Companies in this industry display and sell original and limited-edition works of art. Two of the world's leading auction houses that handle art are Christie's (based in the UK) and Sotheby's (US). Other major establishments include Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac (Austria), Gerald Peters Gallery (US), Poly International (China), and the Saatchi Gallery (the UK).
Consumer spending, interest in alternative financial investments, and home decorating trends drive demand. The profitability of individual companies depends on effective merchandising and marketing. Large companies enjoy economies of scale in purchasing and marketing. Small companies can compete effectively by offering unique products, providing superior customer service, or serving a local market. The industry is fragmented: the top 50 US companies generate about 45% of revenue.
Products, Operations & Technology
Major products include original paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, and sculptures. Prints include lithographs, giclées, serigraphs/silkscreens, posters, and etchings. Art dealers may also sell collectibles, books, or artist supplies. Services include framing, delivery, and hanging. Companies may provide appraisals, especially for expensive artwork. High-end dealers may help individuals or museum curators find specific pieces of art or develop collections.