US & European Art Market Confidence Survey – January 2013

No. Pages11
ResearchersAnders Petterson, Nathan Engelbrecht
Report TypeAuction Analysis

Art market confidence up 25% on improved economic outlook.

The latest results from the ArtTactic US & European Art Market Confidence survey show that the experts continue to feel confident about the high-end of the post-war and contemporary art market.

The overall US & European Contemporary Art Market Confidence Indicator came in at 59.4 up from 47.6, an increase of 25% since June 2012. A reading above 50, signals a market where there is more positive than negative sentiment. The reading is the highest since June 2011, and signals a reversal of the negative trend that started in the autumn of 2011.

The increase in the Economic Confidence Indicator from 18.1 to 47.2 contributed most to the increase in the overall art market confidence, and it is clear that the respondents’ outlook for the economy has significantly improved in the last 6 months. The confidence in the primary market in the US and Europe saw a 1% decrease from 57.3 to 56.6, whilst the Confidence Indicator in the auction market increased from 67 to 74, a 10% increase.

The positive reading for the auction confidence come on the back of record sales in New York in November 2012, when Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips de Pury in New York raised a total of $764,600,000 (excluding buyer’s premium) against a presale estimates of $642,450,000 to $911,800,000. This was 15% higher than the last art market peak in May 2008, which raised $666,184,000.

Although the overall Confidence for the Post-war and Contemporary art market is up in the last 6 months, it is clear that this is continues to be driven by the high-end of the market, particularly prices above $1 million, but also the $500,000 to $1 million category. There is a distinct drop in confidence for the $100,000- $500,000 price segment and below, which suggests notably more uncertainty in the middle- to lower end of the contemporary art market. The high-end of the market (lots selling for more than $1 million) accounted for 88% of the total Post-War and Contemporary Evening auction sales value in 2012 (and 43% in terms of lots sold).