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Hiscox Online Art Trade Report 2020

No. Pages
ResearchersAnders Petterson, Lindsay Dewar, Julia
Report TypeMarket Report

We are delighted to announce the launch of the 8th annual Hiscox Online Art Trade Report 2020. Due to the Covid-19 crisis we have this year decided to launch the report in 3 parts, to ensure the findings remain relevant in this fast changing and fluid situation. This is Part 1: The Online Art Trade. 


Online art and collectible sales generated an estimated $4.82 billion in 2019 – up 4% from 2018. Growth in this market has steadily declined in recent years; from 24% in 2015, 12.5% in 2017 and 4% in 2019. The Hiscox Online Art Trade Report 2020 suggests that despite a year of subdued growth in 2019, the pandemic could be an important turning point for online sales.

Despite a slowdown in the overall global art market, 80% of online art platforms expect online sales to increase in the next 12 months;

The impact of Covid-19 appears to have accelerated online sales so far, with online-only auction sales by Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips estimated to have generated $370 million in the first half of 2020, 436% higher than the same period in 2019;

When questioned about the longevity of these changes, 65% of online sales platforms said they expected the pandemic to have a permanent and transformative impact on the sector.

Consolidation is still widely expected, with 67% of platforms believing the online market will be dominated by a few global players within the next five years;

Some 63% expect existing art market operators such as galleries to emerge as the big online players while 48% expect an outsider (such as a start-up or tech giant) to disrupt the market;

Over half (56%) of online art platforms (down from 62% in 2019) believe the online art market will remain collecting-specific, with certain platforms dominating specific segments (such as photography, prints, furniture or design).