Art Market Blog – Staggering Art Market Statistics

Art Market Blog – Staggering Art Market Statistics

statistics.jpgThe transformation that the art market has undergone over the last few years has been nothing short of staggering. As an Art Market Analyst I am constantly analysing and using facts, figures and statistics for various different purposes such as to justify the purchase of a painting or to try and predict the best time to sell an artwork.  Every day I come across another amazing art market fact or figure that provides me with yet another reason to be excited about the future of the art market and art as an investment. As you have probably already guessed, I just love statistics and numbers.

One of the reason’s that I started the Art Market Blog was to share my enthusiasm and passion for art and art investment in the hope of encouraging more people to buy art so I am going to share some of the more interesting and exciting statistics that I have come across.

Staggering Fact Number 1: It is estimated that there are four times as many art buyers now as there were during the art market boom in the early 90’s.

Staggering Fact Number 2: Taking inflation (a persistent, substantial rise in the general level of prices related to an increase in the volume of money) into consideration, the current art market has not yet reached the levels of the art market boom of the early 90’s

Staggering Fact Number 3: According to Sotheby’s, the number of countries that their clients came from increased 61% in 2007 to 58 different countries

Staggering Fact Number 4: Again from Sotheby’s, the number of clients purchasing valuable lots worth US$500,000 or more from Sothebys increased 238% over five years resulting in a total of 848 for 2007

Staggering Fact Number 5: The 2007 figures for the art market showed China as having the third highest sale proceeds pushing France from third spot in the rankings.

Staggering Fact Number 6: According to Artprice, in 2007 the USA accounted for 46% of the world’s art auction turnover

Staggering Fact Number 7: According to Artprice, in 2007, of the 35 most expensive contemporary artists, 15 were Chinese

If these juicy tidbits of information don’t get you excited about the art market then I don’t know what will!!!

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.

11 Responses

  1. But what art and which buyers? The headlines cover the big name artists, high priced art works, and wealthy buyers. Think of those 1,000 billionaires worldide who keep the market for overpriced art overpriced. What about the market for moderately priced art & buyers with moderate means?

    Interesting tidbits Nicholas. I’m waiting to see how the current recession affects the market.


  2. Thank you for your openheartedness. Your post inspired my addressing you. I have lots of artworks on my blogs and I am getting nice feedbacks, but I receive no requests – my marketing is zero. Thus the financial situation looks like a curse – I need help – I need help to grasp what was done incorrect by me for I face such ambiguity. Could you help me to solve my problem? Please visit my blog and my art galleries.
    Thank you

  3. Hi Nick- thanks for your very insightful blogs. Staggering Fact #7 from above- could you offer your opinion on some of the Contemporary Chinese artists- comments on their works, trends, investment potential. Much appreciated!!

  4. I am taking a statistics class and was wondering if you have come across any statistics that you found to be false about the art market or art /framing industry and why you thought so?

  5. I am trying to find a figure for the number of artists in the world estimated. Both professional and hobby. Does anyone know where I could find this info. Thank You

  6. It seems the best kept secret is the global amount of money that is spent purchasing art, art of all kinds. I saw an article that indicated Sothbey’s sold $7 billion in public auctions in 2005 and this was suggested to be 2% of the total auction market, just extrapolating this would mean $350 billion in USD for the auction sector. I’m thinking the total global revenue generated from art sales of all kinds must be upwards of $5-25 billion or more.

    Anyone out there have a more definitive figure?

  7. Hi Nicholas

    I found your blog on art market statistics very interesting. Do you have any information on the sales of African art over the internet.

    We get an enourmous level of interest in the art displayed in the gallery but we make far fewer sales than the level of interest would suggest. I suspect that this has a lot to do with the fact that art buyers are very nervous about buying art over the internet particularly if they feel that it is coming from Africa (think 419 scams etc) but I may be way of track here. Do you have a view on this.


  8. the statistics are very interesting but without solid numbers (not 4 times greater, but 4 times greater than XXXXX), they really do not mean much.

    Is there any real number estimate for any of those statistics?


  9. Regards to staggering fact No:3.

    Is there any information regarding which countries that are in the top ten?

    The rise in the number of people purchasing artwork in those countries when compared to prior years?


  10. Nicholas,
    Narrowing it down just a tad bit. What would you guessitmate the annual sales of “paintings” to be in say, USA in 2009 to be versus 2010 so far? Another level down would ask- sales for representational paintings versus abstract paintings? Just attempting to come up with a conservative but perhaps more accurate ballpark number for each of these categories.
    Shed any light on this ponderance?
    Thank you,
    Charles M. Huckeba
    Huckeba Art Gallery
    Prescott, Arizona

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