Summary of Art Basel and UBS “The Art Market 2024” survey

The Art Basel and UBS “The Art Market 2024” study is out again. Last year was a good year for small galleries in particular, giving new talent the chance to stand out! 

A few more observations from the survey:

  • 2,800 wealthy art collectors and 1,600 galleries were included in the survey.
  • The global art market in 2023 totalled $65 billion, a 4% decrease from the previous year. The total number of transactions was still higher (39.4 million), but at lower prices.
  • It was the small galleries that showed the largest increases in turnover. The biggest falls were in auction sales.
  • Art sold at auction accounted for 45% of turnover and art sold through galleries/art dealers for 55%.
  • The top end of the market (galleries with a turnover of over 10 million) lost turnover for the first time since 2020.
  • Online sales of art also grew by + 7% to 11.8 billion, 18% of the total art market. This is mainly due to investments made during the COVID period, which are now starting to bear fruit.
  • However, online purchases remain at the lower end of the market, with people preferring to see more expensive works for themselves. 65% of buyers do their preliminary work online, but 86% of purchases are made during a gallery visit.
  • The number of people making their first art purchase online has increased, with 35% of first online purchases made without seeing the work in person.
  • Turnover in art-related NFTs has fallen by a further half compared to last year (2022).
  • China’s art market has overtaken the UK to become the world’s second largest market. The US remains the largest (42% of the total).
  • The survey also polled 1600 galleries in 60 regions. The average gallery in the primary market represents 23 artists, while the average gallery in the primary and secondary markets represents 39 artists.
  • Traditional art media – painting, sculpture and works on paper (graphics) – continued to account for the majority – 86% – of total gallery turnover. The share of painting has even increased significantly (+7%) to 64%.
  • The average gallery had 83 art buyers/collectors during the year.
  • Contemporary art accounted for 40% of turnover, post-II MS for 14%, modernism for 11% and antiques for 10%.
  • The majority of galleries are specialised (47% deal exclusively with contemporary art) but there are also galleries dealing with several periods.
  • The average gallery sold an average of 169 works and a median of 85 works (titles are counted as one work) and organised 7 exhibitions.
  • In 2023, there were 359 art fairs worldwide.

Looking ahead, art dealers worldwide are optimistic, with 36% expecting growth in 2024 and 48% expecting the same results as last year.
With a particular focus on the comparison of auction results and the different eras and styles of art sold at auctions, the full survey can be found at: https://theartmarket.artbasel.com/

On photo a painting by Kai Kaljo, oil on canvas, 100×100