This is a concise overview that captures the key findings from the Art Basel and UBS Survey of Global Collecting in 2023.

Key Findings:

  1. Auction Sector Trends:
  • H1 2023 witnessed a 16% decline in aggregate sales at major auction houses.
  • Despite the dip, it exceeded the first half of 2019, accounting for 84% of 2022’s record values.

2. Global Art Trade:

  • In 2022, art and antiques imports peaked at $30.7 billion, and exports reached the second-highest at $33.4 billion.
  • Despite a global decline in Q1 2023, key hubs like Hong Kong, the UK, and the US experienced double-digit increases in art inflows.

3. HNW Collector Spending:

  • Median spending on art by HNW collectors hit $65,000 in 2022, rising by 19% from 2021.
  • Mainland Chinese collectors saw a robust return to spending, reporting the highest median expenditure in H1 2023 at $241,000.

4. Art Medium Preferences:

  • Majority of spending in 2023 focused on paintings (58%), with digital art representing only 3% of HNW collectors’ total expenditure.
  • Gen X collectors surpassed millennials in spending on paintings, while Gen Z showed a preference for prints and digital art.

5. Gender Representation:

  • Works by female artists constituted 39% of collections in 2023, with collectors spending over $10 million annually showing an increased share (55%).
  • The overall ratio of spending on works priced over $1 million declined, indicating potential buyer caution.

6. Wealth Portfolio Allocation:

  • The average allocation to art in HNW collectors’ portfolios dropped to 19% in 2023 from the peak of 24% in 2022.
  • The allocation increased with collector wealth, ranging from 15% for those under $5 million to almost 30% for UHNW collectors.

7. HNW Collector Buying Channels:

  • In-person buying continued to rise in 2023, with 86% purchasing from a dealer and 58% making art fair acquisitions.
  • Dealer and art fair spending increased, with auctions remaining a significant channel for three-quarters of respondents.

8. Collector Motivations and Outlook:

  • Self-focused motivations ranked highest at 37%, followed by financial motivations at 28%.
  • 54% of HNW collectors planned to buy art in 2024, with paintings being the preferred choice, and 26% intended to sell, anticipating future price improvements.