What’s next for art collecting in the digital age
Every month, 2.2 million visitors browse a million artworks by 100,000 artists on Artsy, which boasts 1.4 million registered users from over 190 countries. Of these, half are between the ages 18 and 34, and the other half are above the age of 35. In 2018, Artsy had a 58% growth in sales volume, and Contemporary Asian Art is consistently one of the top five searches on Artsy, indicating a robust interest new and experienced collectors have in the category.
This week, Artsy will launch its City Guide together with its partner BMW, showing the best art in six cities: Hong Kong, New York, London, Paris, Berlin and Los Angeles. A&M interviews Jennifer Pratt, Strategic Initiatives Lead, Asia and Oceania at Artsy to find out more about what galleries and users can look forward to with this additional feature, how Southeast Asian art collectors are engaging with the digital economy at large, and the ways technology will continue to transform the art market.
How do art collectors typically use the app and how does the city guide feature add value to the customer experience?
Artsy’s app allows users to discover and purchase artwork from over 3,000 galleries, 800 museums, 80 art fairs, and leading auction houses around the world. So if you are a collector based in Jakarta, Manila, or Singapore, you can keep up-to-date with what galleries, art fairs, and auction houses are presenting around the world without needing to travel to each event.
Building on Artsy’s personalised and intuitive collecting experience, the new City Guide feature opens up new opportunities for art discovery at galleries, museums, and art fairs in each of the six cities featured. Users will be able to navigate around any one of these six cities with in-app GPS and discover current exhibitions and fairs happening nearby. They can save their favourites, explore the shows in person or virtually, and then buy works directly in the Artsy app, either standing directly in front of the work of art or remotely in another location.
What can galleries look forward to with this new feature that will enhance their business?
We know that the discovery process is fundamental to the art collecting experience. By being featured in the City Guide, Artsy’s gallery partners will have an opportunity to share their current shows and exhibitions through an additional channel in Artsy’s app. Users can find the galleries via in-app GPS, access show information, and also browse and purchase all artworks in a show through Artsy. A travel guide in your pocket, City Guide will drive engagement, in person and remotely, with art spaces and support global jetsetters on their art endeavours around the world.
How do you foresee technology transforming the way business is done in the art market? And what do you think are the key ingredients to success in the business of art, whether related to technology or not?
Before the art world began to adopt new technologies and digital channels, it was very fragmented. However, art is an inherently global business as buyers are looking for specific, unique inventory. The internet is the key to connecting collectors from around the world with the inventory they’re seeking, whether it’s located in their city or thousands of miles away. For example, a New York collector might be looking for a unique work from an emerging artist represented by a gallery in Jakarta. Or a Singaporean collector may be looking to buy a specific Warhol work from the nearly 2,000 works by Andy Warhol currently listed for sale by more than 150 sellers on Artsy. It’s essential that an online platform provides buyers with access to unique artworks no matter where they are in the world. Instead of opting to compete with the art industry, Artsy’s strategy has always been to build partnerships with the art world. This partnership approach has been core to our success.
How did the collaboration with BMW come about, and why does it make sense for Artsy to partner with the brand?
Artsy and BMW have great synergy at the intersection of technology and the arts. Both Artsy and BMW believe in the importance of aesthetics, have a steadfast approach to innovation, and aim to support art and culture around the world. We are excited to be partnering with BMW on the launch of City Guide to empower our users to discover art around the world. The City Guide feature is part of a multi-channel partnership with BMW that includes an ongoing film series called the “Future of Art,” which profiles artists and creative luminaries such as Trevor Paglen, Carrie Mae Weems, and Elizabeth Diller.
A&M is focused on Southeast Asian art and its market, with an eye on what's happening in the wider Asian art scene. Do Southeast Asian or Asian art collectors buy artworks online? Is there a cap on the price at which they are comfortable to do so?
The rapid growth of the art market in Asia over the past decade has seen some collectors in the region expand their collections very quickly. The appetite for art is visible through the multitude of art fairs and new galleries across the region.
At the same time, the Asian economies have in many cases adopted a mobile lifestyle for consumer market places (home goods, electronics) in a much more advanced way than in the West. According to the most recent e-Conomy Southeast Asia 2018 report from Google and Singapore-based Temasek, the digital economy in Southeast Asia will reach $240 billion by 2025, $40 billion more than previous estimates. What that means for us is that collectors have a level of trust in online marketplaces and are comfortable browsing on Artsy for unique artworks from around the globe. We see robust engagement from collectors in Southeast Asia, especially from countries such as Singapore and the Philippines, which are both in the top 30 countries with Artsy collectors.
What are the next cities this feature will feature, and what other features are in the pipeline for the Artsy app?
We’re exploring adding more cities to the app, but don’t currently have any set plans. Throughout 2019 and beyond, we’ll continue building new products and features that make the process of buying art even more seamless and enjoyable.
To experience Artsy’s new City Guide feature, download the app here.