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User participation and valuation in digital art platforms: the case of Saatchi Art

Lee, Jin Woo, Lee, Soo Hee (2019) User participation and valuation in digital art platforms: the case of Saatchi Art. European Journal of Marketing, 53 (6). pp. 1125-1151. ISSN 0309-0566. (doi:10.1108/EJM-12-2016-0788) (KAR id:68476)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of digital platforms on the contemporary visual art market. Drawing on the theoretical insights of the technology acceptance model, the meaning transfer model and arts marketing literature, the authors conceptualise the role of user participation in creating the meaning and value of contemporary artworks in the online art market.

Design/Methodology/Approach: The authors conduct a qualitative study of Saatchi Art as an instrumental case for theorising. It is an online platform for trading visual artworks created by young and emerging artists. The data for this study were collected through direct observation and documentary reviews, as well as user comments and buyer reviews from Saatchi Art. The authors reviewed 319 buyer comments Art and 30 user comments. The collected data are supplemented with various secondary sources such as newspapers, magazines, social media texts and videos.

Findings: The growth of digital art platforms such as Saatchi Art provides efficiency and accessibility of information to users while helping them overcome the impediments of physical galleries such as geographical constraints and intimidating psychological environments, thereby attracting novice collectors. However, users’ involvement in the process of valuing artworks is limited and still guided by curatorial direction.

Research Limitations/Implications: The first limitation of this research is that the data in this research cannot capture interactions between users, though users’ intention to use Saatchi Art is affected by the social influence of other users. Second, this research has not examined artists as users of digital art platforms and their interactions with other types of users. Artists’ intention to use the online platform might be underlined by enhancing their status in the peer group or seeking legitimacy in the field by following other artists and getting recommendations from important referents.

Practical Implications: The outcomes of this research suggest that newcomers in the online art market should acknowledge that users’ intention to use the online art platform is determined by not only technological usefulness of the website but also the symbolic capital of the information provider.

Originality/Value: User participation in the online art market is guided by curatorial direction rather than social influence. This confirms re-intermediation of marketing relationships, highlighting the role of new intermediaries such as digital platforms in arts marketing.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1108/EJM-12-2016-0788
Uncontrolled keywords: technology acceptance model, meaning transfer model, online art market, young and emerging artists, user participation
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Kent Business School - Division > Department of Leadership and Management
Depositing User: Soo Hee Lee
Date Deposited: 02 Aug 2018 08:16 UTC
Last Modified: 28 Jul 2022 22:08 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Lee, Jin Woo.

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Lee, Soo Hee.

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