A Summary of the British Art and Antiques Market in 2014

A Summary of the British Art and Antiques Market in 2014

This study, prepared for The British Art Market Federation by Dr Clare McAndrew of Arts Economics, analyses the position and performance of the British art and antiques market, focusing particularly on its performance since Arts Economics’ last report on the British art market published in 2010.

• In 2013, the value of the British market for fine and decorative art and antiques reached £8.0 billion, down 3% year-on-year. By contrast global art sales grew 10% in 2013.

• Over the period 2010 to 2013, as the value of global sales rose 3%, and sales in the US grew over 16%, the UK has seen a decline of 4%.

• The UK was the third largest market globally in 2013, with a share of 20% of world sales by value, down 3% on 2012.

• The fine art sector accounted for over 62% of sales by value in the UK in 2013.

• In the UK, Post War & Contemporary art was the largest sector of the fine art market accounting for 39% of all sales by value in 2013. Modern art was the second largest (with 31%).

• Auction sales in Post War & Contemporary art in the UK dropped 12% year-on-year over 2013, while the global market grew by 11%. Sales in the US market advanced by 20% and China by 17%.

• The UK’s share of the global market for Post War & Contemporary art more than halved in the five years from 2008 (from 35% to 15%).

• Over the period 2010 to 2013, the UK’s share of sales of Old Master paintings and Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works remained stable. In the market for the work of living artists, sales in the UK fell by 22% from 2009 to 2013, whereas in the US they grew by 70%. In terms of market share, the UK dropped 21 percentage points from 37% in 2008 to just 16% in 2013.

• Works by artists deceased within 70 years of the date of the sale (the “heirs’ market”) accounted for 48% of fine art auction sales by value in 2013 in the UK. In 2012 sales in the UK in this sector stagnated, and then in 2013 they fell by 10% in value. In contrast, the US market grew 62% in value in the period from 2011 to 2013.

• Imports, which support the UK’s status as a global hub, fell substantially year-on-year in 2013, dropping 25% to £3.7 billion, driven largely by a drop in imports of fine art. Exports also fell 6% to £4.5 billion, with fine art again seeing the largest fall in values.

• The British art market continues to make a significant contribution to the economy, in terms of the employment and the skills it generates. In 2013 there were in excess of 7,850 businesses in the British art trade, directly providing around 41,420 highly knowledge-intensive and gender-balanced jobs.

• The art market also contributes to the UK economy through the taxes and levies paid directly to the Exchequer on sales, trade, incomes and profits, which amounted to a conservatively estimated £1.6 billion in 2013.

• The British art market spent £3.6 billion on specialised services in ancillary industries, employing a conservatively estimated 101,880 people.

The full report can be accessed via the British Art Market Federation website. 

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