Despite an economic downturn, the global art market continues to thrive. A new report from UBS, titled The Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report 2023, finds that the art market has experienced a post-pandemic resurgence.

The study, authored by cultural economist Dr. Clare McAndrew of Arts Economics, shows global art sales have increased 3 percent year-over-year, reaching nearly $68 billion. This follows a sales increase of 31 percent in 2021. This returns the market to near pre-pandemic levels. 

Three key markets led the purchasing resurgence, with the U.S. in the forefront, followed by the U.K. and China. American art investors sales grew by 2 percent year-over-year to 45 percent, while the U.K. fell slightly to 18 percent. This has been one of the strongest recoveries in the U.S. art market, with sales reaching their highest levels at $30 billion.  Meanwhile, China’s stake in global art sales fell 3 percent to 17 percent. 

The report noted that online spending on art remains low, however, it has returned to pre-pandemic levels. 

A return to live auctions has helped significantly bolster sales in the art world. Online sales during the pandemic fell slightly to $11 billion in 2022, a drop of 17 percent from 2021, when online sales peaked at $13.3 billion. 

The sale of the works of female artists has also steadily increased. Galleries who had fewer female artists in their galleries saw their sales growth performance fall, while those who had a gallery with more than 80 percent of works by females saw their sales grow by 21 percent. 

The report noted this demonstrates that “having a higher share of women’s art work has not been a negative factor for sales in 2022, but having very few could be.”