Art Basel HK Compete With TEFAF By Introducing Global Art Market Report

Art Basel along with partners UBS have launched the first Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report. The report now goes head to head with the TEFAF report published recently during the Maastricht fair (Read TEFAF Report). The Art Market 2017 analyses today’s international art market. Written by renowned cultural economist Dr Clare McAndrew, Founder of Arts Economics, the report covers macroeconomic trends within the industry, spanning the dealer and auction markets as well as the online sphere. The full report is free to download as of today on the Art Basel website. 

“As the industry grows larger and more globalised, it becomes ever-more important to add granular data into our thinking”

A continuation of Dr Clare McAndrew’s extensive research into this field, the report begins with a discussion of estimated global sales, including the key benchmark statistics on global transaction values, volumes and geographic market shares. It then continues in successive chapters by analysing the dealer and auction segments, online sales, art sectors (by periods), as well as global wealth trends and economic impact metrics. This new report places a large emphasis on the gallery sector, covering areas such as primary versus secondary sales, profitability, debt, exhibitions and art fairs.

The Information in a nutshell

Globally: The art market achieved total sales of an estimated $56.6 billion in 2016, down 11% from 2015.

Leading Markets: The top three markets – Unites States, United Kingdom and China – cemented their dominant position in the global art market in 2016, with a combined 81% of estimated sales by value. Despite a substantial decline in sales, the United States was again the largest market by value with an estimated market share of 40%. The United Kingdom was the second largest with 21%, followed by China with 20%.

“An uplift in gallery sales prevented a deeper decline in sales overall, with dealers gaining share of the global art trade.”

Dealer Figures: In 2016, there was a slight increase in sales in the dealer sector – up 3% year-on-year to an estimated $32.5 billion.

Auction Figures: The value of sales at public auctions declined 26% year-on-year, reaching on aggregate an estimated $22.1 billion.  – Leading Auction Market: Due to the fall in United States auction sales and relatively stable performance in China, the Chinese market led the auction sector with 34% of sales by value. – Private – Auction Sales: All of the top-tier auction houses engaged in private sales, and these rose in 2016 to a weighted average share of 16% of their turnover. – Art Sectors: The largest sector of the public fine art auction market in 2016 was Post-War and Contemporary art, accounting for 52% of the market by value and 37% of transactions.

Online Sales: Sales of art and antiques online were estimated to have reached $4.9 billion in 2016, an increase of 4% year-on-year and accounting for almost 9% of the global art and antique market by value.

Art Basel Release New Global Art Market Report

Download Report Here

Art Fairs in the Global Art Market: Art fairs continue to be a central part of the global art market, with aggregate sales estimated to reach $13.3 billion in 2016, up 5% year-on-year and an increase of 57% since 2010. Art fairs accounted for estimated 41% of dealer sales in 2016.

Due to the complex nature of the art and antique market, data included in the report had to be collected and studied from a range of different sources. All of the data is gathered and analysed directly by Arts Economics from dealers, auction houses, art and antique collectors, art price databases, financial and economic databases, industry experts and others involved in the art trade. The auction data included was sourced from Collectrium, Art Market Monitor of Artron and directly from auction houses.

To compile data on the dealer sector, Arts Economics sent an anonymous online survey of approximately 6,500 dealers from the Unites States, Europe, Asia, Africa and South America in 2017 with a participation rate of 17% (or just over 1,100 dealers). This was supplemented by a series of interviews with dealers in different sectors and countries to gain important in-depth insights on the art market. Exhibition data was sourced from, whose database contains information from 750,000 exhibitions, and over 30,000 galleries, museums, and art fairs providing an authoritative record of exhibitions. Research on the online sector was informed by a survey of 50 businesses selling art and antiques online, supplemented by one-on-one interviews.

In collaboration with UBS and its Chief Investment Office, Clare McAndrew and her team were also able to gather fresh insights on the collecting behaviour of US-based high net worth Individuals. The survey conducted for the report found that an estimated 1.1 million high net worth individuals in the US had purchased works of art or antiques in the last two years, with 12% having spent over $50,000 in the global market in that period, and 3% spending over $1 million.

Clare McAndrew, Founder, Arts Economics said: “2016 was a challenging year for the art market with uneven performance across regions and sectors. An uplift in gallery sales prevented a deeper decline in sales overall, with dealers gaining share of the global art trade. However, even within this sector, performance differed between segments, with the best results reported for dealers operating at the high end of the market. Auction sales experienced a steep drop in value in 2016 and unlike previous years, it was the highest end – sales over $10 million – that suffered the greatest decline.”

Marc Spiegler, Global Director, Art Basel said: “As the industry grows larger and more globalised, it becomes ever-more important to add granular data into our thinking, combining it with personal experiences in forming our views on the art world and its potential futures. Clare McAndrew’s report has taken a strong step in that direction, widening her research and focus, so we are very proud to support the continuation of her in-depth analysis.”


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