research and share your favourite works of art with tailored collections and recommendations made for you by our expert curators, as well as one-to-one advice throughout the decision-making and purchasing process.
Please speak to one of our expert advisers if you’d like more information.