Chapter 7 Economic Impact and Conclusions 

Chapter 7 discusses the potential employment and economic effects of the pandemic on the art market, looking at its impact on employment as well as the range of ancillary and support industries connected to the art trade. It concludes the report by reviewing some of the key issues arising from the crisis in 2020 that may continue to affect the market in 2021.

It is estimated that there were approximately 305,250 businesses operating in the global art and antiques market in 2020, directly employing about 2.9 million people.

Businesses and Employment in the Global Art Market

It is estimated that there were more than 2.6 million people employed worldwide in the gallery and dealer sector in 2020, down 5% year-on-year in about 291,000 businesses.

Share of Dealers Downsizing Employment in 2020

There were an estimated 14,250 businesses operating in the auction market, including both online and offline companies. Employment in the sector fell by around 2% year-on-year, with significant declines in some of the top-tier auction houses.

Share of Second-Tier Auction Houses Downsizing in 2020 by Auction House Turnover

It is estimated that the global art trade spent $16.6 billion on a range of ancillary and external support services directly linked to their businesses, a decline of 16% year-on-year.

Ancillary Expenditure by the Global Art Trade 2019 versus 2020

As they continued their digital transformations, dealers and auction houses diverted more resources to IT, with spending up by close to 80% year-on-year, making it the highest element of ancillary spending at $3.5 billion.

Ancillary Expenditure 2019 versus 2020

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