by Dr. Clare McAndrew, founder of Arts Economics

Once again, despite challenges such as high interest rates, inflation, and political instability, the global art market has demonstrated its resilience. Although the high-end segment experienced a slowdown in 2023, overall transaction volumes increased, and online sales continued to thrive.

The Art Market Report 2024 by Art Basel and UBS, offers a thorough macro-economic analysis of the global art market in 2023. Authored by Dr. Clare McAndrew, a renowned cultural economist from Arts Economics, the report examines the intricate global factors influencing the art market and identifies key trends from the past year.

Highlighted below are five significant findings from the report:

  • Global art sales experienced a slight slowdown in 2023, reaching approximately USD 65 billion, down 4% compared to the previous year. However, transaction volumes increased by 4%, particularly noticeable in lower price ranges, surpassing levels seen before the pandemic in 2019.
  • The United States maintained its dominance as the largest global art market, accounting for 42% of total sales by value. China emerged as the second-largest market, capturing a 19% share, while the UK followed closely in third place with 17%. France remained stable in fourth place, representing 7% of global sales.
  • Online sales continued to gain significance, reaching an estimated USD 11.8 billion in 2023, up 7% from the previous year. This accounted for 18% of the total market turnover, reflecting renewed confidence in digital platforms for art transactions.
  • Despite global trends, China saw a 9% increase in art sales to approximately USD 12.2 billion in 2023. This growth followed the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions in the first half of the year, leading to heightened activity at auctions, fairs, and exhibitions. However, sales moderated in the latter half of the year, possibly due to expectations of slower economic growth.
  • Looking ahead to 2024, expectations of declining interest rates, subdued inflation, and the enduring appeal of art suggest a positive outlook for the art market in the coming year and beyond.