Art business digitalisation and sustainability
9 Mar 2020, 12:55 pm
The digitalisation process is more than the obvious next step for any kind of business – including, here, businesses derived from the art market. This is also an essential step towards sustainability in a world in which the ecological debate takes center stage.
There are no doubts about the economic advantages of commercial or advertising digitalisation: in addition to facilitating the broadening of the reach of any message, they enable the measuring of results. Today, every investment made in online advertising, for example, can be measured and assessed through various digital tools. It is easy for advertising agencies or companies to be able to accurately compute the financial return on the investment they make in banners and digital ads across the most diverse channels.
Meanwhile, in addition to economic advantages, digitalisation also provides benefits for the future of planet Earth, as investing on digital communication is a great way to eliminate the need for printed material, thus reducing environmental impacts.
In an effort to reduce its ecological footprint, Christie’s – a major international auction house – is cutting in half all its production of printed material and considerably increasing investment in digital communication.
The ecological argument, of course, has its weight, but the auction house also realized that this is a very interesting strategy for business: after analysis, Christie’s found that 52% of the lots sold around the world were bought by people who didn’t even receive their printed catalogues. In live auctions, that number was even higher: 70% of buyers never put their hands on printed material. The explanation? Digital engagement.
New collectors are increasingly present in the digital sphere and at the same time less and less interested in printed materials. This new wave of collectors, belonging to the millennial generation, children of baby-boomer collectors accustomed to paper, prefer to check information and be impacted through their smartphones. All the information you need to evaluate the purchase of a work of art should be available at your fingertips on your cell phone screen, otherwise the next Instagram photo will look more interesting. In this battle, whoever manages to retain the attention of these new collectors in the most dynamic way wins.
Not only that, but whoever is better able to invest their advertising budget in an assertive way also wins: the costs saved from cuts in printed material, for example, should be reinvested in quality online advertising, with unique, relevant and unprecedented content, able to win a loyal audience.
This is the most assertive way of expanding the art business in a world that is increasingly connected and concerned with the future of the next generations. The investment in digitalisation offers an interesting direction for these two causes, as it is capable of deeply engaging a new group of buyers while embracing a sustainable discourse of paramount importance.
It is now up to art galleries, auction houses and all agents of the art world to align their communication strategies to aim at these two objectives: to promote the commercialization and production of artworks and to neutralize the impact on the world during this process.