The Economist spent some time with Clare McAndrew’s report on the worldwide art market that TEFAF commissioned. They focus on the growth of China in the worldwide art trade but, as an aside, the Economist puts its finger on what may be the most interesting statistic in the report. That’s McAndrew’s estimate that auction makes up as much as 45% of the art trade. Most guesstimates put the auction market at a much smaller portion of global art sales:
Selling art at auction makes up about 45% of the art trade by value, according to Ms McAndrew, and is the basis for a considerable amount of analysis of the art market because much auction-sale data is publicly available. However, Ms MacAndrew who polled some 4,000 auction houses and 5,000 dealers worldwide as part of her research, has uncovered some details that present a slightly different picture. Auction houses were more badly affected by the market downturn than dealers, with sales in 2009 dropping by 46% from the peak two years earlier.
How China Bucks the Trend (The Economist)