Online art market continues to soar as Artfinder marketplace closes best sales quarter ever

Demand for buying art online continues to soar, as online art marketplace, Artfinder, records its best sales quarter in its seven year history, with 120% sales growth on 2019.

The annual Hiscox online art trade report, published this week, confirms the market has been forced to adapt quickly and shift its focus online, with Sotheby’s seeing a 131% increase in the number of lots it has sold online so far this year.

Artfinder has also raised £500,000 to date through its first crowdfunding campaign with Crowdcube, which has 17 days left to run. Investors in the crowdfunding round will receive equity in the business, at a valuation of £10 million.

Anders Petterson of Art Tactic and author of the Hiscox Report, said: “I believe we have seen a significant change in ‘perception and attitude’ in the art market towards the potential and importance of online—and I believe this will continue to drive future growth.”

In June alone, Artfinder saw 146% growth in value of art sold compared to last year, with average order value up 33%.

Robert Read, Head of Art at Hiscox predicted that online sales could account for half of the art market within the next six years. He said, “social distancing is here to stay for long enough that it will change how we buy art as well as many other things. No longer will we have the joy and pain of crowded art fairs and gallery openings. Dealers will have to find new ways to create the buzz that makes us have to buy NOW, lest we dwell and lose yet another treasure that we can’t live without.”

CEO Michal Szczesny comments: ‘It’s been a truly remarkable quarter for Artfinder and I think for the art world as a whole. The art world has been slow to embrace online, but for many these last few months it has been a matter of adapting to survive. We prepared, as I’m sure almost every business everywhere did, for a drop in our sales, what that would do to our cash flow, what measures we may need to take and when. What we did not prepare for was 100%+ growth of orders. We’re lucky as a marketplace business that our artists handle shipping and deal directly with customers, but we’ve still seen a 136% increase in tickets to our customer care team, which has meant that we’ve had to scale that team, and other teams really quickly. We’ve also launched a crowdfunding round to accelerate this period of growth even faster.’

The largest online marketplace for art, Artfinder is a VC funded startup, backed by the investors behind Spotify and Zoopla. Investors include Wellington Partners, Oxford Capital, Cambridge Angels, plus private investors in the UK, the US and Switzerland. In August 2019, Artfinder became the art world’s first B Corp, solidifying its mission to make art affordable, accessible and a viable career for artists.