7th February 2018
2nd edition of ArtTactic South Asian Art Market Report demonstrates growth across region

Last year’s inaugural report set out to analyse the evolving South Asian art market ecosystem and the growing number of non-commercial initiatives over the last 10 years.

This year’s edition primarily focuses on the South Asian gallery sector, particularly looking at sales levels, average prices, analysis of different sales channels, including art fairs and online sales. The survey conducted among galleries also highlights some of the key challenges facing the sector and suggestions for how these challenges might be addressed. The report presents a unique insight into a sector, where very little pre-existing data exists, and offers an alternative view of the South Asian art market seen through the eyes of the galleries.

Key art market sales trend findings include:

  • South Asian art market up 13% in 2017: South Asian art market sales were conservatively estimated at $223 million in 2017, up an estimated 13% from 2016.
  • Gallery sales reach $104.5 million in 2017: Total estimated sales by South Asian galleries was estimated to be $104.5 million in 2017, which account for an estimated 47% of the total South Asian art market sales. Indian gallery sales accounted for an estimated $81.1 million, with the remaining $23.4 million coming from the rest of the South Asian region. Gallery sales were up 8% on average in 2017.
  • Auction sales generated $118.2 million, up 17.1% in 2017: The South Asian auction market saw total sales of $118.2 million, with $48.2 million sold by Indian auction houses (up 1.3% from 2016). Global auction sales of South Asian art were up 17.1% from 2016.
  • Modern art market up 3.1% in 2017, driven by higher domestic auction sales: Auction sales of South Asian Modern art, saw a 3.1% increase in 2017. Whilst international sales of Modern Art at Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Bonhams were 22.5% lower than in 2016, this was offset by stronger domestic sales by Saffronart, AstaGuru and Pundoles. Total sales from these auction houses led to a 15.8% increase in domestic Modern Art sales in 2017.
  • Pre-Modern Indian art auction sales up 87% in 2017: Classical genres such as Pre-Modern art, also saw significant growth in 2017, with an 87% increase in sales. Christie’s and Sotheby’s dominate the Pre-Modern art segment with 74% market share. Of the domestic auction houses, Pundole has the largest share of this market, with 7% overall.
  • Contemporary art continues to struggle to find a foothold at auction, but accounts for an estimated 44% of Indian gallery sales in 2017: Whilst auction sales of both South Asian Modern and Classical art continued to grow in 2017, Contemporary art struggled to gain traction. The auction results stand in stark contrast to the findings from the gallery survey, which estimates contemporary sales through Indian galleries to be around $36 million (44% of estimated Indian gallery sales overall).

“Whilst trends in the South Asian auction market are easy to capture and monitor, lack of market data and opacity in the gallery sector means that little is known about this segment of the market. This year’s gallery survey is the first attempt to address this issue. The objective was to give the gallery sector a voice, to understand how South Asian galleries operate, their motivations, and to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing the sector in the future. It is interesting to note that galleries define success quite differently from traditional businesses. Sales growth and profit are necessary ingredients to build a sustainable business, but are not the most important criteria for success. Building long-term relationships with private and institutional collectors as well as their artists, are the key criteria for the majority of galleries surveyed.” – Anders Petterson, Founder of ArtTactic

See ArtTactic.com for full report