Art sales are changing in plain sight, don’t just sit and watch

Online art sales are booming, why are you doing nothing about it? Claim your online audience before someone else does!

You’ve probably heard about side-hustlers, chillpreneurs and even power sellers, and there is much talk about 2021 being the year of the ecommerce ‘Gold rush’. As an artist or visual creative, is it time to take notice and add ecommerce to your artistic practice? 

Girlboss by Lisa Tegtmeier

It is an inescapable truth that to succeed in art, you must also succeed in business. To maintain a sustainable career in the arts, artists must carve an income from their craft, and in addition to commercial commissions, shooting photographs or making designs for clients, selling artworks at exhibitions or art fairs, an increasing number of artists are now realising significant revenue from selling artwork directly to their audiences via their own ecommerce channels. 

Ecommerce and print-on-demand has become a way for independent artists to self-sufficiently sustain their careers, and most importantly, empowering them to sell the work they want to create directly to their niche audiences, harnessing the power of social media to reach a global audience.

“I see the ecomm trend and the way that artists can make money now as a kind of revolution. It’s amazing that artists can now thrive online, doing what they love and on your own terms.” Diane Hill

The stats are compelling, in 2020 more people shopped online, than any other year prior. Ecommerce sales on the whole rose by 20%, and in 2021 expectations are even higher.

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, 10 years of ecommerce growth happened in just 90 days. (Sourced from Shopify & McKinsey

The global pandemic has accelerated this trend even faster, as countries locked down and bricks and mortar retailers were forced to close, ecommerce sales reached an all-time high. According to a global survey across 11 markets by Shopify:

  • 84% of consumers shopped online during the pandemic
  • 52% of transactions taking place on mobile devices
  • 75% of the consumers polled said they’d purchased from a new store, website or brand
  • 60% said they expect to integrate these new stores and brands into their post-Covid lives. 

It’s clear, Eccom is here to stay, will continue to grow and long-held consumer habits are changing. Furthermore, consumers are buying with more choice and freedom than ever before, challenging the big retailers like amazon or legacy high street names and instead seeking out products from authentic brands, niche stores and from individual artists and creatives they feel stronger, more meaningful connections with. 

At an average price of £100 per print, 2020 saw art sales of £1.8M fulfilled via creativehub, a staggering growth of 202% from 2019. This is not going to go into reverse…this trend is only going one way, the pandemic has just accelerated it.

One myth that seems to have been almost wholly dispelled by the statistics, is that the art world was somehow different, steeped in tradition and stubbornly resistant to change, a view held by some was that people just don’t buy art online in great numbers, instead preferring to see the art in the flesh, or requiring the services of a gallery or art advisor to sell effectively. The growth figures from creativehub and the wider market show this perception has changed. Artists are showcasing their work more creatively and effectively using online tools than ever before, and consumers are increasingly satisfied seeing an artwork on screen, and purchasing. 

Sell art online book

Clearly there’s never been a better time to focus on the growth of online art sales, whether your intention is to make it a core part of your business, or offer a handful of prints and test the water alongside your commercial practise.

Better still, opening an ecommerce store and offering your products to a global audience is low risk, both in terms of time and money. With print-on-demand there is no stock to order upfront and for even the least tech-savvy, using Shopify’s excellent templates, it’s perfectly feasible to launch a store with a day or two’s effort and with only the $29 Shopify fee as your initial outlay, and open up art sales to a global market. Once your store is live, every post, story, or piece of content you publish becomes an opportunity to engage followers and fans in a sale. Not just likes. If you are a content creator with an audience or following, however small, and you aren’t selling online then you are missing out. 

Up until recently, eccom has heavily favoured the large platforms, allowing them to grow immensely at the expense of artists or content creators, platforms such as Amazon for retailers and Spotify for musicians are notorious for passing on very small profits to content creators. The Shopify system plugged into creativehub gives content creators far more opportunity to benefit directly from the value of their creativity. 

“I quit my day job recently and now I’m focussing on photography and prints full time, it’s been an interesting year, quite scary to finally make the jump, but it’s so exciting, it’s been a dream for a long time.” Ian Lauer

It puts the power and control in the hands of the creative, setting prices as they wish, with low running costs and high margins, (only paying the print cost + shipping for each sale) and without paying fees to middlemen or agents. With effective and thoughtful promotion direct to your audience, there’s no limit to the sales that an artist can achieve. Furthermore with print-on-demand liberating sellers from the logistics of printing, shipping and returns and replacements, creatives can focus on building their brand and their following and leave the printing and fulfilment to us. 

Now’s the time. Turn your passion into a business. With focus, self determination and an understanding of your audience’s interests, make ecommerce sales a core part of your artistic career. Start selling now