Luxury Roundtable

Art and auctions

State of the art market: US remains No. 1 for transactions as global sales drop 4pc to $65B amid slowdown

March 13, 2024

The Palm Court Feb. 7, 2023 at the Miami Design District with a Giorgio Armani-sponsored sculpture project in honor of Art Basel Miami The Palm Court Feb. 7, 2023 at the Miami Design District with a Giorgio Armani-sponsored sculpture project in honor of Art Basel Miami


The global art market has once again shown its resilience in the face of high interest rates, inflation and political instability.

While the top end of the market slowed in 2023, transaction volumes increased and online sales continued to thrive, according to the Art Market 2024 report newly published by Art Basel and UBS. Cultural economist Clare McAndrew of Arts Economics authored the report.

What factors have driven these changes? Is the COVID-19 pandemic still making an impact?

The Art Market 2024 report offers a comprehensive macro-economic analysis of the state of the global art market in 2023.

The report sheds light on complex global developments that affect the art market and analyses the key trends that have shaped the market over the last year.

Here are five key findings from the report:

Global art sales slowdown, while transaction volume increases

In 2023, global art sales eased to an estimated $65 billion, showcasing resilience despite a slowdown of 4 percent year-on-year and surpassing pre-pandemic 2019 levels.

Notably, transaction volume increased by 4 percent, totaling 39.4 million, which was particularly pronounced at lower price levels, per the report.

United States maintains its position as largest global art market

The U.S. maintained its position as the leading market worldwide, accounting for 42 percent of sales by value.

China became the second-largest global art market, with its share rising to 19 percent, while the United Kingdom moved to third place with a share of 17 percent.

France remained in a stable fourth position at 7 percent of global sales.

Sales in China grow following easing of pandemic measures

Defying the global trend, sales in China increased by 9 percent to an estimated $12.2 billion.

Following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions in the first half of the year, buyers capitalized on sales of postponed auction inventories from 2022 and returned to fairs and exhibitions with enthusiasm.

In the latter half of 2023, the pace moderated, possibly influenced by projections of more gradual economic growth.

Online sales grow in importance

Confidence in global online sales resurged in 2023, reaching an estimated $11.8 billion, a rise of 7 percent year-on-year from 2022, and accounting for 18 percent of the market’s total turnover.

Outlook for 2024

Expected declines in interest rates, weakening inflation and the enduring allure of art, signals a hopeful outlook for 2024 and beyond.

Please click or tap here to download the Art Market 2024 report from Art Basel and UBS, authored by Clare McAndrew of Arts Economics