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

The Arrival of Spring In Woldgate East Yorkshire by David HockneyThe Arrival of Spring In Woldgate East Yorkshire © David Hockney, 2011
Celine Thompson

Celine Thompson, Post Sales Manager[email protected]

Interested in buying or selling
an artwork?

Browse artworks

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.

Read our latest 2023 Print Market Report here.

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

The data in this article was taken from our 2022 Mid-Year Review report.

For our latest insight, download our 2023 Print Market Report here, to explore expert opinions on the prints and multiples market over the last five years.

Buy and sell artworks

Discover live market data against your collection

The only dedicated prints portfolio management system in the world. Add your collection to track value in real time.

Track demand on our trading floor

Track live demand in works from our artist's portfolios and view access to the works you're looking for.

What to
Invest in Now

Data-driven market commentary on what's driving growth, supply & demand in the Prints and Multiples market.