What We've Learned: The Resilience of the Contemporary Print Market in 2022

Written by - Lucy Howie
The Arrival of Spring In Woldgate East Yorkshire by David HockneyThe Arrival of Spring In Woldgate East Yorkshire © David Hockney, 2011

In times of economic uncertainty and volatile markets, the contemporary prints and multiples market has demonstrated its resilience and stability – even in the face of the global downturns that affected the global art market when the pandemic hit. In this article, we have a glance at the performance of the contemporary and print market in the first half of 2022 and hear from market specialists about what makes the print market so distinct.

Since the start of the pandemic, when the global art market saw one of the biggest recessions of the past decade, with a decrease of 22% in sales, the contemporary prints and multiples market began to enjoy growing interest and popularity, growing over 64% from 2019. Since then, the growth of this segment of the market has been steady, marked in particular by an astonishing boom in sales at the start of 2021.

Banksy expert and Founder of MyArtBroker, Joe Syer, explains the reasons behind such growth in the contemporary prints market:

“The contemporary prints and multiples market is unique because of its strong performance despite economic downturns. With the hard-hitting, everyday intricacies of inflation, the cost-of-living crisis and a collapse in living standards, uncertainty is rife. During periods of instability, prints are a way to diversify your portfolio, where more traditional investment options are high risk.”
Joe Syer, Founder & Head of Contemporary.

The second quarter of 2022 has confirmed predictions made at the end of the first quarter. While sales are significantly up from 2020, with a growth of 224.7% from Q2 2020, the boom enjoyed by the print market throughout the start of 2021 is beginning to stabilise. However, with more than 700 lots put at auction and £21 million generated in sales, the prints market is still growing compared to pre-pandemic levels, increasing by 352.9% between Q2 2017 and Q2 2022 in total sales value.

UK£ Total Sales of Contemporary Prints at Auction, Quarterly 2017-2022UK£ Total Sales of Contemporary Prints at Auction, Quarterly 2017-2022

Download our newest report to discover more about the experts’ opinions on this segment of the market. In this report, you can expect to find in-depth analyses of what makes prints a unique asset, a list of the best-performing artists on the market, as well as a list of artists to watch, and more print data that we have sourced just for you.

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