Art Basel Hong Kong
Clare McAndrew, founder of Arts Economics, released her latest report 'The Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report' at the Art Basel fair in Hong Kong. She said 2016 was a challenging year for the art market.

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The Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report by Clare McAndrew, released in Hong Kong today, found sales in the dealer sector globally grew 3% year-on-year to $32.5bn. Dealer sales now account for 57% of the market with auction sales at 43%.

Overall, the value of the art market fell of 11% to $56.6bn in 2016.

The month of March has become high season for art market reports with TEFAF and Art Market Monitor of Artron (AMMA) also releasing figures.

The key findings of McAndrew’s Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report, her first since leaving TEFAF last year where she had compiled her report since 2008, are:

  • 11% fall in total global art market sales in 2016 to $56.6bn, from $63.8bn in 2015.
  • 3% rise in dealer sales to $32.5bn.
  • 57% of art market sales were via dealers in 2016, 43% via auctions.
  • 26% decline in the value of sales at auctions compared with previous year to an estimated $22.1bn.
  • 5% rise in sales at art fairs to $13.3bn in 2016. Art fairs accounted for an estimated 41% of dealer sales in 2016.
  • 4% rise in sales of art and antiques online reaching $4.9bn in 2016 and accounts for almost 9% of the market by value.
  • US has 40% art market share globally, UK is second at 21% of market and China has 20%.
  • 52% of the global art market by value, and 37% of transactions, were in the post war and contemporary art sector.

McAndrew, founder of Arts Economics and author of the Art Basel report, said: "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.”

Clare McAndrew, founder of Arts Economics

Clare McAndrew, founder of Arts Economics, is the author of The Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report which is her first report since leaving TEFAF in 2016.

She noted that even among dealers the “performance differed” with the “best results reported for dealers operating at the high end of the market”.

She said the “steep drop” in auction sales values in 2016 had been in some way exacerbated by a decline at the high end. She said sales over $10m “suffered the greatest decline”.

Art Basel Hong Kong

The Art Basel fair in Hong Kong hosted the unveiling of the 'Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report' by Clare McAndrew, her first since leaving TEFAF in 2016. Photo credit: Gallery Jess Johnson.

McAndrew’s data included auction information from Collectrium and Art Market Monitor of Artron (AMMA), a dealer survey was sent out to 6500 dealers across the world with over 1100 dealers responding, and a survey of high net worth individual (HNWIs) was undertaken with Swiss banking group UBS.

Comparison to TEFAF Art Market Report

Earlier this month an art market report from TEFAF, by new author Rachel Pownall of Maastricht University, also revealed similar themes in the assessment of the market.

It found dealer sales made up 62.5% of the art market compared with 37.5% sold at auction in 2016. The shift was put down to a greater desire for “privacy and anonymity… in times of austerity and political tensions”.

For auctions, the TEFAF report revealed auction sales volumes in the US fell 40% in 2016 to hold 27.5% of the global market share. European auction sales volumes fell 13%, down 24% in the UK to hold 31% of market share globally. In Asia, the TEFAF report found auction sales volumes fell just 1.6% to hold 40.5% of the global auction market.

Total global sales of art in 2016 were $45bn, according to Pownall’s report which is an effective 1.7% increase on her comparable figure for 2015. In terms of market share she found the US was top overall at 29.5%, the UK second at 24% and China at 18%, a decline on the previous year.

Auction Data

Also last week, Art Market Monitor of Artron (AMMA) and Artprice published its annual report – The Art Market in 2016 – which focuses on auction data.

It found that turnover at fine art auctions in 2016 were down 23% on the previous year to $12.45bn (including buyer’s premium).

Chinese fine art auctions totalled $4.79bn with China leaping into first place with an 8% rise and achieving a 38% share of the market of auctions. The US fell to second place with 28% and the UK held 17% of the market.