According to the recent report published by Artprice* Asian auction market is the only one showing growth at the moment. In the first half of 2016 China showed 18% growth and returns to a leading position as the world’s largest art marketplace. This information is also supported by the recent announcement made by Sotheby’s on 22% increase in its Hong Kong sales for the first two quarters of 2016 compared to last year.
In 2015 art market in China was on the third biggest in the world with 19% of market share, UK taking the second place (21%) and US being the leader (43%) (TEFAF 2016 report). Recent data shows that the problem in Western auction world is a reduction in offers of major masterpieces in all categories.
THE NUMBER OF TRANSACTIONS ARE RISING
Artprice report, for example, states that low supply of masterpieces reduces Western auctioneers’ turnover, though the number of transactions is rising. Sotheby’s President and CEO Tad Smith also paid attention to this tendency on 8 August saying that though the “collectors were still buying top quality works, consignors are showing a bit of reluctance to sell their works at the same time”.
8th of August 2016, Sotheby’s announced its second quarter results with “$89.0 million net income and diluted earnings per share of $1.52 compared to $67.6 million and $0.96, respectively, a year ago”. This increase in earnings was likely due to the timing of the company’s London contemporary art sales, which were held in the second quarter this year, but third quarter last year. And though the auction house’s sales have made the low estimates, there was a 31% drop in overall sales volume compared with the same period in 2015.
However, the general mood on Sotheby’s performance seems to be optimistic, and last month a Chinese life insurance company run by the grandson-in-law of Chairman Mao Zedong disclosed it bought a 13.5% stake in Sotheby's. Taikag Life Insurance Co. became the largest shareholder in Sotheby’s. The company confirmed its “positive view” of Sotheby’s performance and also potential interest in a board seat.
Thierry Ehrmann, Artprice’s founder and CEO, said that “China’s return to the global leader position with a turnover up by more than $570 million is a major surprise.” Another surprise on the global art market, according to Ehrmann, is “the generally low unsold rate and the dynamic pace of transaction growth, both clearly demonstrating the art market’s capacity for adjustment and safe-haven attractiveness compared with financial markets and standard investment returns”. The full artprice report can be read here.
It is due to this healthy and stable art market that OMNIA sees increased potential for our asset-backed wealth management. Not only are we securing investments and investors, but we are also fostering the willingness of selling art and therefore we are also acting as a maindriver of the increase of transactions which leads to a higher turnover.
* Artprice, is one of the leading platforms in Art Market information since 1987, it has systematically analyzed over 3500 auction sales to produce a detailed half-year report covering public auctions of Fine Art (painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, printmaking and installations).