The Global Art Market - The Edit Gallery
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The Global Art Market

Over the past decade, the art industry has grown dramatically. The long-termed, worldwide trend of increasing wealth, in addition to the growth in knowledge about the art world led to an increase in the number of people interested in collecting and investing in artworks.

As the economist Clare McAndrew outlines in the annual global art market analysis report by Art Basel and UBS, following two years of declining sales, in 2017 the market turned a corner with increasing sales in both the dealer and auction sector. The art market achieved total sales of an estimated $63.7 billion in 2017, an increase of 12% on 2016. The US was the largest market worldwide, accounting for 42% of sales by value, with China in second place with 21% and the UK coming in third with 20%.

Of the major areas for selling art, the auction sector saw the biggest boost as sales rose 27% year-on-year. Post-war and contemporary was the largest of the auction sectors (as it has been every year since 2011) with a 46% share of the market by sale, followed by modern art with 27% share (up from 23% in 2016). The small but steady sector of European Old Masters was enhanced by the sale of the $450 million Leonardo da Vinci painting (that sold last November at Christie’s) to 64% share, what would otherwise be a share of 11% year-over-year. Dealer Sales in 2017 reached an estimated $33.7 billion, up 4% year-on-year.

Among many factors involved in the art market expansion a key one is the internet, which has opened up a traditionally exclusive world that has not been easy to access. The global insurance giant Hiscox’s latest report reveals an online art market worth an estimated $4.22 billion (up 12% the past year).

With an increase in knowledge about the art world and the opportunity to learn about artists’ works in an accessible way online, collectors are now not only looking for works they love, but wanting to feel confident that the art they purchase might also be an investment—especially at the emerging end of the market.

*Art Basel & UBS Report “The Art Market 2018”