Home Magazine Emerging Trends in the Art Market: A Detailed Analysis of The Art Market Report 2023

Curated by Clare McAndrew for Art Basel and UBS, the annual report "The Art Market Report 2023" presents one of the most comprehensive and detailed analyses of the global art market, highlighting its remarkable resilience despite the uncertainties caused by the pandemic throughout 2022.

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The Art Market Report 2023 - Market Trends
According to the report, the art market shows some interesting data, starting with the confirmation of an improvement in trades and market volumes. Global art sales in 2022 increased by 3% annually, reaching an estimated total of 67.8 billion dollars, surpassing pre-pandemic levels in 2019, despite China's zero-covid policy. This positive outcome is noteworthy considering that sales volume had sharply declined in 2020 but then recovered and rose by 31% in 2021. However, the growth trend is not uniform across all segments and shows significant differences depending on the sector, country, and price range.

The Art Market Report 2023 - Live Events
The main driver of this growth is undoubtedly the return of live events. In this context, there are contrasting results: galleries registered a 7% growth, while the auction sector had less positive results. In both cases, high-end purchases fueled the sector, with auction houses showing a progressive increase in sales for works sold for more than 10 million dollars. The same situation applies to art dealers, where those in the high-end segment achieved significantly better results than their lower-end counterparts. Overall, sales of public auction houses decreased by 1%. While Christie's, Sotheby's, and Phillips collectively reached a positive value of 17.7 billion dollars, 30% of mid-range auction houses experienced a sales decline. Last year also marked an increase in the number of art fairs. There were 346 live events, one-third more than in 2021, but still not reaching the 2019 figures. It's also worth noting a rise in costs, ranging from 15% to 20%, compared to pre-pandemic times.

The Art Market Report 2023 - Markets Worldwide
The global rankings continue to be dominated by the United States, accounting for 45% of sales by value and increasing their market share to 2%, reaffirming their position as the largest art market in the world. Despite post-Brexit complications and having recorded its lowest-ever global market share in 2021, the United Kingdom reclaimed the second position with an 18% share, surpassing China, which slid to third place with 17%. The Chinese art market saw a 14% decline in sales year on year, hindered by the cancellation of significant events such as Art021 and West Bund Art & Design in Shanghai, closed early due to Covid-19 measures. These three countries together represent approximately 80% of the global art market. Although trailing behind, France maintains its fourth position with a steady 7% share and remains the leading European country in this special ranking.

The Art Market Report 2023 - Online Sales
In contrast to the growth in in-person sales, there is a reduction in online spending, which dropped to 11 million dollars last year, a 17% decrease compared to 2021. However, this figure still represents an 85% increase from pre-pandemic levels in 2019. The period from 2020 to 2022 witnessed a significant increase in e-commerce sales by auction houses, art galleries, and major marketplaces. The value of online sales accounted for approximately 16% of the total revenue last year, down from the peak of 25% in 2020 and below the e-commerce share (20%) in 2022.

The Art Market Report 2023 - Crypto Art and NFT Sales
In The Art Market Report 2023, Clare McAndrew analyzes the sales of Crypto Art and NFTs. After reaching a record of nearly $2.9 billion in 2021, Non-Fungible Tokens experienced a contraction in 2022, settling at just under $1.5 billion, a 49% decrease from the previous year. Despite this negative performance, NFT sales during 2022 are still 70 times higher than in 2020. However, it is worth noting that NFTs related to art performed less well than in other sectors, accounting for only 8% of the value of NFT sales on the Ethereum Blockchain network in 2022.

The Art Market Report 2023 - Forecasts for 2023
Opinions among gallery owners and auction houses regarding sales forecasts for 2023 are divergent. Respondents express varying levels of optimism depending on market segments. Dealers with turnover below $250,000 are the most optimistic (52%), while those operating in the $250,000 to $500,000 range are less convinced, with only 37% sharing their colleagues' hopes. However, there is a general consensus on the importance of continuing to pursue a digital strategy, consistently improving relationships with collectors, and participating in the most representative art fairs. It is reassuring to know that the majority (55%) of wealthy collectors have expressed their intention to invest in artworks this year. To learn more, we must wait for the next Art Market Report 2024.

Cover Image: Courtesy of Art Basel

Written by: Kooness

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