The global art market exceeded pre-pandemic levels in 2022, experiencing 3% growth in global art sales to an estimated USD 67.8 billion. The US saw the most robust recovery after the pandemic and the UK art market moved back into second place, followed by the Chinese market. Overall, surveys indicate an optimistic outlook across all sectors for 2023.
Zurich, April 4th, 2023 – The seventh edition of The Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report provides a comprehensive, macro-economic analysis of the state of the global art market in 2022. The report is written by cultural economist Dr. Clare McAndrew, founder of Arts Economics, and published by Art Basel and UBS.
After two years of disruption from the global pandemic, 2022 started out as the first year of a more regular momentum for art market sales and activities. The year was marked by some exceptional sales in both the auction and the dealer sectors; however, performance varied significantly across regions and value segments, resulting in more muted growth overall. Businesses at the higher end performed significantly better than the rest of their peers, creating a denser concentration at the top and leaving
The post-pandemic art market has significantly changed in other ways though. New working practices have emerged after the crisis, boundaries between traditionally distinct segments have continued to blur, and there has been an accelerated shift to online sales, which, despite moderating in 2022, appears to have permanently settled at a higher level alongside the enthusiastic return to a fuller schedule of events.Clare McAndrew, Founder, Arts Economics
The key findings include:
Global Sales: Global art sales increased 3% year-on-year to an estimated USD 67.8 billion, bringing the market above its pre-pandemic level in 2019. However, performance varied by sector, region, and price segments. The main driver of growth in values across all sectors in 2022 continued to be the high end of the market.
Leading Markets: The US market retained its leading position in the global art market with its share of sales by value increasing from 43% to 45% year-on-year. The UK market moved back into the second place with 18% of sales, followed by the Chinese market, whose share decreased from 20% to 17%.
The US has seen one of the most robust recoveries from the pandemic of all the major art markets, with
sales recording an 8% uplift year-on-year to their highest-ever level of USD 30.2 billion.
The UK maintained a stable growth momentum, recording a moderate rise to USD 11.9 billion. While this
was an increase of 5% from the previous year, sales were still below their pre-pandemic level in 2019 of USD 12.2 billion.
After a strong recovery in 2021, Mainland China and Hong Kong reported a challenging year in 2022 with a steep decline in sales of 14% year-on-year. At USD 11.2 billion, sales in the region were still 13% above 2020, but at their second-lowest level since 2009.
Dealer Figures: Dealer sales reached an estimated USD 37.2 billion in 2022, a 7% increase year-on-year,
restoring the market to its value before the pandemic in 2019. Surveys of the sector revealed that dealers
with the highest turnovers of over USD 10 million saw some of the largest increases in average sales (at
Auction Figures: 2022 was marked by strong sales in the auction sector, with many record prices achieved. However, away from these headlines sales momentum was much more subdued. Total sales conducted by auction houses, including both public and private sales, were estimated down 2% at USD 30.6 billion from USD 31.2 billion in 2021, but still 11% higher than pre-pandemic 2019.
Art Fairs: In 2022, fairs ran on much fuller schedules. Collectors began to reengage with live events, and
galleries returned to exhibiting at the same number of fairs as they had in 2019 on average. Sales at art fairs rose significantly from 27% of total dealers’ sales in 2021 to 35% in 2022, though still below pre-pandemic levels (42% in 2019).
Online Sales: As the event-driven market resumed its more regular schedule in 2022, both dealers and
auction houses reported a further reduction in the share of their sales accounted for by e-commerce in 2022. Following two years of unprecedented growth, online-only sales fell to USD 11 billion in 2022, a 17%
decline year-on-year from their peak of USD 13.3 billion in 2021, although still 85% higher than in 2019.
The global art market continued to grow in 2022, exceeding pre-pandemic levels. This was largely catalyzed by the return of the event-driven cycle of art fairs, gallery openings, and auctions, as well as gains at the highest end of the value spectrum. Although ongoing economic and sociopolitical uncertainties and increased regulations on international trade pose challenges to the art business, and despite the fact that the overall shape of the market’s recovery has been uneven coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s report once again underlines the dynamism that continues to underpin the industry, as well as the resilient demand for art on a global basis.Noah Horowitz, CEO, Art Basel, said:
About Arts Economics & Clare McAndrew
Arts Economics is a research and consulting firm focused exclusively on research and analysis of the fine and decorative art market for private and institutional clients. The company was founded by Clare McAndrew in 2005.
Dr McAndrew is a cultural economist who specializes in the arts, antiques, and collectibles markets. She completed her PhD in economics at Trinity College Dublin in 2001, where she also lectured and taught economics for four years. In 2002, Clare joined US-based Kusin & Company, an investment banking firm specializing in art, as chief economist. After three years in the United States, Clare returned to Europe in 2005, and set up Arts Economics to focus her efforts on art market research and analysis. She works with a network of private consultants and academic scholars in different regions around the world providing research and consulting services to the global art trade and financial sector.
About UBS and Contemporary Art
UBS has a long history of supporting contemporary art and artists. The firm has one of the world’s most important corporate art collections and seeks to advance the international conversation about the art market through its global lead partnership with Art Basel and as co-publisher of the ‘Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report’. UBS also supports some of the world’s most important arts institutions, events and fairs. UBS provides its clients with insight into the art market, collecting and legacy planning through its UBS Collectors Circle and UBS Art Advisory.