This analysis of the October 2019 Frieze Contemporary in New York is available to AMMpro subscribers. Monthly subscriptions begin with the first month free. Feel free to subscribe and cancel before you are billed.
The Frieze auctions were down a little under 12% from 2018. That's a meaningful drop but hardly the dramatic fall that talk of Brexit and an uncertain art market would suggest. That 12% drop came mostly from the fall in the average price level. There were approximately the same number of works offered in 2018 and 2019 with a slightly lower sell through rate this year: 86% in 2018; 83% in 2019.
The average price for 2018 was £424k; in 2019, the average price was £380.144. That's a 10% drop.
That's not necessarily bad news. These numbers suggest, along with other market factors, that the lower price points are strengthening, not weakening, and the market is building a broader base of buying. That broader base is good news for the auction houses who make better margins from the cheaper lots and better news for the market participants. It suggests a greater distribution of buying activity (although that is not verifiable from the publicly available numbers.)
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