Is There Really Any Scope For Online Art Marketplace in India?

In the past couple of decades, the interest of people in Indian artwork has risen dramatically  across the globe. They have started recognizing it, thereby increasing its commercial value. The art industry has suddenly witnessed a growing demand for skilled artists and fine works of art . In this  scenario, the invasion of eCommerce has played an important role in the revival of the Indian art market. eCommerce portals being prominent in almost every sector ranging from FMCG, F&B to Luxury & Lifestyle goods has now extended into the world of arts. The Online marketplaces are witnessing increasing demand due to  convenience and flexibility they  offer  consumers and businesses. Talking specifically of the Online Art Marketplaces in India, they are simply making the process of discovery easier and buying faster as they have taken a digital-first approach to selling art. These art marketplaces provide original, ethnic and unique art forms from artists across the world, and bring original and unique art forms to a larger audience. eCommerce is now playing the role of an ideal marketplace for domestically produced products in India that have hard time finding buyers. While the audiences are getting what they want, artists have received the right platform to expand their sales – making it a win-win situation.

Art market size and online demand:  The strength of the Indian art market is measured by taking into consideration two parameters i.e. the offline market size & demand and the online market size and demand.

The size of art market in India is vast, paintings alone comprise 99% of the total market. As found in the latest research, the Indian art market is thought to be worth anywhere between Rs. 1000-1200 crore. Whereas, a decade ago the art market was only worth Rs. 50 crore. These figures are that of the general offline art market. And as the Art market is a niche segment , it is really difficult to study and acquire the actual size. Given the complexity of traditional art where money exchanges have not been highly accounted for and  the fact that it is procured directly from a lot of individuals, the size is largely discounted. As there are several artists who are extremely talented and they never get to showcase their works either offline or at any forum, such artists choose an online platform. And the way they price their art makes it an inexpensive experience. This has definitely caught the attention of people who are either art lovers or hunting for affordable art. Thus, the demand for art online has risen substantially. This is attributed to both global and local art. If you look at the global market for art online, the market is expected to grow Year-on-Year at 20% from the current $2.6 billion in 2014 to $6.3 billion in 2019.

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Market projections and competition: As far as the  the number of orders for online art is concerned , it is largely irrelevant as art is still considered a luxury product. In certain cases, the orders are infrequent and there are huge variations in order sizes that could occur on a particular day. There are days when an online art portal does not get any order and then they get decent orders on some other day. With more awareness and availability, this number is only going one way from here – up. Also the kind of sales an online art marketplace expects to project in the coming year should be  quite decent  Aiming to cross 1000+ orders this fiscal year with a high ticket size per order will be the key. Further, the art industry in India is booming which leads to tough competition which is again a constant in every market. But the differentiating factor occurs only when one creates something unique. As the online art market is mainly about innovation, competition is sensed all around; one can’t really define or spot it. You never know when an extraordinary concept is just initiated. Additionally, positioning the art marketplace more towards experience of the customer is important and impactful which often leads to someone buying a piece. The platform must cater to both novices and connoisseurs, having various categories in the form of original arts, art prints, crafts, wall decals and customized works in order to be successful.It could be even more advantageous when large players like a Snapdeal or Amazon who could create awareness about art by extending their catalog & thereof. It will make this space even more interesting with more eyeballs being registered in this segment. Art is an ocean which needs to be similar to an IPL player. Online art market is playing a  vital role as the entry point for new art buyers.

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Cultural point of view: Keeping the cultural quotient intact, while our art market is evolving at a rapid pace, there is always something to ponder upon, primarily, ‘will the online art galleries dilute the essence of experiencing art in person?’ A lot of experiences that are currently online are working close to offline, it makes one believe that art is no different. With the evolution of technology and what it can offer the user in terms of experience and overall engagement and above all the reach factor – online is emerging as a very strong medium. Additionally, online art galleries act as a perfect foil for customer’s offline experience. Online medium could be considered as a very good vehicle for building the artist brand which becomes a very important factor in decision making. The beauty of Online Art Marketplaces lies in the fact that it is not restricted to the wealthy. As mentioned earlier that the artists onboard are of different caliber. Some are new but extremely talented and hence would display their works at an affordable range. This is definitely where the middle class and upper middle class can invest. The only challenge for an online medium is to build trust among new buyers and also create loyalty, it would make  buying art online a less intimidating affair.

Disclaimer: This is a guest post. The statements, opinions and data contained in these publications are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of iamWire and the editor(s).

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