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In the 2019 survey published this month only 5% of responding members said they had not participated in any fairs, compared with 18% in the 2016 survey.

On average, attendees reported that a little over 30% by value of total annual sales were directly attributable to these events, a change from 24% in the last survey.

The figures are based on members’ responses and trading results during 2018.

“Our members have been pretty keen on fairs for a long time,” SLAD secretary Christopher Battiscombe told ATG. “Now people just don’t come to galleries as much any more and dealers feel they need to go out and meet their customers, but they are selective about which fairs they attend.”

TEFAF Maastricht retained pole position in terms of SLAD members’ participation (35% overall) with Masterpiece London (32%) and Frieze Masters (26%) next on the list. TEFAF New York is close behind at 24%.

The most popular events were in the UK, followed by Europe and the US. This mirrored the biggest markets for SLAD dealers overall.

Some concerns over barriers to international trade are clear

Some concerns over potential barriers to international trade are clear from the survey.

Two-thirds (65%) of respondents thought that Brexit would leave them worse off and only 5% thought it would improve conditions.

“The markets we trade in haven’t changed and it is important to recognise that, while the US is still the biggest overseas market, the EU is second by a long way and it is important that trade is not damaged by Brexit,” Battiscombe added.

Respondents were from the trade association’s group of traditional as well as Modern and Contemporary dealers.

The proportion of members with £2m turnover or less and £10m or above were both up from 2016.

Those in the £2m-10m range fell from 49% to 31%.

The SLAD office is moving and will be located at 34 South Molton Street, London, W1 from Monday, July 15.