Art market in the United Kingdom - Statistics & Facts

The arts and cultural industries form a rich and diverse sector in the United Kingdom, making it one of the world’s leading art markets. The arts and antiques market generates around 8 billion British pounds a year, helped in part by British contemporary artists such as Peter Doig, who alone brought in 66 million U.S. dollars in auction turnover in 2015. The UK is also home to cultural institutions such as the Tate galleries, which attract around 7 million visitors a year.


The wider contribution of arts and culture to the UK economy should not be underestimated. Over 16 thousand enterprises work in the field of artistic creation in the UK, contributing 2.44 billion British pounds to the GVA of the non-financial economy in 2014. Employment across the music, performance and visual arts economy (in both creative and non-creative roles) also increased between 2011 and 2014, reaching 347 thousand people.

Despite its economic value, the arts and culture sector is still largely supported through public funding. Arts Council England, the national agency providing government funding for the arts in England, provided 406 million British pounds in subsidies in 2014/15 to its portfolio of regularly funded organizations. Investment is distributed across various art forms including music, dance, literature and libraries, with theater organizations receiving the highest amount. However, even organizations traditionally dependent on sponsorship create over half of their income through their own trading and supplementary activities.

Engagement in arts and cultural activities is an important part of British society. According to the Art Council’s 2014/15 Taking Part survey, around 62 percent of people in England engaged with the arts three times or more in the last year and over half visited a museum or gallery at least once. Digital participation in arts and culture is also becoming increasingly significant, with 37 percent engaging with the arts via the internet in 2014/15.

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Art market in the United Kingdom (UK) - Important statistics

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