Home Magazine Art Basel and UBS 2024 report: An in-depth analysis of the Art Market in 2023

As every year, Art Basel and UBS presented their international art market report, offering a detailed analysis of the industry's global dynamics and highlighting key annual trends and developments. The report examined sales and various activities in the different segments of the market, including galleries, auction houses, art fairs and collectors. Find the main statistics from the last report-release below.

Related Articles: Contemporary Abstract Expressionism, 5 artist you can’t miss on KoonessThe Impact of Art on Interior Design: Choosing and Displaying ArtJUSTMAD celebrates its 15th anniversary

Art Market Slowing Down: 4% decline in 2023

After two years of growth, the art market has slowed down in 2023, with global sales down 4% from the previous year, to an estimate of $65 billion.

Global Art Market Shares of 2023

The United States confirmed its main position in the global market with a 42% share of total sales by value. China strengthens its position in the sector by ranking second with 19%. The United Kingdom is at third place with a 17% share, while France keeps its fourth position at 7%. The U.S. market, after reaching a record of $30.2 billion in 2022 thanks to a strong recovery, had a 10% decrease in 2023 to $27.2 billion. Meanwhile, China carried on with its growth, reaching an estimated $12.2 billion with a 9% increase. European markets also showed a decline, with the United Kingdom seeing an 8% drop in 2023 to $10.9 billion. Lastly, France registered a 7% drop to $4.6 billion but maintaining its 2019 level, and slightly above.

NFT Market Collapse

In 2023, the art-related NFT (Non-Fungible Token) market had a significant fall, with a 51% decrease in sales compared to 2022. This decline was influenced by several factors, including speculation and volatility into the cryptocurrency market.

Pilar Corrias, Art Basel 2023. Courtesy of Art Basel. 

Online Art Sales up 7% to $11.8 billion

Despite the general downturn, the digital art market is becoming more and more important. Online art sales continued to grow, reaching $11.8 billion, up 7% year-on-year. Although down from a peak of $13.3 billion in 2021, sales volume doubles respect 2019.

Auction Sales Slow Down

During 2023, the art market experienced a slowdown in public auction sales, registering a 7% decline from the previous year to a total of $25.1 billion. Private auction house sales, on the other hand, bucked the general decline, and grew by 2% to an estimated $3.9 billion. Considering both public and private sales, there is a 5% year-on-year decline, with a total of $28.9 billion. However, it should be noted that this figure still remains above the pre-pandemic level of 2019. In the global auction sales landscape, dominance is consistently held by the United States, China, and the United Kingdom, which collectively accounted for 74% of public sales by value in 2023. Although they lost significant share from previous years, the United States still leads the highest price-art sales, with eight of the top ten lots sold in New York. The sales performance of postwar and contemporary art was remarkable, which was confirmed as the most important sector of the fine art auction market in 2023 reaching $6.5 billion in 2023, but marking a 16% decline from 2022. Similarly, the modern art market showed a 6% decrease over the past year, with sales standing at $3 billion. During the past year, the segment of the market related to Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art also experienced a significant turnaround. After a period of extraordinary growth that lasted for two years, marked by a 160% increase that led sales to reach a record $2.6 billion in 2022, this sector experienced a sudden slowdown. In fact, during 2023, sales fell by 35% to $1.7 billion.

Between Caution and Hope: the Cautious Optimism of the Art Market in 2024

Looking forward to 2024, there is a change in the expectations of both dealers and auction companies. While 36% of dealers expect sales to improve, a lower percentage than the 45% found at the end of 2022, 48% believe sales will remain more or less stable, while 16% fear a decline. In the auction sector, optimism for a better year in 2024 has declined: compared to the 48% found in 2022, only 38% of mid-level companies expect sales to increase this year. Only 4% of these companies expect a decrease in auction sales, down significantly from 24% in 2022. The reasons for this uncertain situation are a combination of several factors: rising inflation, rising interest rates, ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East, and concerns about a possible slowdown in China's economic growth, exacerbated by the crisis in the real estate market. A complex picture that sees a slowdown in global growth, making 2024 a challenge for the art sector as well. Its ability to adapt to the new geopolitical and economic environment will be critical to long-term success.

Written by Kooness

Cover image: Art Basel Hong Kong 2023 - Nanzuka - Courtesy Art Basel