Picturing a resilient future

Fine Art Logistics | Market overview and recent M&A activity

Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet... What's ahead for the fine art market and the associated services that support this international industry?

In this report, James Ellis, Oaklins’ M&A advisor for fine art logistics, examines the global trends in the fine art market, how these are evolving and the international M&A opportunities that could arise in associated services.

Fine art and antiques have captured the imagination of collectors around the world for centuries, due to aesthetic considerations, of course, but also their compelling investment potential. They are recognized as an important and resilient asset class for investors — high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs), in particular — across the economic cycle. During the COVID-19 crisis, which has impacted the wealth of many global investors, the resiliency and diversity offered by fine art has become even more important.

The significant monetary and rarity value of art and antiques drives a large international industry for associated logistics services — including storage in secure, temperature-controlled warehouses, as well as careful handling and shipping of items, often across international borders. In 2019, it was estimated that the global art trade spent US$19.9 billion on a range of ancillary and external support services directly linked to their businesses (Source: Arts Economics, 2020). Packaging and shipping activities were worth US$2.2 billion, employing approximately 41,000 globally.

In the meantime, auction houses ­– one of the preferred sales channels – are investing in enhancing their online presence, giving keen buyers the chance to snap up whatever catches their eye from the safety of their home. Businesses with storage capabilities and viewing rooms are coming out ahead as the lack of fairs and exhibitions has increased demand for safe storage facilities, plus clients and dealers still wish to view art while being able to socially distance.

Fine art is one of the most resilient asset classes across the economic cycle, attracting significant interest from HNWIs globally. There is a significant multi-billion-dollar international industry supporting the packing, shipping and storage of this fine art. JAMES ELLIS, FINE ART LOGISTICS M&A ADVISOR, OAKLINS

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In this report, we examine the global and regional trends in the fine art market, the purchasers of the art, where art is stored and how often it is sold, along with the logistics services that support this market globally. We also summarize international M&A transactions in the fine art logistics space over the last five years.

Download the full report as pdf, for more expert commentary in this sector.

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James Ellis London, United Kingdom
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