Summary of the global art market in 2022 based on AB and UBS research

In summary, the art market grew by 3% in 2022, reaching a total of $67.8 billion. This growth was primarily driven by a 7% increase in gallery sales compared to the previous year, restoring the sector’s value to pre-pandemic levels. A total of 37.8 million art transactions were conducted.

The market growth was propelled by higher-priced art. Art sold at public auctions reached $26.8 billion, with the only price segment that experienced growth being works valued above $10 million. Gallery sales reached $37.2 billion, and galleries specializing in higher-priced art achieved better results. Approximately 35% of gallery revenue was generated through art fairs.

The researchers comment on the general state and dynamics of the art market, stating that during economic booms, there are more transactions and price records set at public auctions. However, during economically challenging times (2022 was still considered difficult), buyers tend to prefer private auctions and gallery sales. In 2022, 45% of sales occurred at auction houses (a 2% decrease compared to previous years), while 55% took place through galleries and dealers.

The value of transactions conducted solely online decreased to $11 billion, representing a 17% decline. Online channels accounted for 16% of total art transactions, which is a quarter less than the peak in 2020. Additionally, it is lower and declining compared to general e-commerce indicators.

The market for art-related NFTs experienced the largest decline. From its peak in 2021, when the market volume reached $2.9 billion, it dropped by nearly half to $1.5 billion in 2022. 80% of the NFT market was already in the secondary market.

The only element of the art market that has predominantly and permanently shifted online is bidding at major auctions. 91% of bids at Sotheby’s auctions and 75% at Christie’s auctions were made online.

Despite the increased use of online channels (especially in marketing and client communication), 93% of survey participants consider physically viewing the artwork before making a purchase important or very important.

77% of wealthy collectors predict market growth, and the majority also stated that they intend to continue buying in 2023.

The largest markets are the United States (45%), the United Kingdom (18%), China (17%), the European Union (12%, including France at 7%), and the rest of the world (8%).

Sales based on events (exhibitions, auctions, fairs) have shown signs of recovery. The number of physical art events (fairs, sales exhibitions) globally increased to 346.

There are approximately 300,000 art and antique intermediaries worldwide, with 82% solely focused on art. 63% focus on a specific period, style, or theme, and 48% deal with contemporary art (defined in the survey as artists born after 1945).

45% of galleries focus exclusively on the primary market, 13% exclusively on the secondary market, and 42% engage in both.

Among the participating galleries, 71% operate in one country and one location, 14% in one country but multiple locations, 9% in multiple countries and multiple locations, and 6% have no physical location (online).

The segment with the fastest revenue growth was among galleries selling works by contemporary artists.

Galleries with higher representation of female artists experienced the fastest growth, with over 80% female-represented galleries growing on average by 21%.

The average time for sales of works by contemporary artists in the primary market in the surveyed galleries was 10 months.

The full report can be found in “The Art Market 2023 — A report by Art Basel & UBS.”