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In the wake of the pandemic rocking the industry and looming recession threats, the Chinese art market in 2021 has been surprisingly robust, according to the tenth annual report on the global Chinese art auction market, produced in partnership with Artnet and CAA, the Chinese Association of Auctioneers.
According to data from Artnet’s Price Database, global auction sales are up 60% year over year. This is based on both a “return to normal” in business and an increase in global financial wealth, which grew by 10.6% from 2020 to 2021. The total pool of global wealth has been estimated at around $530 trillion according to the Boston Consulting Group’s 22nd Annual Report. Global Wealth Management Report, and a desire for real assets, including fine art, have helped boost collectors’ interest in the market.
Chinese works of art and antiques generated $7.4 billion in global auction sales last year, a 30 percent market increase from sales of $5.7 billion last year. There is still a long way to go before sales hit a record high of nearly $12 billion in 2011. In mainland China, where severe shutdowns and a zero-Covid policy remain in effect, $5.9 billion dollars in sales were generated, a 36% increase from 2020, accounting for nearly 80% of total sales. Overseas sales of Chinese art and antiques totaled $1.5 billion, an increase of 13%. In 2020, by comparison, the Chinese art market has shrunk by almost a third.
Europe continues to be the best performing area for total sales value, increasing 48% over last year, and the market share of lots sold accounted for 44% of total revenue at the foreign. Conversely, market share in Asia (excluding mainland China) and North America continues to slow.
The report also revealed that the mainland China market recorded 36% growth over last year, propelling the rebound of the global Chinese art and antiques market, reaching the highest figures since 2014. Despite economic fluctuations and pandemic pressures, the opening of new art museums, a return to art fairs, and exhibitions held by mainland auction houses like Yongle and China Guardian have helped spark interest. interest and restore the confidence of collectors.
The number of lots offered and the number of lots sold increased year on year, by 31% and 29% respectively. However, in the rarefied market for ultra-high-priced lots priced above 100 million yen ($14 million), only 11 examples of Chinese art and antiques found buyers in 2021, compared to 17 lots in 2020. The study notes, however, that the number of lots sold above 10 million yen ($1.4 million) increased by 8% to 833 lots, the highest amount for nearly a year. decade. Within the middle market, of lots priced between 500,000 and 10 million yen ($70,000 to $1.4 million), 9,017 lots were sold, representing a 40% increase from compared to 2020.
The pandemic has also ushered in technological advancements to offer online auctions for remote sales as well as online-only auctions. In 2021, mainland auction houses held more than 5,800 sales online alone, a 6% increase in total sales volume.
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