Apart from the priceless influence of art & culture in defining our identities and values, this industry is widely recognized as an important driver for economic growth and development. The main strength of the cultural system lies in its diversity. It binds together sectors with different purposes and features, such as the art market, museums and galleries, theater, and performing arts.
When considering museums and galleries worldwide, Western Europe and North America make the difference in terms of number of institutions and attendance. Meanwhile, the U.S. leads the art market, with China and the UK as the other two major hubs.
After being hit hard by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the arts & culture market has accelerated its digitalization. Amid the health crisis and the NFT boom, auction houses strengthened their digital departments and increased online sales. Meanwhile, museums boosted their social media presence during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
In the last 15 years, the art market has proved its resilience to global disruptions, quickly recovering from the shocks of the 2008 financial crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. While the U.S. has retained its role as the leading international art trade hub over the last decade, the UK and China have often interchanged as the second biggest art market.
The market size of the live performance theater industry in the United States shrunk with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with Broadway’s gross revenue reaching its lowest point in over a decade. That said, weekly attendance at Broadway shows in New York increased steadily throughout 2022, showing good signs of recovery after the dramatic impact of the health crisis.
Driven by the sharp rise in digital sales during the COVID-19 lockdowns, the value of online art transactions doubled in size in the first years of the health crisis compared to pre-pandemic levels. The NFT craze in 2021 then gave a further boost to the online segment, with auction houses opening up to crypto payments. While the NFT frenzy lost much steam in 2022, online art sales remain relevant, especially among younger collectors.
Both founded in the United Kingdom during the 18th century, auction houses Christie’s and Sotheby’s are the two giants of the art market worldwide, overshadowing the competitors in terms of global sales. Other leading players in this industry are Phillips and Bonhams, as well as the Chinese companies China Guardian and Poly Auction.
According to UNESCO, the estimated number of museums worldwide is around 104 thousand. Roughly 60 percent of such institutions are in North America and Western Europe. Thus, it comes as no surprise to know that U.S. and European institutions account for over half of the 20 most visited museums worldwide. In this regard, the Louvre in Paris regularly tops the ranking, welcoming nearly eight million visitors in 2022.
The art & culture industry comprises a wide range of markets whose activities are directly related to artistic value and cultural goods or are creative-driven. The segment of art and antiques focuses on the art market, involving auction houses, art dealers, and art fairs. Meanwhile, the museum & galleries sector encompasses all institutions collecting, caring, and exhibiting artifacts of cultural, historical, and scientific importance, as well as works of art. Similar in intent, the heritage, libraries, and archive sector specifically looks at historical sites, funding, services, and use of public libraries and similar facilities.
An important section of the art & culture industry is the one based on live entertainment. In this respect, the theater & performing arts segment includes stage shows like concerts, plays, operas, dance activities, and art performances. Finally, the cultural events sector mainly examines attendance and financial indicators of cultural activities.