The Art market report 2018 by Art Basel & UBS with the Clare McAndrew’s direction has been just released. Let’s look at the Key findings:


A Global view 

1. Sales in the global art market reached $63.7 billion in 2017, up 12% from 2016.

2. The volume of sales (number of transactions) grew more moderately than values, at 8% year-on-year.

3. Aggregate sales by dealers accounted for a larger share of the market ( at 53% )  VS  auction sales accounting for 47% (up 4% from 2016).

4. The three largest markets of the US, China and the UK accounted for 83% of total global sales by value.

5. The US was the largest market worldwide ( 42% of sales by value) with China in second place (21%) and the UK the third largest market with 20%.

6. Sales in the major art markets all advanced year-on-year in 2017: in the US by 16% to $26.6 billion; in China by 14% to $13.2 billion; and in the UK by 8% to $12.9 billion.





1. Dealer sales in 2017 reached an estimated $33.7 billion (up 4% year-on-year)

2. Dealers with turnover below $500,000 saw a decline in sales on average of 4%, the second year of losses in this segment. VS Dealers at the very highest end (sales over $50 million), sales growth was strongest at 10%, although this was only around half the growth rate reported for this segment in 2016.

3. The number of gallery closures has varied considerably, peaking in 2009 and falling in recent years. Gallery openings have declined steadily over the last decade, with the number of new galleries established in 2017 around – 87% than in 2007. However, while the ratio of gallery openings to closures in 2007 was 5:1, this has declined rapidly since then, dropping to 0.9:1 in 2017, that is, more closures than openings.

4. According to the dealer survey, the three biggest issues facing dealers in 2018 are: finding new buyers; the economy / demand for art and antiques; and participation at fairs.



1. Sales at public auction of fine and decorative art and antiques reached $28.5 billion in 2017 ( + 27% year-on-year)

2. The US and China dominated auction sales with a combined 68% share (the US with 35% of sales, China 33%, and the UK 16%).

3. From 2007 to 2017, nearly all segments up to $1 million declined in value, whereas the market for works priced over $1 million grew = The biggest increases were at the very highest end, with the value of sales of works sold for over $10 million increasing by 148% over ten years, and 125% year-on-year in 2017.

4. Post War and Contemporary art is the largest sector by value (46%),  followed by Modern art (27%).

5. All of the fine art sectors increased in value year- on-year, including a 12% increase in the Post War and Contemporary sector to $6.2 billion, with sales of the work of living artists advancing by 19% to $2.6 billion. Sales in the European Old Masters sector rose 64% year-on-year to $977 million, however, this uplift was due to the sale of the Leonardo da Vinci painting for $450 million at Christie’s in the US, without which sales would have fallen 11%.



Exhibitions and Art Fairs

1. The gallery was the primary institution for exhibitions worldwide in 2017, accounting for 55% of the number of global exhibitions.

2. Exhibitions are much more globally dispersed than sales in the art market. The US accounted for a 21% share, followed by Germany (12%) and France (10%).

3. 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. Dealers reported that they made 46% of their sales at art fairs in 2017 ( up 5% on 2016),  while the costs for dealers to attend fairs rose 15% to $4.6 billion. Anyway, as they are a central occasion to meet new buyers, on average, dealers attended five fairs in 2017 (same number as in 2016)



1. The global online  market have reached a new high of $5.4 billion in 2017 (+10% ) , accounting for 8% of the value of global sales. It has increased substantially in size over the last five years (by 72%), and its share of total art market sales has also edged up from 5% in 2013.

2. Online sales have been a key method to access new buyers: dealers reported that 45% of their online buyers were new to their businesses in 2017; 41% of those buying online at second-tier auction houses were new buyers; and in top-tier houses they averaged over 40%.

3. Anyway, also  most of the traditional offline dealers and auction houses surveyed in 2017 recognized the online channel as a key area of growth over the next five years.



1. A survey of HNWIs(high net worth individuals) inthe US by UBS and Arts Economics revealed that 35% were active in the art and collectibles market:  the most common price range for buying works was less than $5,000 (79% of respondents), and 93% reported that they most often bought at prices less than $50,000. Only 1% of respondents bought at prices in excess of $1 million.

3. The most frequently used channel for purchases was a gallery or dealer, with 66% of the sample having used them to purchase art.

4. 11% of respondents had used credit or loans to purchase works of art or objects in their collections.

5. Only 32% of collectors felt that the expected financial return on their investment was important, although this was higher (at 47%) for those with wealth over $5 million. The majority of the collectors surveyed (86%) reported that they had never sold a work from their collection.

6. Sales to private collectors dominated the dealer and auction sectors, accounting for 66% of dealers’ sales in 2017 and 64% for second-tier auction houses.



Economic Impact

1. Approximately 310,685 businesses operate in the global art, antiques and collectibles market in 2017, comprising 296,540 in the gallery sector and 14,145 auction houses.

2. The art market directly employed an estimated 3 million people in 2017

3. It is calculated that the global art trade spent $19.6 billion on a range of external support services directly linked to their businesses, supporting a further 363,655 jobs.

4. The largest area of spending was on art fairs, which represented 23% of the total at $4.6 billion, an advance of 15% year-on-year. The second was on advertising and marketing ($2.8 billion)



To mark the report, while explaining in the interview why the Art Market is rebounding in a interview, the economist Dr Clare McAndrew (founder of Art economics) said :”2017 was a positive year, with a growth of 12% and sales totaling just under USD 64 billion following a period of uncertainty in 2015-2016. There was an uplift in the auction sector but also a steady rise in the dealer sector. Many fundamental economic drivers are positive again. There’s fairly robust growth in global wealth, consumer confidence is generally back, and, overall, financial markets are healthy. However, a lot of this has been driven by the top-end of the dealership and auction sectors. Away from the top-end, performance has been mixed..In 2017, despite remaining political volatility in many regions, robust growth in global wealth, particularly at the high end, improved economic performance, accelerating financial market returns, stronger consumer confidence and increased supply led to a much more favorable environment for sales”


Read the Full Report here :  The Art Market | Art Basel

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