The age-old adage, 'starving artist,' is gradually being replaced by 'thriving digital creator,' thanks to the plethora of online platforms that allow artists to showcase and sell their work to a global audience. These platforms have transformed the artistic landscape, enabling artists to generate sustainable income while maintaining complete control over their creative process.
However, with many options available, navigating the sea of online platforms and identifying the right one for your art can be daunting. This is why we've curated a list of the 15 best places to make money selling art online in 2023, considering factors such as audience reach, ease of use, cost-effectiveness, and how much control artists maintain over their work.
The surge in online art sales, which reached $6.8 billion in the first half of 2021, provides a significant opportunity for artists to sell their work globally.
Artists have a variety of platforms to choose from to sell their art, such as online marketplaces like Etsy, ecommerce platforms like Shopify, social media channels like Instagram, or their website.
Selecting the right platform depends on factors like the platform's reputation, user base, features, costs, and the artist's personal goals and preferences.
Gelato, the world's largest platform for local production of on-demand products, empowers artists to sell globally while producing locally in 34 countries, making international sales more feasible.
Selling art online is potentially profitable and can be faster and more accessible, even for beginners, as many platforms are free to use and offer tools to aid in visibility and discovery.
Over the past few years, the art world has experienced a major shift as many art collectors and enthusiasts have begun seeking and purchasing art online. The pandemic accelerated This growing trend, which drastically shifted consumer behavior toward digital platforms.
According to the Hiscox Online Art Trade Report 2021, the online art industry sales reached $6.8 billion in the first six months, a 72% increase from the previous year. With this trend showing no signs of slowing down, artists have an opportunity to reach a larger and more diverse audience than ever before.
The profitability of selling art online is no longer a myth but a reality for many artists. According to the Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report 2021, online sales of art and antiques doubled in value to a record high of $12.4 billion in 2020, accounting for an all-time high of 25% of the market's overall value, up from just 9% in 2019
Online platforms can provide artists with a higher profit margin than traditional galleries, which often take up to 50% in commission. For instance, many online art platforms only take a commission of 15% to 30%, leaving a greater share of the profits for the artists themselves.
Beyond the increased profitability, selling art online comes with numerous other advantages. Here are a few:
Global reach: Online platforms allow artists to sell artwork worldwide. This significantly increases the potential customer base, far beyond what could be achieved through a local gallery or art fair.
Control and flexibility: Artists maintain more control over their original artwork when selling online. They can choose how to present their work, set their prices, and create a schedule that works for them.
Visibility and discovery: Online platforms often have features that allow new work to be discovered by collectors, curators, and art enthusiasts. This can provide new opportunities and exposure for emerging artists.
Easy process: Selling art online eliminates the need for physical transportation, reducing both costs and risks. Additionally, artists can sell prints or digital copies of their work, providing potential for a passive income stream.
Selling art online has never been easier, thanks to the many available platforms. We’ve curated a list of the top 15 places to sell art online, so you can find the best fit for your work and reach a global audience. Let’s dive in.
Online marketplaces are platforms that connect sellers and buyers from around the world. These platforms handle transactions, marketing, and customer reach, making them ideal for artists who want to focus on their work and not worry about the logistics of selling.
Etsy has long been a leading platform for artists and crafters to sell their handmade goods. It's well-regarded for its community-focused approach and easy-to-use interface.
Costs and fees: Etsy charges a $0.20 listing fee per item and a 6.5% transaction fee on the sale price, including the shipping cost.
Benefits and features: Etsy's reputation as a platform for unique, handcrafted items attracts millions of customers. Additionally, sellers have the flexibility to manage their inventory and pricing.
Challenges and tips for success: It can be competitive due to the high number of sellers. Use SEO-friendly product descriptions and high-quality photos of your work to stand out.
eBay, the auction giant, offers artists the opportunity to sell their work to a massive international audience.
Costs and fees: eBay takes a 12.35% final value fee (including shipping costs) but offers 250 zero insertion fee listings per month.
Benefits and features: The auction format can lead to higher selling prices. eBay’s global presence provides a broad customer base.
Challenges and tips for success: Art can be lost amongst non-art items. Optimize your listings with accurate descriptions and consider the 'Buy It Now' options to ensure a minimum price.
Amazon Handmade caters to artisans selling handcrafted goods, including art, on the world's largest ecommerce platform.
Costs and fees: Amazon Handmade charges a 15% referral fee on the sale price, with a minimum fee of $1 per listing.
Benefits and features: Selling on Amazon Handmade means your work is available to Amazon's massive customer base.
Challenges and tips for success: Standing out can be challenging with so many products available. To succeed, offer prime shipping and use high-quality, engaging product images.
Society6 allows artists to sell prints of their work on various products, from art prints to phone cases.
Costs and fees: There's no cost to set up a shop, but Society6 determines the retail price of products. Artists set royalty rates for art prints, framed prints, and canvases.
Benefits and features: Society6 handles production, shipping, and customer service, leaving artists free to create.
Challenges and tips for success: As with any large platform, standing out can be tough. Regularly uploading new work and promoting your shop on social media can help.
Redbubble is a global online marketplace allowing artists to sell their designs on various products.
Costs and fees: There are no listing fees or upfront costs. Artists set their margins.
Benefits and features: Redbubble manages manufacturing and shipping. It also allows artists to retain rights to their work.
Challenges and tips for success: Differentiation is key with many artists on the platform. Use unique designs and regularly promote your work.
Fine Art America caters specifically to artists, allowing them to sell wall art, home decor, apparel, and more.
Costs and fees: A free option with limited features or a premium option at $30/year. Artists set their prices.
Benefits and features: Fine Art America provides a print on demand service, has a global audience, and offers a variety of products for artists to print their work on.
Challenges and tips for success: Staying active, uploading new work regularly, and promoting your work can help increase visibility.
Ecommerce platforms provide artists with the tools to create their online store, providing greater control over how their work is marketed and sold.
Shopify is a leading ecommerce platform that allows artists to set up their online stores.
Costs and fees: Shopify plans start at $29/month, plus transaction fees if not using Shopify Payments.
Key features and advantages: Shopify offers powerful customization options, analytics, and many apps to enhance your store.
Challenges and tips for success: It may require more hands-on work than an online marketplace. Consider investing in marketing and SEO to drive traffic to your store.
Wix is a popular website builder with robust ecommerce capabilities.
Costs and fees: Ecommerce plans start at $16/month, billed annually.
Key features and advantages: Wix offers a high level of customization, integrated SEO tools, and a range of ecommerce features.
Challenges and tips for success: As with any self-run online store, driving traffic can be challenging. Use social media and SEO strategies to attract potential customers.
Squarespace is a website builder known for its sleek, professional design templates, ideal for showcasing art.
Costs and fees: Business plans start at $18/month.
Key features and advantages: Squarespace offers attractive templates, integrated analytics, and a secure checkout process.
Challenges and tips for success: Optimize your site for SEO and use high-quality images to display your work.
BigCommerce is a comprehensive ecommerce platform suitable for larger operations.
Costs and fees: Plans start at $29.95/month, billed annually.
Key features and advantages: BigCommerce offers advanced marketing and SEO features, a range of integrations, and doesn’t charge transaction fees.
Challenges and tips for success: It may be more complex than other platforms. Use its advanced features to customize and optimize your store.
WooCommerce is a free, open-source ecommerce platform built for WordPress.
Costs and fees: The plugin is free, but additional costs may include web hosting, premium themes, and plugins.
Key features and advantages: WooCommerce offers extensive customization options, thousands of plugins, and integration with WordPress.
Challenges and tips for success: It requires more technical knowledge than other platforms. Consider hiring a developer if you're not tech-savvy.
Social media platforms have immense user bases, making them an attractive option for selling art online.
Pinterest is a visual search engine, making it a great platform for artists to showcase and sell their work.
Costs and fees: Posting on Pinterest is free, but promoted pins come at a cost.
Key features and advantages: Pinterest users often use the platform for inspiration and purchase ideas. High-quality images and SEO-optimized descriptions can increase visibility.
Challenges and tips for success: It may take time to build a following. Consistent pinning and engagement with other users can help grow your audience.
Instagram's visual nature and large user base make it a popular platform for artists to showcase and sell their work.
Costs and fees: Posting on Instagram is free, but sponsored posts come at a cost.
Key features and advantages: Instagram's shoppable posts feature allows users to purchase art directly from posts.
Challenges and tips for success: Building a following can take time. Engaging with the community, using relevant hashtags, and posting regularly can boost your profile.
With over 2.99 billion users, Facebook provides artists with a large potential audience for their art.
Costs and fees: Posting on Facebook and using the Marketplace is free. However, Facebook ads come at a cost.
Key features and advantages: Facebook's large user base and robust advertising options can increase your reach.
Challenges and tips for success: Organic reach can be limited. Consider using Facebook ads to reach a larger audience.
Creating your website gives you complete control over how you display and sell your art.
Costs and fees: Costs include shared website hosting (typically $3-$50/month), the domain name (around $10-$15/year), and possibly a website builder or ecommerce platform fee.
Key features and advantages: Complete control over branding, no direct competition, and potential for higher profit margins.
Challenges and tips for success: Driving traffic to a new website can be challenging. Use SEO, social media, and email marketing to attract potential buyers.
Choosing the right platform to sell your art can significantly impact your online success. Let's look at some of the key factors you should consider.
Choose a platform with a good reputation to attract dedicated art buyers. Look at the platform's history, reviews, and market standing to assess its reputation.
A larger user base equates to a wider potential audience for your art. Also, consider the platform's user type, e.g., Etsy draws people interested in unique handmade items, while Amazon caters to a broader audience.
Different platforms offer diverse features. Some handle printing and shipping, while others offer listing spaces. Choose a platform that satisfies your specific needs.
Understand the platform's fee structure, including listing fees, commissions, or monthly fees, and always calculate potential earnings after these costs.
The ideal platform aligns with your personal goals and preferences. For instance, if you aim to maximize sales, choose a large platform with a vast user base. Conversely, select a platform tailored towards independent artists to build a brand and connect with a particular audience.
In the digital era, selling your art globally has become an attainable goal for artists worldwide, thanks to platforms like Gelato. As the world's largest platform for local production of on-demand products, like t-shirts, mugs, and wall art, Gelato has revolutionized how artists can sell and distribute their work.
Gelato's platform empowers artists, creators, and brands to sell their digital art products worldwide and produce them locally in 34 countries, extending their reach to up to five billion potential consumers. This means your art can easily become a global sensation, all without the usual logistical hurdles associated with international shipping and distribution.
Moreover, Gelato integrates seamlessly with many ecommerce platforms and online marketplaces, including several we've mentioned in this article, such as Etsy, eBay, Amazon Handmade, Shopify, and WooCommerce. These integrations make it simple and convenient to leverage Gelato's capabilities, regardless of where you've chosen to sell your art.
So why not leap and harness the power of the global art market? Sign up for Gelato and let the world become your canvas. Start selling your art to customers around the world with Gelato today! Your journey to global recognition and success is just a click away
Selling art online can be profitable, with artists earning directly from sales and enjoying lower overhead costs than traditional galleries. Profits vary based on artwork price, platform fees, and the artist's reputation and marketing efforts.
Beginners can start selling art online by setting up a shop on platforms like Etsy or Shopify, creating a profile on art-focused platforms like Fine Art America, or using social media platforms. High-quality images, good descriptions, and active promotion are essential.
Several online platforms like Redbubble, Fine Art America, and social media channels allow you to list and sell your art for free. While these platforms might take a commission on sales, they generally do not require an upfront cost.
eBay, with its auction-style listings, can facilitate fast sales. However, fast sales also depend on the appeal of the artwork, the asking price, and the promotion efforts. If you have a considerable following, social media platforms can also facilitate quick sales.