Wednesday, December 19, 2007

why every starving artist should be listing on eBay

The statistics for eBay art sales are a bit confounding if you try to pinpoint exactly what in the art genre is selling and why. But if you can believe Lisa Suttor, Founder/CEO of eBay Certified Provider who yesterday sponsored a workshop on Unlocking the Potential of Your Business, there were 32 million unique visitors to eBay on December 2 & 9, 2007.

Even though online shopping is still considered in its infancy, on December 10, 2007, the highest figure in retail selling hit 880 million dollars in 24 hours. That's HIGHEST EVER! 880 million dollars and a significant jump from last year on December 13, 2006 when the market hit the 633 million dollar mark.

Elsewhere on the web, we picked up unconfirmed stats. Estimates are that 95 million users spend $894 per second and another estimate has the same users spending $92,000 a minute (i know, the math doesn't add). Did you know 10 million or more e-Bay bids are placed every day? Daily, 100,000 new people register on eBay to buy and or sell. Each day over 2 million new items are offered and one estimate placed over 2,000 bids made on art work alone every hour. Amazingly, this afternoon at lunch a mere 206,888 items were available for sale (using a search field of all art). There were over 6,000 photographs and over 8,000 sculpture pieces.

You know, 6,000 or something photographs divided by how many million users? Part of the reason e-Bay statistics are unknown is because art is not a commodity that can be fully regulated, and e-Bay features such as e-Bay stores capitalize on compounded or referral sales. Quotes on revenue are difficult to track. We know of no known data on buyer demographics, original versus reproduction sales, numbers of galleries, independents, auction houses, etc. that may be masking themselves with e-Bay's anonymous trade names. And anyone in the art world is very familiar with the resale market of art, so tracking true and unique sales is quite a challenge.

Some limited statistics for major international auction sales can be found in database publishers like, Gordon's Art Reference, or Art Sales Index to name a few. Surely, if you as a starving artist want to PAY someone to give you rough statistics on what sells, there are a myriad of online companies specializing in just that feature alone. Probably the best source to date is Art Price's "Art Market Trends."

eBay does offer helpful tips to those who are just starting out and they include: organization tips; price selling point tips; timely days/hours to post; ways to capitalize on potential offers; ways to list your item to attract the most visitors; and something we touched on briefly yesterday - using the data to propel your art business forward as business relationship intelligence.

If the exponential growth rate of eBay doesn't scream, "Hey you, get off your chair and let's get listing," then I don't know what will. Consider this. Not only do you stand a very good chance (given proper marketing, etc.) of selling on e-Bay for MORE than what you might via other commercial channels, but now eBay offers the seller an opportunity to donate to a charitable cause of their choice. So you can profit and the world profits with you. Ingenious.

Make no mistake, eBay takes time to master and it's not for the weak of heart. Artists and galleries have to dedicate time to grow a successful eBay business. When you consider the global market artists have at their hands and feet through the eBay portal, it's time well spent. And remember ... you are not too late, you didn't miss the boat. This week and next present an EXCELLENT window for you to gear up and get ready for a successful (no more starving) 2008.