TEFAF report: China the most important new art market


China remains the most important of all of the newer art markets, both in terms of the size of its domestic sales and the importance of its buyers globally, and was the second largest market by value worldwide in 2013, with sales of €11.5 billion, according to the newly released Art Market Report 2014 from The European Art Foundation (TEFAF).

In 2013 public auction sales in China reached €7.5 billion, with 29% by value taking place in Hong Kong and 71% in Mainland China. The volume of auction sales in China in 2013 increased by 8% year-on-year, but buy-ins remained persistently high, at 53%, the highest average rate in the last ten years, states the report.

“The majority of sales at auction in China in 2013 were within the fine art sector, (accounting for 66% of total sales). The largest sector was Chinese painting and calligraphy, with 56% of the market by value,” it states. “Although not unique to China, late and non-payment by winning bidders at auction remains a persistent problem in the art market in China.”

In 2013, based on conservative estimates, there were 308,525 businesses selling art and antiques worldwide, consisting of dealers, galleries, antique shops and auction houses. Businesses in the art market in 2013 directly supported 2.5 million jobs, including over 400,000 in the EU, 587,000 in the US and 300,930 in China.

In 2013, it is conservatively estimated that the global art trade spent €12.1 billion on a range of external support services directly linked to their businesses.

 The highest single item of expenditure in 2013 by the art trade was on advertising and marketing at €3.2 billion (26% of total spending), of which 79% was spending by auction houses, states the report. “Spending on art fairs, although only incurred by dealers, was the second largest at €1.9 billion,” it adds.