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The Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report 2024

The art market remains resilient, despite a slowdown in sales. In 2023, the market value eased, decreasing by 4% to an estimated USD 65 billion

The eighth edition of The Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report 2024 provides a comprehensive, macro-economic analysis of the state of the global art market in 2023. The report analyzes the impact of economics and geopolitics on art sales, reviewing some of the main trends in the market over the last year. Written by cultural economist Dr. Clare McAndrew, founder of Arts Economics, and copublished by Art Basel and UBS.

Key findings of The Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report 2024 include:

Global Sales: In 2023, global art market sales adjusted to an estimated USD 65 billion, showcasing resilience despite a slowdown of 4% year-on-year and surpassing pre-pandemic 2019 levels of USD 64.4 billion. Although factors such as high interest rates, inflation, and political instability contributed to slowing growth at the top end of the market, there was a notable 4% increase in transaction volume, totaling USD 39.4 million. This growth in buyer activity was particularly pronounced at lower price levels, creating a more buoyant trade environment for dealers and auction houses in these segments of the market.

Clare McAndrew, Founder, Arts Economics, said: “2023 saw a much-anticipated easing in sales in the art market after two years of strong growth after the pandemic. While high-end sales were thinner, activity held up at lower levels and the market continued its evolution along a dual path of offline and online sales. As in many other industries, rising costs were the key challenge for businesses in the art market in 2023, and profitability became a more closely monitored metric than sales. The focus for many in 2024 has shifted from rapid expansion at all costs to finding ways to achieve sustainable and profitable growth and stability as they continue to navigate an uncertain economic and political future.”

Leading Markets: The US preserved its leading position in the global art market, accounting for 42% of sales by value, down 3% year-on-year. China surpassed the UK as the second-largest global art market with its share rising to 19%, while the UK fell back to third place with a 17% share. France retained its position as the fourth-largest art market at 7% of global sales. Following robust growth in the wake of the pandemic, reaching a historical peak of USD 30.2 billion in 2022, the US art market experienced a slowdown in 2023, declining by 10% to USD 27.2 billion. The US remained the center for worldwide sales of the highest-priced artworks, with the contraction reflecting a decrease in sales at the top end of the market. Following a year of some record-breaking sales at the high-end in 2022, the decline in 2023 left the market slightly below its pre-pandemic level in 2019. Sales in the Chinese art market increased by 9% to an estimated USD 12.2 billion amid the easing of COVID-19-related restrictions and a strong surge of activity in the first half of the year. Enthusiastic buyers capitalized on sales of postponed auction inventories in Mainland China, while Hong Kong’s major fairs and exhibitions returned to their full-scale programs. In the latter half of 2023, the pace moderated, with slower sales. This changing trend was likely influenced by projections of slower economic growth and a persistent real estate slump in Mainland China. After showing resilience to economic and political pressure in previous years, sales in the UK decreased by 8% to USD 10.9 billion in 2023. The UK remains a key hub for sales of the most expensive artworks worldwide. A decline in these high-end sales, along with imports into the UK, contributed to the fall in the market in 2023, leaving values 11% below their pre-pandemic 2019 level.

Noah Horowitz, CEO, Art Basel, said: “Although down year-on-year, core collecting audiences remained actively engaged with the art market in 2023 and helped support prices on balance – albeit through a more value-driven and quality-conscious lens. The ramp-up in participation from new and often younger global buyers, in tandem with gains in the online sector, underscores some critical green shoots in the market with substantial future potential. Overall, the reversal of trend at the high end of the market after years of compounded acceleration was one of the defining features of the art business last year, as it also creates an opening in the market for exciting new trends and narratives to emerge.”

Dealer Figures: In 2023, after two years of consecutive growth, dealer sales slowed, with aggregate values easing by 3% to just under USD 36.1 billion. Trends reversed as smaller dealers with an annual turnover of less than USD 500.000 experienced a significant 11% increase in average sales, while larger dealers, with turnovers exceeding USD 10 million, encountered a 7% decline as some buyers were more cautious and sales were thinner at the high end.








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