Art collecting’s reputation has historically been that it is only accessible for the ultra-rich and ultra-connected. However, Platform, a new e-commerce destination backed by world-famous contemporary art gallerist David Zwirner, is changing that narrative by making it as easy for anyone to buy great art as it is to buy an iPad.
“There are so many people who care about culture and aesthetics but have never bought art before,” Bettina Huang, General Manager and Head of Platform, noted. “In introducing them to art buying, there are a lot of hurdles to overcome. The first is that people want to be able to purchase anything—whether it’s a book, a Tesla, or art—without being judged by a salesperson and from the comfort of their own homes, so we made a great e-commerce site for art.”
And the opportunity is gigantic: Online art sales grew during the pandemic, reaching a record $12.4 billion in 2020 and doubling in value from the prior year, according to the annual Art Market Report by UBS and Art Basel. For galleries, their online sales tripled, thanks mainly to partners like Platform helping them scale e-commerce offerings efficiently.
Indeed, behind the scenes, Platform is a marketplace business that partners with top independent galleries known for representing great young artists. What differentiates Platform from competitors is its attention to offering only the most sought-after art, paired with its completely open approach to selling, foregoing the vetting, negotiation processes, and insider access the galleries or auction houses of the traditional art world demand. The result is that more than half of Platform’s customers are new to buying art, opening the industry to a new generation.
“Seasoned and new buyers alike have to know they are spending money on good art,” said Huang. “We select art extremely carefully in collaboration with the David Zwirner gallery so we can always give customers the confidence they are spending their hard-earned dollars on the most culturally relevant and sought-after young artists. We want people to feel excited and confident about investing in works from Platform.”
Now, Platform is not only making fine art accessible through online shopping, it is enabling greater affordability with Klarna’s interest-free alternative payment solutions. “We made a point of ensuring Platform offers the same tools people are familiar with when purchasing their newest Apple gadget or a new dress on Farfetch. Klarna, as a product and a brand, helps solve the affordability challenge, and customers trust it because of its many great brand partners.”
Platform is creating an inflection point in the art industry, making what was once only available to art world insiders, accessible to anyone. By partnering with Klarna, people who have never purchased art before—and existing art collectors—can buy art in a way that was never possible before. This creates new opportunities for investment in the future. “Alternative payment options like Klarna are now the status quo for retailers,” Huang said, “and we’re proud to usher this important innovation into the fine art industry.”