This article is part of the Digital Art Series
For the past few years, I have always been passionate about creating art. It is not only a hobby, but I now look at it as a great way to fulfill my creative side, but also earn extra money.
While selling art at farmers markets and festivals can be a great way to connect with customers and showcase my work, there are challenges that come with this method of selling. The time, money and effort you need to spend to stock up the inventory for the audience you are expecting. In my trials, I have noticed that every market is different. The typically local audience may also look for different things based on the time of the year, weather or news happenings, and is challenging to guess the stock to carry. Setup time, sometimes driving long distances for the few hours to sell the work can be stressful and it can be difficult to make the event worth the time and effort. Finally, the fact that the potential customer base is limited (local audience) and it may take a long time to reach a wider audience.
The trend towards digital art is undeniable and it’s something that artists should pay attention to. The global digital art market is expected to grow significantly in the coming years, and with the rise of social media and online marketplaces, artists have access to a vast potential audience.
In a blog post by Tifa ONG on Bitcatcha.com she nailed the summary of for artists and creators:
Why Sell Digital Art?
- Low barrier of entry – The cost to start selling digital products is usually much lower compared to physical goods. Unlike physical products, you don’t have to pay for warehousing, manufacturing, shipping, and so on.
- No need to ship or stock your product – The digital products literally sit on the internet, available for download an infinite number of times.
- Easy to diversify your product line & scale your business – Just add in more digital products, and your customers can buy them instantly.
- 4.66 billion people are your prospects Instead of marketing to the local community, you could open up to 59.5% of the population at once!
I have come to realize that there is a growing demand for digital art, and I want to start focusing on selling my art digitally in 2023.
Customers are going digital…
The trend of buyers purchasing digital art and printing it themselves is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. With the increasing affordability and accessibility of high-quality at-home printing technology together with the many local print shops and online service providers that can print large print formats on posters, canvas, metal affordably this trend is likely to continue to grow in popularity. This translates into the fact that digital art is more convenient and cost-effective than purchasing traditional art.
With digital art, customers can easily change the size, color or format of the art to fit their space and preferences. This allows for more customization and personalization of the art, making it more appealing to buyers.
The younger generation, Generation Z (Gen Z or zoomers), is one of the main driving forces behind the growth of the digital art market. According to a report by Artsy, an online art marketplace, Gen Z is more likely to buy art online than any other generation and is more likely to buy digital art than traditional art. The reasons for tendency can be summarized in the following:
- They are the first generation to grow up with technology as a fundamental part of their daily lives. They are more comfortable with digital platforms, and they are more likely to discover and engage with art through digital channels.
- They values individuality and self-expression, which aligns with the flexibility and customization that digital art offers. They appreciate the ability to personalize and adapt digital art to fit their unique tastes and spaces.
- They are considered more environmentally conscious, and they prefer to have digital art instead of traditional art as it doesn’t require physical materials and transportation, which is more sustainable.
Another larger key benefit to customers of all ages, is the fact that they have options, can print themselves to the size and style they want, and is much less expensive. Online marketplaces such as Redbubble, Creative Marketplace and Etsy provide end-users with an excellent and easy to use platform to buy digital art from artists worldwide.
Wider audience, more flexibility, and larger inventory.
One of the main reasons I want to start selling my art digitally is that it opens up a whole new market for me. With digital art, I can reach a global audience, rather than being limited to just the people who can physically visit my gallery, market or festival I am presenting. This means that I can sell my art to people in different countries and even different continents, which is incredibly exciting. With digital art, anyone with an internet connection can view and purchase my work.
From the artist point of view, offering digital art online you are exposed to a far wider audience and your offers can be far faster and flexible than preparing and targeting a specific marketplace or festival.
- Artists can reach customers all over the world and it’s possible to have your art always available (24x7x365) for purchase. It also allows to combine your efforts better using your own website, social media platforms or use online marketplaces to sell your art.
- Selling online allows me to have more control over pricing and inventory. I can easily adjust prices and update their inventory as needed.
- Instead of having to rely on a gallery to sell my work, I can sell my art directly to my customers through online marketplaces and ultimately build a direct relationship with my customers.
What is the challenge ahead in this not so new space?
When it comes down to challenges with this approach, I can see three ahead: Standing out, Learn to promote and pricing mindset.
Standing out and promoting
As with the traditional approach, standing out in the sea of other artists and making your work visible to potential customers is not a new one. First, your art needs to speak to an audience. You either be proactive to find the audience or wait for the audience finds you. Selling online, is all about being proactive with your listings and promoting with the right words (keywords), gathering help from your friends on social media and perhaps push it with a little advertising. Promoting your art can be challenging, especially in a crowded and competitive market. Three key pillars to every successful business are:
Building a strong online presence and creating a personal brand. Make sure your website, social media accounts, and online marketplaces have the same branding and convey your desired style.
Post regularly so people see you are a working artist: regularly posting updates, behind the scenes, and process of your art, you can attract an audience and build a relationship with them.
Understanding the interests and preferences of your target audience so you can target pieces that will appeal to them and promote it to them directly. However, and this is important, stay true to your art and passion!
Side note: Promote your digital art is through collaborations and partnerships is a common practice that has helped many artists. By working with other artists, designers, and influencers, you can reach a wider audience and gain exposure faster to new potential customers.
Pricing your digital art.
This is probably the most difficult piece of making the switch from traditional art to digital art sales.
You are not selling the pieces one at the time, but you are selling the same piece many times over and over again.
You may offer different formats and sizes of your art and setting a variety of prices. This can help you to reach a wider range of customers and increase your chances of making a sale.
It’s important to find the right balance between making a profit and making your art accessible to a wider audience. Experiment and change things if they are not working!
I am totally excited about the opportunities of selling art digitally. I believe that this is the right move for my art in 2023.
Where am I going to sell my Art?
I had to choose a marketplace platform to start with and learn, learn and learn!!
That platform for me in 2023 is: Etsy.com
Etsy is the go-to online marketplace for handmade, vintage items, crafting supplies, but over hte past year has become the leading digital art marketplace. As if November 2022, Etsy connects 4.36 million active sellers with an estimated 90 million active buyers per month ( WOW! )
- Online art market – statistics & facts | Statista
- So You Want to Sell Your Art? Here Are 6 Online Platforms Looking to Help Emerging Artists Make a Buck | Artnet News
- Digital dominance: are sites like Artsy the only future for the art market? (thenationalnews.com)
- A report by Artnet, an online art market platform, indicates that digital art sales have grown by more than 200% in the last three years, with a significant portion of sales coming from the self-printing market, with the number of searches for digital art on the platform increasing by 200%.
- According to a report by the Art Market Research Group, the global digital art market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 15.2% from 2020 to 2027. This is a significant increase and is a clear indication that digital art is becoming increasingly popular and in demand.
- 11 Profitable Digital Products to Sell Online in 2023 (bitcatcha.com)
- Etsy.com by the numbers (Statistics)