Art Dealers & Galleries Industry Profile

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Excerpt from Art Dealers & Galleries Industry Profile

Companies in this industry display and sell original and limited-edition works of art. Two of the world's leading auction houses that handle art are Christie's (UK) and Sotheby's (US). Other major establishments include Beijing Poly International Auction (China), Gerald Peters Gallery (US), the Saatchi Gallery (UK), and Thaddaeus Ropac (Austria).

Total global sales by art dealers and galleries (including auction sales) in 2018 were $67.4 billion, up 6% over the previous year, according to the Art Market 2019 Report by UBS AG and Art Basel. The US accounted for 44% of global sales in 2018, followed by the UK (21%), and China (19%). Despite the 6% growth, 57% of art dealers saw their sales decline in 2018, with less than 5% of dealers accounting for 50% of sector sales. From 2008 to 2018, the number of galleries opening every year has dropped 86%, according to the report.

The US art dealers and galleries industry includes 4,850 establishments (single-location companies or units of multi-location companies). Annual revenue for the industry in 2017 was about $9.8 billion.


Consumer spending, interest in alternative financial investments, and home decorating trends drive demand. The profitability of individual companies depends on effective merchandising and marketing. Large companies enjoy economies of scale in purchasing and marketing. Small companies can compete effectively by offering unique products, providing superior customer service, or serving a local market. The industry is fragmented: ...

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