Research reveals the impact of Covid-19 on art market

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16th September 2020 16:57 - Museums, Libraries and Archives

Research reveals the impact of Covid-19 on art market: A survey looking at the impact of Covid-19 on the art sector has found that gallery sales fell by an average of 36% in the first half of 2020.

The research, which was conducted by Clare McAndrew, the founder of Arts Economics and published by Art Basel and UBS, polled 795 art specialists around the world.

Smaller galleries have been particularly hard hit, with the greatest fall in sales overall, found the research. Those with a turnover of between $250,000 and $500,000 per annum reported a 47% fall in total sales.

Gallery costs

The survey looked at the changing costs for galleries since the coronavirus pandemic began. It found that IT costs had risen to 10% of a gallery’s overall outgoings in the first half of the year, up from 2019 where it was 8%. The amount of money spent on art fairs was considerably down, found the survey, from almost a quarter of spending in 2019 (29%) to just 16% in the first six months of 2020.

'Other travel costs' such as visiting museum shows or clients overseas were also down (11% down to 7%), as was payroll (from 26% to 25%). 

Gallery rent increased marginally from 20% in 2019 to 21% in 2020, while online third party costs remained the same (8%). 

Gallery sales

The research also showed how gallery sales have shifted. In 2019, 46% of gallery sales were made at art fairs (local and overseas), however in the first half of 2010 when such events were postponed or cancelled due to the pandemic, this fell to just 16% of gallery income.

Income generated by physical galleries fell from 40% in 2019 to 37% in the first half of 2020.

The greatest change can be seen when looking at income generated from online sales - which increased from just 10% in 2019 to 37% in the first half of 2020. This was made up of gallery websites, third-party online and 'Online Viewing Rooms', which have replaced art fairs in the current climate. 

A quarter of the galleries polled, however, made zero online sales this year. 

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