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  • Writer's pictureFrancisca Theo kovich

The art market is currently navigating an uncertain economic future

Updated: 4 days ago

Many art fairs are currently taking place in major cities around the world, keeping everyone in the art scene busy during Q1 of 2024. However, the most concerning matter in the whole industry right now is whether the art market will rebound this year.

Shanghai West Art fair 2023
Shanghai West Bund 2023

The art market in 2023 can be described as quite bleak, yet art exhibitions were thriving. According to a report by UBS, despite declining sales, the volume of traffic was increasing. Looking at 2023 as a whole, overall performance was comparable to the period during the initial outbreak of the pandemic, with not much improvement. Total sales in the art market fell by 4% year by year, dropping to $65 billion. This figure was the lowest since the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020. Therefore, galleries were eagerly anticipating a rebound in the art market in 2024 at the end of last year.

Online art sales increased

Since the onset of the pandemic in 2020, many collectors have also developed a habit of collecting artwork online. This has brought about a different breakthrough in online purchasing for the art market. Global online sales increased by 7% year over year, reaching an estimated $11.8 billion in 2023. Although this figure didn't match the historic peak of the online market at $13.3 billion in 2021, sales still more than doubled the levels of 2019—or any year before that.

However, Art fairs continue to serve as a crucial avenue for connecting galleries with new collectors

As online art sales surge, art fairs retain their significance as essential platforms for connecting with both new collectors and artists alike. However, a lot of galleries have been complaining about how the cost is relatively high it became a barrier to entry to the art fair. The costs associated with shipping works, transporting and lodging team members, and purchasing installation materials make art fairs expensive endeavors. The majority of galleries that do not participate in international art fairs cite cost as the primary reason. Those galleries that choose not to participate often opt for online selling or working through dealers. They had hoped that sales would increase in 2024.

Next, I'll be researching female artists who have garnered significant attention in the art scene. Honestly speaking, I feel that when I purchase an artwork, my decision isn't primarily influenced by the identity of the artist; rather, it's usually the artwork itself that captivates me. Subsequently, I became interested in learning more about the artist behind the piece. What are your thoughts on this approach?


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