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Affordable Art Fair
Art advice - 31 May 2017

Taking the plunge into the online art market

From booking holidays, sharing music, comparing insurance and finding a partner, a whole lot of life takes place online today. Now, with the publication of the Hiscox Online Art Market Trade Report, it’s clear that art is yet another industry embracing the move into cyberspace — to be exact, the online art market currently makes up 8.4% of the total art market, that’s up from 7.4% in 2015. The report shares the fascinating ways that established collectors and first time art buyers alike are discovering art, and easily snapping it up on the internet. Proving that in the age of the customer, browsing and buying art online is definitely on the rise. As Robert Read, Hiscox’s Head of Art explains, “For those who say the online art market has had its day — it hasn’t even had its morning yet, it’s still waking up.” We couldn’t agree more!

And the good news is?

Whilst the report understandably highlights a number of concerns that you might have when buying the art you love on the internet, our trusted online shop is designed to reassure, working with galleries to make sure you know and trust what you’re investing in, before you buy. But, if you prefer to see a work in person to truly click with it or want an enjoyable day out, then our established fairs have still got you covered.

Read on for our top insights of the report’s illuminating research.

It’s all about Instagram

Uk Instagram ScreenshotInstagram has certainly had a renaissance over the last few years — no longer just a place to post pictures about trips away and cute pets, the report reveals how it’s now relied on by art-lovers as a tool to discover new work. An impressive 62% of art-buyers follow artists via Instagram, whilst 61% use the app to unearth intriguing new talent. The Hiscox report shows Instagram to be the social media platform of choice when buying art online, with Facebook proving the second most popular option, used mostly to catch up on recent art news and upcoming exhibitions.

If you’re one of the growing number who use Instagram to buy art online, then make sure to check out the Affordable Art Fair’s account – it’s a hotspot for emerging, exciting affordable art fair artists, with regular takeovers and artist highlights, as well as all the latest news on our fairs.

Hesitant to buy online?

The steady rise in online art sales doesn’t mean online buyers are snapping up artwork left, right and centre. In fact, the report highlights a new kind of buyer, with a set of concerns linked to the perceived risks of buying art online. Is it authentic? Will it arrive in one piece? Who’s the artist? The biggest concern? That the work may look different on the walls of their own home. 

Here at Affordable Art Fair HQ, these are concerns that have shaped our approach to the right way to buy art both live at our fairs and online. We encourage you to research the artist with our online background information, reach out to our knowledgeable gallerists and follow artists online before deciding on that perfect piece, as well as ensuring our galleries provide certificates of authenticity with newly purchased work. Furthermore, hesitant buyers have the opportunity to view works in person at a fair. If you’re buying online, issues about the work looking different are solved by our simple 14 day trial period. If it’s not right for you, the work can be returned with minimal fuss. It’s as simple and as safe as that!

It’s safe to take the plunge online

Despite anxieties about buying online, it seems that those who take the plunge, get hooked. Indeed, 65% of art buyers bought more than one item online in 2017, a slow but steady growth from 2015, as we get used to buying art in many different ways. It’s clear that learning more about the work you are buying and the artists you collect, as well as sharing tips on buying art online, can give you the confidence to collect art in this way. 

With our wealth of advice on online collecting, dedicated sections on featured artists, and specialist advice from the experts, we hope to show our visitors and buyers that collecting artwork online doesn’t have to be scary — in fact, it’s a lot of fun.

Face-to-face is half the fun

Art lovers getting up close and personal with the perfect piece at the fair

Perhaps one of the most illuminating statistics from the Hiscox report is that the majority of art lovers said they’d like the chance to speak with an expert before buying art online. For many, buying art should be a personal interaction; learning about a new medium or artists, or developing a relationship with a gallery is half the fun.

With 79% stressing the desire for more information about the artwork and its creator, the beauty of the Affordable Art Fair is that you have the option to come and visit us, face-to-face. Join one of our collecting tours, chat to the gallerists — you never know, the artist you’re interested in may have just taken over our Instagram or be giving a talk in our onsite Talks Lounge, or be at the fair, selling the work themselves. Sometimes, it’s about getting offline, to give you that confidence online.

All statistics: Hiscox Online Art Trade Report, 2017

Pop the dates for our autumn fairs in your diaries now and enjoy discovering our online world until then - because now there’s more than one way to buy - both live and online!

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