Apr 09, 2017

Five Things We Learned From Art Basel’s 2017 Global Art Market Report

Auction sales fell dramatically as art fairs continued to grow in importance in 2016
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Now written by Dr. Clare McAndrew, who previously wrote the annual TEFAF art market report, the first edition of the 2017 Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report became the latest annual report to bring clarity to the direction of the notoriously difficult to quantify global art market.

In a statement, McAndrew remarked:

“2016 was a challenging year for the art market with uneven performance across regions and sectors. An uplift in gallery sales prevented a deeper decline in sales overall, with dealers gaining share of the global art trade. However, even within this sector, performance differed between segments, with the best results reported for dealers operating at the high end of the market.”

So what did we learn from the report? Here are 5 key takeaways:

1. Total sales in the art market in 2016 dropped 11% compared to 2015 at $56.6 billion

2. The US, UK and China confirmed their dominant position in the global art market, accounting for just over 80% of sales. The US, which saw a decline in sales now accounts for 40% of the market with the UK and China accounting for 21% and 20% respectively

3. Auction sales declined by 26% to $22.1 billion

4. Art fairs continued to grow in importance, with aggregate estimated sales of $13.3 billion in 2016, up by 57% compared to 2010. Art fairs accounted for an estimated 41% of dealer sales in 2016

5. Postwar and contemporary art sales accounted for 52% of the public fine art auction market and 37% of transactions