The online art market grew 12% to $4.2bn (£3.07bn) in 2017, behind the 15% growth in 2016 and 24% recorded in 2015, according to the sixth annual Hiscox Online Art Trade Report.
The use of mobiles to buy art has increased significantly in recent years, rising to 20% in 2018, up from 4% in 2015.
The report found 81% of online platforms expect to see a higher rate of consolidation, while half of all online platforms said that the online auction market was going to be the area facing the most intense competition this year.
Robert Read, head of art and private clients at insurance firm Hiscox, said: “I have talked many times about the longawaited consolidation in the online art market, which is still yet to happen – with the notable exception of the marriage and subsequent separation of Paddle 8 and Auctionata.
“We all know that consolidation will happen… What we don’t know is when, and who is going to end up on top.”
The report also found price transparency is an issue. Some 90% of new buyer respondents cited secrecy over prices and transactions (both at online auctions and through dealers) as a “key consideration that simply isn’t being addressed”.
The Hiscox report is based on responses from a survey of 831 art buyers through art market research firm ArtTactic’s client list.
The survey also included 130 galleries and dealers – 60% in contemporary art and 40% across other collecting areas such as art, design, furniture, decorative arts, antiquities and Old Masters.