Clare McAndrew’s market report which is based on auction sales and the responses of 840 or so dealers to an online questionnaire is out.
The 2016 TEFAF Art Market Report shows that global sales fell 7% during 2015 from $68.2bn to $63.8bn and the volume of sales declined by 2% to 38.1 million.
Although the global sales figure fell in 2015, sales in the US rose by 4% to their highest ever total of $27.3bn confirming its position as the global market leader, with a 43% share of total sales values.
The UK, in second place, had a 21% share and China accounted for 19% by value.
The market remained dominated by value at the high end. Works sold for over $1m accounted for the majority of value in fine art auction sales (57%) during 2015, despite representing less than 1% of all transactions.
Sales at this level continued to be generated by a tiny fraction (1%) of all artists selling work at auction, as the focus of many high-end collectors continued to be centred on a narrow group of artists.
Private sales by dealers and other agents accounted for 53% of the total market by value, with sales at auction accounting for 47%. Furthermore, dealers estimated that 40% of their sales on average were made at art fairs in 2015.
In 2015, sales of art online, which included online sales by traditional off-line dealers and auction houses, were estimated to have reached $4.7 billion or 7% of the global market by value.
Post War and Contemporary Art, which accounted for 46% of the market by value and 41% of transactions.
Following two years of significant growth, however, sales at auction fell by 14% to $6.8 billion with a 20% drop in the number of transactions.
Sales of Modern art did relatively better. The sector fell by 1% to $4.5bn although the number of transactions declined by 20%. This sector accounted for 30% of the fine art auction market by value and 27% by volume.
Sales at auction of European Old Masters showed a moderate increase of 4% by volume, although sales values fell by 33%. European Old Masters accounted for 6% of lots sold and 4% of fine art sales at auction.
The global art trade spent an estimated $17.8 billion on a range of external support services directly linked to their businesses, with spending increasing 3% year-on-year despite the decline in sales in the art market.
In 2015 there were just over 310,400 businesses operating in the global art and antiques market.
The global markets supported jobs for over 3.2 million people in auction houses, galleries, dealers and a range of external support services that are directly linked to the art market.