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August 31, 2020

 The Hiscox Online Art Trade Report 2020 - A concise picture of the online market today.

Recently I had the pleasure of reading the Hiscox Online Art Trade Report 2020 by Robert Read the Head of Art and Private Clients at Hiscox Insurance. This was just published last month. It is an annual report that started in 2013. 

In this report Mr Read states in black and white what the effect the Covid-19 pandemic is having on the art, antiques and collectibles market and how it is fuelling the transition to online only models. 
This is relevant to Intercollector because when we started the company back in 2016, it was based on the assumption that the online only model would take centre stage for all art and collectibles down the road and we would be there to hoover up the business.  So, although we wish that Covid-19 had never happened, it has inadvertently speeded up our timeline.  The Intecollector model of a curated auction platform, although not new, was an option to both buyers and sellers that was gaining traction. Now, it is a necessity and is widely utilized by Sothebys and Christies among others. 

This report has given us some extremely valuable information that we will be able to cite to support our case.  It is always better to present a position with impartial data, so thank you Hiscox and Robert Read. 

Here are the highlights:

While the growth rate in online art sales has declined (4% in 2019) there has been a steady increase over the last few years and total online art sales in 2019 were estimated at $4.82bn.

The expectation is that online art sales are set to increase.  80% of the online platforms are ‘optimistic’ and 65% envisage a permanent shift towards online trading, while expressing concerns about online platforms with high overheads.

While ‘other collectibles’ comprise 25% of total online art sales in 2019, the percentages can be higher for auction ‘aggregators’ such as Invaluable and online platforms such as Catawiki. Heritage Auction , the world’s largest auction house for online sales, derived more than 90% of its online sales from this category during the year.

Many of the online platforms (41%) feel that “geography matters when it comes to building a sustainable online art and collectibles market”. There are many successful businesses which have a regional emphasis, for example Saffronart in India and Lauritz.com in Scandinavia.

Even more (48%) feel that “an outsider such as an existing company or start-up with superior technology could disrupt the art and collectibles market”

To read this report in full go to: www.hiscox.co.uk/online-art-trade-report