The new 'TEFAF Art Market Report: Online Focus' estimated $3.1bn of art, antiques and collectables sold online in 2016. Image courtesy of TEFAF.

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A new survey of nearly 670 art dealers found that nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents sell online. While 16% of those surveyed who do not sell online already plan to do so soon, 20% were resolute they have no plans to begin.

The new TEFAF Art Market Report: Online Focus, published today, said that although dealers “have been slow to adapt to new technology”, in contrast auctioneers have “been quicker to embrace online” with approximately 8% of art auction sales happening online globally, compared with 4% of art dealers’ $26bn global sales.


The value online sales of art, antiques and collectables was $3.1bn in 2016, according to the latest report from TEFAF.

The report highlighted that it is low-price purchases that are driving online sales, with the largest part of the online market for artworks under $500.

But it warned that “trust and transparency issues” are limiting growth for the sector, particularly in the upper end of the online market.

In April insurer Hiscox produced its own report of the online market and found the overall value of online sales in the art market increased by 15% in the last year. The Hiscox Online Art Trade Report estimated $3.75bn of artworks sold online during 2016, a share of 8.4% of the entire market (up from 7.4% in 2015).

This new TEFAF online report was written by Maastricht University professor Rachel Pownall. She took over the authorship of the art market reports for the group from Clare McAndrew last year and her first was released in March. This online focus is supplementary to her initial report.

McAndrew left to join the Art Basel group in 2016 and released her first report earlier this year.

For more on the TEFAF online report and initiatives see the print edition of Antiques Trade Gazette next week.