Clare McAndrew’s art market report has been released (click on image above or go here to download) with these highlights. McAndrew says the market continues to concentrate value at the top with sales below $1m contracting while those above $10m are expanding. McAndrew estimates the global art market is $63.7 billion with dealers holding a slight edge over auction houses 53/47 in terms of market share by value. However, galleries are closing at a greater rate than new ones are opening.
McAndrew’s report has suffered in the past from relying upon questionnaires sent to dealers. Working with Art Basel and UBS, there’s some reason to believe she has better access to dealer and collector information. Nonetheless, much of her information comes from private sources and is voluntarily given without verification which should be taken into account when relying upon these numbers.
Here are some of the highlights from the report:
- Global Sales: Following two years of declining sales, in 2017 the market turned a corner with increasing sales in both the dealer and auction sector. The art market achieved total sales of an estimated $63.7 billion in 2017, an increase of 12% on 2016. The volume of sales (number of transactions) grew more moderately than values, at 8% year-on-year. In 2017, aggregate sales by dealers accounted for a larger share of the market, at 53% by value, with total auction sales accounting for 47%.
- Dealer Figures: Sales in the dealer sector increased 4% year-on-year to an estimated $33.7 billion, compared to an estimated $32.5 billion in 2016.
- Art Fairs: Art fairs continue to be a central part of the global art market, with aggregate sales estimated to reach $15.5 billion in 2017, up 17% year-on-year. Art fairs accounted for estimated 46% of dealer sales in 2017, up 5% year-on-year – with on average five fairs attended in 2017.
- Online Sales: The online art market reached an estimated new high of $5.4 billion in 2017. This represents 8% of the value of global sales – a 10% year-on-year increase, and up 72% over the last five years. Online sales have been a key method to access new buyers, with dealers reported that 45% of their online buyers were new to their businesses in 2017. Auction houses also view online sales as key way to generate new buyers, with 41% of those buying online at second tier auction houses were new buyers, while in top-tier houses they averaged over 40%.
- Gallery Openings and Closures: The ratio of gallery openings to closures in 2007 was over 5:1 and has declined rapidly since then, dropping to 0.9:1 in 2017, that is, more closures than openings. Gallery openings have declined steadily over the last decade, with the number of new galleries established in 2017 around 87% less than in 2007.
- Auction Figures: Sales at public auction of fine and decorative art and antiques reached $28.5 billion in 2017, up 27% year-on-year. From 2007 to 2017, besides the very lowest end of the market (works sold for less than $1,000), all segments up to $1 million have shown negative annual growth rates and declined in value. In contrast, the market over $1 million has grown, with the biggest increases at the very highest end, with the total value of works sold for over $10 million increasing by 148% over ten years, and by 125% year-on-year in 2017.
- Auction Figures by Collecting Category: Sales of Post War and Contemporary art reached a total of $6.2 billion in 2017, increasing 12% year-on-year. The Modern art sector increased 39% to reach $3.6 billion. Values in the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist sector rose 71% to $2.3 billion, while sales in the wider Old Master market reached under $1.3 billion. Sales in the European Old Masters sector rose 64% year-on-year to reach $977 million, exceeding their previous peak of ten years ago in 2007 (at $906 million). However, this uplift was due to the sale of the Leonardo da Vinci painting ‘Salvator Mundi’ for $450 million at Christie’s in the United States, without which sales would have actually fallen 11%.
- Leading Markets: The top three markets – United States, China and United Kingdom – further cemented their position in the market in 2017, accounting for 83% of total sales by value, up 2% from 2016. The United States was again the largest market by value with an estimated market share of 42%. China overtook the United Kingdom in 2017 at 21% of total sales with the United Kingdom falling to 20%.