The long-standing annual report on the state of the global art market was released a few days ago. Economist Clare McAndrew and team estimated total sales grew 6% year over year to $67.4 billion: its second highest level in the last decade. Roughly 43% of the value in the market was realized through sales at public auction, which totalled to $29.1 billion last year.
High value artworks benefited disproportionately from growth in the auction market. Works priced over $1 million dollars increased in value by 13% and accounted for 61% of total sales, while representing fewer than 1% of objects sold.
Post-War and Contemporary art continued to dominate other collecting categories in 2018 and drove $7.2 billion in auction sales, up 16% from 2017, despite a 5% decrease in the number of lots sold.