Most galleries that survived the great recession have made their way by selling work with a telephone, email, and the internet. In 2011, 3% of fine art sales transactions took place through the internet. In 2012 this number jumped to 13%. Results for 2013 aren't in yet and if they're good you may not hear about it. An astute observer may notice it but competitive advantage will keep, and has kept, most dealers mouths closed. As the art buyers habits change the sellers will surely follow.
In an age when you can get nearly anything the internet, legal or illicit, the world of art has remained a hold out for a long time. The art openings, the art shows, art fairs, workshops, and all the associated art happenings that involve human interaction will continue as long as there are people who want to go. It's been difficult for many people to let go of. Conversations about art, collections, and opinions in homes, institutional collections, and internet forums will continue as well. People and their opinions will stick around. There's no doubt about that. This is a good sign. It shows that art has a function in the world.
Recent press is showing signs of easing on the old ways of selling art. The following two quotes are from an article published in the New York Times entitled "Art Collections a Click Away":
"When Judy DeFord, a retired high school art teacher in Seattle, received an e-mail from Catherine Person Gallery recently, she saw a familiar name on its list of artists. It was a former student of hers, Allyce Wood. “I thought, ‘Great!,’ and I decided to make a purchase,” Ms. DeFord said.
But instead of making the 10-minute trip to the gallery, she logged onto Amazon Art, a fine-arts and collectibles category that Amazon introduced on Aug. 6. She clicked on images by Ms. Wood, selected a pen-and-ink drawing of an unearthed plant root titled “Excavated” and, with a few clicks of the mouse, bought it for $160.
“I bought it through Amazon because it was quick and easy,” she said."
"The online activity reflects a shift in consumer behavior. Increasingly, buyers have shown a willingness to select art online and pay for it online, too, without ever seeing the original work."
Just like online dating, people feel confident in the information they're getting off the internet and the level of trust is only growing. It wasn't 10 years ago that most people thought twice about putting a credit card number through a website out of fear that they would have their identity and their money stolen.
The times have changed. You can see how buying art has changed in the ARTCHAUCER artgallery on Amazon Art.