Right now, the art market is in a continual global boom. Competition is fierce among sellers and buyers for quality works which means auction houses, galleries and dealers are all offering great investments for great prices which means you as the collector are benefiting.
This can be seen in recent releases of art market indexes and earnings reports, with Sotheby’s reported second-quarter and half-year (through June) earnings of $304.9 million; which is roughly even with the $304 million reported one year ago by the auction house. Taking into account that Christie's and Sotheby’s have a combined annual 2012 turnover amount of $5.233 billion for sales of art works outside of Hong Kong, they alone account for 42.65% of the global market which indicates the art market is in healthy standing for 2013.
A fascinating juxtaposition that continues to be seen is the continuation of China as the leading global art market, achieving 41.3% of worldwide sales in 2012 compared to 41.5% in the previous year. To put it in numbers, in 2012, global art auctions generated $12.269 billion, of which $5.068 billion was generated in China and $7.2 billion in the rest of the world.
The combined forces of New York (which represents 95% of the US art market), Europe (which the UK is still the market capital) and certain other larger centers such as Australia, Sweden, Austria and Canada generated $2.131 billion more sales revenue than China. For one country like China however to dominate revenue three years in a row is certainly a reflection of the global economy as a whole, but the wonderful aspect of the art market is that where the art sales occurred does not affect the investor, as it was still a 5.5% rise compared to 2011.
The number of buyers is constantly growing and diversifying, making each year more profitable and comparable to what people consider the golden year, 2007, which was the richest year in auction history in terms of revenues, with a total of $8.71 billion. With over three hundred fifteen thousand works of art sold in 2012 however, which is a hundred thousand more than in 2007, I'd say the comparison shouldn't be all about the monetary aspect, as it is also about the offerings and this year in particular we’ve seen some incredible works sold.
As we move into the last quarter of 2013 and into the next year, who knows what masterpieces will grace the covers of auction catalogs or gallery pages but that's what makes the art market so exciting as you never know what works will be offered, or what the next hot piece will be (like the current demand for Picasso ceramics). With each purchase made however you still have the security of knowing that your art is an investment.
Information Taken From:
ArtPrice, The Art Market 2012
Kinsella, Eileen. Sotheby's Slack Earnings Show Escalating Art-Market Competition