BY OLYVIA KWOK DECANI | Founder of Willscape Partners
Modern advancements in digital and online technology are changing the art market. Online events are becoming more popular than ever as they can be accessed by anyone from anywhere. By simply opening a screen, people are able to instantly access desired products and services from all around the world, which makes it easier than ever to engage with your artistic interests.
The art market is no exception to this trend. Over the past few years it has been strengthening its online presence, and despite an overall decline in sales, the online trade is actually at a record high, doubling in value from two years ago. It is therefore reasonable to expect further substantial growth in this sector.
At the heart of this online art world are OVRs. In this article we will take a look at how OVRs are influencing the art market right now as well as what to expect in the foreseeable future.
What is an ‘OVR’?
Before going into how OVRs are shaping the art world it’s important to understand what they are. An OVR is an Online Viewing Room that allows art enthusiasts to participate in events through their computer screens. OVRs transmit galleries and events to art lovers through live feed which can be viewed from anywhere in the world!
This technology means that collectors can view the latest pieces of art without having to travel, making it easy to keep an eye for potential deals and stay ahead of the fast moving industry. OVRs were particularly useful during COVID-19 pandemic, when people couldn’t attend face-to-face events. Online viewings meant that the art market could continue to function and exhibit art, despite lockdown restrictions. Although many events were cancelled, a study showed 41% of High-Net-Worth individuals made a purchase at a fair in 2020, while 45% bought work through an online viewing room.
The benefits of OVRs in the art world
There are many benefits to using OVRs but in general, they offer easier access and make events more practical for enthusiasts to attend. This technology allows to broadcast artworks to a much wider audience which makes the industry more appealing.
OVRs enable art to travel across the world, without ever leaving the studio! This increases the number of potential collectors and buyers that will be able to view new pieces. Global reach also means that the industry can tap into a wider range of cultures and take new ideas from countries around the world.
OVRs have allowed online art sales to soar! In today’s world, online shopping is the preferred way to buy new things – whether that be new shoes or new pieces of art. This is largely due to the fact that purchasing online is much more convenient than going to a shop, store or a gallery. The ability to buy art online has allowed the industry to stay afloat during the pandemic.
OVR displays can be changed easily and updated at any time. This means that viewers can easily stay on track with the latest works and view updated displays as regularly as they would like. OVRs also mean that collectors can shop a larger range of artwork in each display. However, some argue that this takes away from the exclusivity of art shows which could mean that some enthusiasts still wish to attend face-to-face shows instead.
What are the downsides of OVRs?
While OVRs may be practical, many enthusiasts claim that the online viewing platforms don’t provide the full gallery experience, and this is their main drawback. Physical art shows allow enthusiasts to network with new people, discuss and see the art in real life before making a decision to buy. Therefore, it could be argued that OVRs could take away from the essence of art shows.
Will OVRs continue to rise?
OVRs are likely to play a significant role in future art sales. This is because the online viewing platforms bring a number of benefits to consumers. However, the interactive aspect of viewing art cannot be fully replaced by OVRs, so expect a hybrid between the physical and the digital art world.
Olyvia Kwok Decani has been collecting and investing in art for over 15 years. After graduating from Queen Mary’s University in 2002 with a degree in Statistics, she opened her first gallery in St. James’s London. Olyvia went on to create an art fund for a private bank in Switzerland and continued to utilize her knowledge of emerging markets, sourcing works from China, Japan, and Korea. With years of experience, alongside in-depth knowledge of the art market and an extensive global network, Olyvia continues to be one of the most prestigious and successful individuals in the industry. Her business, Willscape Management provides clients with expert perspectives and in-depth art knowledge in order to help them make a decision in confidence. They specialize in services ranging from finance and acquisition to portfolio management and art valuation. Their dedicated team of experts identify, value, and offer guidance on artworks of various time periods and movements.
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