THIS year’s British Antique Dealers’ Association survey shows that annual combined sales of BADA members are estimated at £698 million. The figure is almost unchanged from last year.
Although 30 per cent of BADA's 328 member dealers reported a decrease in sales in 2010 compared to the previous year, the remaining 70 per cent either remained constant or improved, reporting that business was solid, but still hard won.
Key findings of this year's survey include:
• The proportion of export sales, at 51%, was only slightly down on the previous year and, at 26% of all sales, the USA remained the largest overseas market.
• Only 9% of dealers in Asian objects reported a decrease in year-on-year sales. Some 63% of Asian art dealers reported annual turnovers in excess of £500,000.
• 25% of all business was conducted at fairs (24% in 2009). Shops and galleries still remain the main points of sale, accounting for 53%; this is a slight decrease on the 60% of the previous period.
• The proportion of sales made through the internet doubled from 4% in 2009 to 8% in 2010.
Commenting on the survey, BADA secretary general, Mark Dodgson, said: "The results of our most recent survey provide a more positive message than last year. It seems clear that although some of this improvement has been assisted by the demand for Asian art, a significant number of dealers outside that discipline are also finding trading slightly better."
But he added that despite this, business was not plain sailing and highlighted the difficulty reported by many dealers in sourcing enough quality stock.
Mr Dodgson also warned that, if UK dealers are to sustain the recovery suggested by this survey, politicians must reduce bureaucracy and barriers to trade.
He added: "The prospect of Artist's Resale Right increasing its impact fourfold next year is hardly conducive to a competitive market, and means many BADA members will be spending more time filling in forms and paying money over to DACS."