A Glimpse at Today’s Contemporary Art Market

The Contemporary Art Market’s Concentration

In opposition to most economical sectors and modern markets, the art one has developed as a microcosm, where very few stakeholders control much of the transactions. We just have to see that in 2020, in the midst of the COVID pandemic, only three different countries shared 82% of the market: the USA (42%), the UK (20%) and China (20%). From the 18% left, more than half is split between France (6% of total), Germany (2%), Switzerland (2%) and Spain (1%). This means that the remaining countries, which would be more than 180, only account for 7% of the global art market. In terms of comparison, these seven countries, which hold 93% of the contemporary art market, are responsible for 55% of the world’s GDP, which itself is already highly concentrated.

Art Fairs’ Share in the Market

This concentration of the market is also reflected in the art fairs that happen around the globe, which on average account for more than 25% of the total operational costs of galleries, but also for 45% of the sales made by art dealers worldwide in 2019. In these precise events, the main of which happened in Europe (51%) and in the USA (28%), less than one third of the artists presented are considered to be emerging, and more than 70% of them are men, with female presence diminishing as artists are more acclaimed. However, if in 2019 art fairs were responsible for 45% of the sales made by art dealers, in 2020 this number dramatically plummeted to just 13%. At the same time, as online sales represented 13% of art dealers’ turnover in 2019, they rose up to a record of 39% by 2020. Simultaneously, the market value of online sales went rocket high, from 9% in 2019 to 25% in 2020, exceeding, for the first time in history, that of general retail.

Online as a More Democratic Approach to Sell Art

The development of online sales in the contemporary art market has also had a big impact on what kind of art is being sold. If in the traditional sales circuit of art the market share of luxurious art, made by acclaimed male artists, represents its vast majority, online sales circuits tend to be much more democratic. For example, when it comes to auctions, sales priced over $1 million make up only 6% of total online-only values, versus 58% for offline sales. Moreover, emerging and female artists seem to be more widely represented in this sphere, as intermediaries appear to be less important and buyers are younger (more than 50% are Millennials) and thus more open.

art2act and the Market’s Transformation

In art2act, we clearly see this transformation of the market as an opportunity. An online platform is more accessible not only for artists, but also for those who wish to access art. By building a completely virtual platform for artists, offering a wide range of tools, we make sure that, wherever they are, artists will have a shot at becoming professionals, through the development of their sales and other pragmatic opportunities.

art2act is the ultimate platform for the professional development of artists.

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