Last week I created a short survey to try to learn a bit about how and where artists sell their work online. Thanks to everyone who participated!
First, a couple thoughts:
– The artists who completed this survey were [nearly] all reached via Twitter. I sent an invitation to about 300 of the artists I follow. Anyone else who follows this blog and happens to be an artist was also welcome to participate. 40 artists completed the survey.
– The artists I reached out to are artists whose work I like. Some are more “professional” and some are more “amateur”. Most are based in the US or the UK, but there are many other countries represented as well. Take a look at my Twitter followees to see who I’m talking about.
So here are the results:
Question 1: Do you sell works via your own website?
– Yes: 44%
– No: 56%
Question 2: Do you sell art via online galleries (Saatchi, Artfinder, etc)?
– Yes: 38%
– No: 62%
Question 3: What percentage of your art do you sell online vs “in person”?
38% of respondents never sell art online. Another 31% sell less than a quarter of their work online. So that leaves the remaining 31% who sell the majority of the work online. Interestingly, 40% of those for whom selling art is their primary source of income sell at least 50% of their work online. This is higher than I would have expected – I guess I figured that artists who make a living from their art would be more connected with galleries and rely less on online sales.
Question 4: What percentage of your sales are for less than $500 (£350)?
23% of respondents answered that they never sell art for less than $500. I’m not sure what I was expecting with this question. I guess I would assume that most artists, especially those active on Twitter, would sell at least the occasional piece for less than $500, and that turned out to be mostly true. 25% of artists were at the other end of the spectrum, selling at least 75% of their work for less than $500, which I suppose means that the survey’s respondents were a pretty evenly mixed bunch.
Question 5: What percentage of your sales are for less than $100 (£70)?
54% never sell for less than $100. Another 37% sell less than a quarter of their work for under $100. This isn’t too surprising… I can’t really imagine selling art for less than $100 unless it is a small little study that is lying around somewhere. So it is actually encouraging that for some 46% of the artists whose work I really enjoy, selling a piece for less than $100 is not totally out of the question. Even 28% of respondents for whom art sales are their primary source of income sometimes sell for less than $100.
Question 6: Is the sale of your art your primary source of income?
– Yes: 51%
– No: 49%
So that’s it. I’m still thinking about the results and what kind of big picture they paint, if any. To be honest I love the idea of art being for sale online. Otherwise the vast majority of art is simply out of reach (geographically, at least). But I also understand that it is a hassle to maintain your own website, online gallery commissions are still pretty high, people are unlikely to spend lots of money on more expensive pieces, and it makes the process of buying art much less personal.
I’d be very curious to read any other perspectives on this data. It’s certainly not the largest data set in the world but overall I’m quite pleased with the response.