The Art Market 2020

Chapter 2 Dealer Sales

Chapter 2 focuses on dealers and galleries, analyzing sales and other key indicators in different value segments and sectors of the market, and presenting an analysis of important areas such as profitability, inventories, financing and buyers. The Chapter looks at artist representation, focusing on issues such as gender, career stage and acclaim, and the cross-subsidization of sales. It also addresses gallery longevity and other key issues facing galleries in 2020.

Key Findings

Sales in the gallery and dealer sector were estimated to have reached $36.8 billion in 2019, growing just over 2% year-on-year.

Sales in the Gallery and Dealer Sector

The magnitude of the year-on-year changes varied widely: dealers with turnover between $500,000 and $1 million reported the biggest decline (–9%) and those with sales from $250,000 to $500,000 grew the most at 17%.

Changes in Aggregate Turnover by Dealer Turnover Segment 2018–2019

Dealers were more optimistic about their sales in 2020, with 42% expecting an increase versus 30% the previous year. The lower end of the market showed a higher level of optimism, with 47% of dealers with turnover less than $1 million expecting sales to rise in 2020 versus 29% in the $10 million plus segment.

Dealers’ Views on Future Sales – Outlook for 2019 vs. 2020

Finding new buyers was the biggest challenge cited by dealers in 2019. The share of sales to new clients increased 5% year-on-year to 34%.

Share of Sales to Buyer Groups by Purchase History – Share by Turnover Level

The representation of female artists by primary market galleries rose 8% year-on-year to 44%, while their share of sales also increased from 32% in 2018 to 40% in 2019.

Share of Female Artists - Primary Market Galleries 2018 vs. 2019

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