Art Basel and UBS launched the first Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report. The Art Market 2017 analyses today’s international art market. Written by cultural economist Dr Clare McAndrew, Founder of Arts Economics, the report covers macro-economic trends within the art industry, spanning the dealer and auction markets as well as the online sphere.

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

  • Globally: The art market achieved total sales of an estimated $56.6 billion in 2016, down 11% from 2015.
  • Leading Markets: The top three markets – Unites States, United Kingdom and China – cemented their dominant position in the global art market in 2016, with a combined 81% of estimated sales by value. Despite a substantial decline in sales, the United States was again the largest market by value with an estimated market share of 40%. The United Kingdom was the second largest with 21%, followed by China with 20%.
  • Dealer Figures: In 2016, there was a slight increase in sales in the dealer sector, up 3% year-on-year to an estimated $32.5 billion.
  • Auction Figures: The value of sales at public auctions declined 26% year-on- year, reaching on aggregate an estimated $22.1 billion.
  • Leading Auction Market: Due to the fall in United States auction sales and relatively stable performance in China, the Chinese market led the auction sector with 34% of sales by value.
  • Private Auction Sales: All of the top-tier auction houses engaged in private sales, and these rose in 2016 to a weighted average share of 16% of their turnover.
  • Art Sectors: The largest sector of the public fine art auction market in 2016 was Post War and Contemporary art, accounting for 52% of the market by value and 37% of transactions.
  • Online Sales: Sales of art and antiques online were estimated to have reached
  • $4.9 billion in 2016, an increase of 4% year-on-year and accounting for almost 9% of the global art and antiques market by value.
  • Art Fairs in the Global Art Market: Art fairs continue to be a central part of the global art market, with aggregate sales estimated to reach $13.3 billion in 2016, up 5% year-on-year and an increase of 57% since 2010. Art fairs accounted for estimated 41% of dealer sales in 2016.


Clare McAndrew, Founder, Arts Economics said: “2016 was a challenging year for the art market with uneven performance across regions and sectors. An uplift in gallery sales prevented a deeper decline in sales overall, with dealers gaining share of the global art trade. However even within this sector, performance differed between segments, with the best results reported for dealers operating at the high end of the market. Auction sales experienced a steep drop in value in 2016 and unlike previous years, it was the highest end – sales over $10 million – that suffered the greatest decline.”

Marc Spiegler, Global Director, Art Basel said: “As the industry grows larger and more globalized, it becomes ever-more important to add granular data into our thinking, combining it with personal experiences in forming our views on the art world and its potential futures. Clare McAndrew’s report has taken a strong step in that direction, widening her research and focus, so we are very proud to support the continuation of her in-depth analysis.”

Mark Haefele, Global Chief Investment Officer, UBS Wealth Management said: “As longstanding patrons of the arts, UBS is pleased to collaborate with Art Basel to publish the premier research on the global art market. Alongside our own art services offerings, institutional patronage, and well-known art collection, the work of Dr Clare McAndrew corresponds closely with our ongoing commitment to research and analysis of financial markets and economic data for our clients.”