Although all three editions of Art Basel have been canceled this year because of the pandemic, the fair has released its first mid-year UBS Global Art Market Report. The report, written in partnership with art economist Clare McAndrew, suggests that Covid-19 has significantly impacted the market—though not always in negative ways.
According to the report, sales have dropped overall across the global gallery sector since the pandemic began six months ago. But high net worth collectors that were surveyed for the report said they were more interested in collecting in spite of all this, and the online sector is growing as auction houses and galleries have moved their offerings digital.
The report also issues predictions for the future of the global economy. Claiming that pandemics tend to drive “xenophobia, populism, and protectionism,” the report envisions that markets across various industries will become less global.
The survey used data from 795 galleries and analyzed the collecting habits of 360 high-net-worth individuals across the U.S, the U.K., Europe, and Asia. According to the report, galleries reported sales have fallen by 36 percent in the first half of 2020, compared to the equivalent period in 2019, though the report does not provide an estimated total. According to their annual report published in February, sales in dealer sector were estimated to have reached $36.8 billion in 2019.
The gallery sector has been hit hard by the contraction in sales volume, leading to staff furloughs and layoffs at enterprises of all sizes. Of the dealers surveyed, one third reported staff downsizing. Smaller galleries with annual turnover between $250,000 and $500,000 saw the largest share of staff cuts, with roughly 38 percent reporting that they had shrunk their workforces.Continue Reading