I was intrigued by how much art is being sold in this way - and how much art was being sold online. I also thought others might also be interested - particularly those attempting to sell their art online.
Consequently the poll this last month has attempted to size the level of sales via websites or blog. It asked the question MaM Poll: How much art have you sold via your blog or website?
68 people responded to the poll - and there's no way of knowing whether these are the same people who replied to the poll back in August - but it's a reasonable assumption that there may be a fair degree of overlap.
This is what they said. In the last year, sales via websites and blogs were as follows
- 25 items and more were sold by 12% of respondents. Only 3% sold more than 100 items
- 20% of artists sold between 5 and 25 items
- slightly less than 20% sold less than 5 items
- 24% tried to sell - but had no success
- 25% didn't try to sell
- nearly 50% of those responded failed to generate any income from their website or blog
- half because they didn't try and
- half because they didn't succeed.
- 51% generated income through sales via their website or blog. Of these:
- 37% sold 5 items or less
- only 5% of those who sold were achieving regular sales via their website or blog.
A lot of people are not achieving any sales income from their art, either through choice or because they're not putting work which is likely to attract a sale in front of the customer in the right sort of way.
People who haven't achieved sales are safe in the knowledge that they've got a lot of company! On the other hand if you're not selling, there's probably scope for improvement - either in terms of the art your produce or the way you try and market it.
A very, very few people are very good at selling their artwork online. However, based on current practices it's unlikely that most people will be able to emulate their success.
The people who are achieving regular sales via website or blog may be very few in number but they're obviously doing something right.
The BIG question I GUESS is whether it is quality of artwork, quality of their marketing and sales process - or both? For those wanting to emulate the sales, it's probably well worthwhile to study those who sell well to work out what makes a difference.
Scope for improvement
For my part, based on my own observation, I'd say the some of key characteristics of those who sell well are as follows. Most have more than one or two of the following.
- they were 'leaders' in the field - obvious examples for the painting a day phenomenum being Duane Keiser and Julian Merrow Smith.
- their work is unique, recognisable in style/genre and consistent. Bottom line it doesn't look like anybody else I see online. For example, I can always tell Carol Marine or a Karin Jurick!
- they may have a 'unique selling point' - nobody else is doing what they're doing - there may be other artists sending postcards but nobody else is doing it from Provence.
- they take care about the way they present their work - it may be online but it's wholly professional
- they take care over the whole transaction
- they remain alert to the possibilities offered by changes in digital technology - with Duane leading the field on this one in my opinion.
What do you think are the main ways in which artists can improve their chances of selling their art online.
Do you think in the current climate for retail sales, artists now need to be approaching sales of artwork online in a different way?