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The art market beats all previous records

Around this time of year most reports regarding the art, design and antiquities market are released. One of the most comprehensive is TEFAF's annual report. The TEFAF Art Market report 2015, compiled by Dr. Claire McAndrew, is released in conjunction with the annual art and antiques fair in Holland's Maastricht. It contains impressive numbers that give the art market a confidence boost. Last year the Fine Art turnover increased with 7%, from 47.7 billion euro to 51.2 billion euro.

The US reaches new heights where Sweden drops

The art market is dominated by three markets – the US, China and the United Kingdom,  39% from the US and 22% each from both China and the UK. This means that the three most important markets make up a total of 83% of market, whereas Sweden has dropped from almost 1% to 0.6%. The American market has seen the strongest development, which hasn't just met but surpassed the previous record set in 2008. Never before, at least not in modern times has the demand for high quality art, design and antiquities been greater. China, who just a few years ago went from making up 5% of the global market to 30% in 2011, have now for the third year in a row make up for 22% of the entire turnover.In Europe, the art market is dominated by the UK, making up 64.5% of the art market within the EU, followed by France with 17.3% and Germany with 5.1%. Sharing sixth place we have Sweden and Austria with 1.7%, after Italy and Spain.

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Exports increase when the market goes global

According to the TEFAF Art Market Report 2015 a total of 1,530 artwork worth over 1 million euro were sold in 2014. That indicates an increase of 17% from the previous year. Even more astounding is that these 1,530 items make up 48% of the value for Fine Art while only making up for 0.5% of the sales.

It is clear that the market for art, design and antiquities have become a global mass-market. We can see this not only through all the Swedish items on show at TEFAF with a price tag that is completely different from one in Sweden, but it is also in the numbers that reflect a monumental increase of 10% of art that is exported from domestic markets, to a total value of the astounding 19.8 billion euro, where 60% is exported from the US and the UK.

Modern and contemporary on top

The Post War & Contemporary sales stood for almost half of the value from the total turnover (48%). Galleries still hold a strong position in this sector even if the auction houses have increased their sales in the area to 5.9 billion euro, which means an increase of 19% from 2013.

The modern painting made up for 28% of the total turnover, where the auctions netted sales for 3.3 billion euro.

Fairs become more and more important

Fairs become all the more important for buyers. During 2014 we counted up to 180 large international fairs, where the 22 most frequented had a combined total of 1 million visitors. The sales at the fairs made up 40% of the buyers and galleries total turnover, approximately 9.8 billion euro.

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New growth markets

Those of you that have read my blog know that I have focused more on certain growth areas when it comes to art sales. The market for African modern and contemporary art has a growth that is rocketing upwards.

If another report were to be believed, namely ArtTactic's annual report that details their comprehensive investigation based on interviews with a large number of experts, there exists a strong trust in the American and European art markets as well as a trust in the continued growth within Latin America and Southeast Asia.

However, most seem to agree that the Russian market will drop considerably, and India, the Middle East and China will stagnate at today's level.

Online auctions increase

What all of the reports lack is a summary of online auctions, even though this iss a growing phenomenon with a large growth potential. However, nobody seems to have any numbers to add to the general overview of how much of the market the Fine Art segments are actually worth. In future reports, Barnebys will add online auctions as an important factor to next year's summary of the industry and art markets.

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