BADA survey results

Posted: 2013-06-21 20:54:34 - Last updated: 2013-06-21 21:18:17

Upper end dealers doing good business, internet of increasing importance.

The annual combined sales of BADA members are estimated at £822 million (c. $1.2 billion) per annum, slightly down on the previous year. 35% of BADA members reported an increase in sales in 2012 when compared to the previous year and sales for 76% of members either remained static or improved. A quarter of members reported a fall in sales.

About the 2012 survey

The British Antique Dealers’ Association (BADA), has published these conclusions as part of the key findings contained in its 2012 annual membership survey. The survey of members provides financial markers for some of the key antique and art dealers in Britain.

Unusual among surveys of this nature, the BADA Annual Survey always achieves a high response rate; this time the survey was based on results from 53% of BADA’s members (2011: 50%), lending authority to its findings.

Market variations

As with the previous survey the headline figures mask a more complex story, against an ever-changing economic climate and an unpredictable customer base. Dealers in higher-priced works serving international buyers are continuing to do business, with opportunities to sell to the very rich, particularly at the major London and overseas fairs. For the first time the survey specifically investigated whether the size of a member’s business had any impact on whether the business was growing and we found that on average members with turnovers of more than £2 million pa experienced larger than average growth.

Ironing out of disparities between disciplines

Interestingly, the large disparities in average growth between different disciplines evident the previous year appear now to have evened out somewhat. For example, in 2011 dealers in Asian art works were reporting among the highest increases in sales, resulting in an average sales growth of 7%, whereas this year the average increase was just 1%. 35% of furniture dealers reported increased sales, and 22% reported a decrease; both of these figures were slightly lower than the previous year.

The international market

Looking at international sales both in 2012 and 2011 for dealers in London and the adjacent southern counties 55% of the value of their sales were exported, whereas for dealers elsewhere the figure was 31%.

Growing importance of the internet

BADA members indicated in their responses the extent to which they depend on the internet for business. 63% reported making sales via the internet; the proportion of all sales made in this way by the membership as a whole is still relatively low, at just 9% - slightly up on 6% of the previous year. Respondents’ sales initiated via the internet now come to £18 million annually.

Continuing importance of antiques and fine art fairs

Sales at fairs in the medium and long term have continued to grow, for example in 2007 they represented 21% of total sales, increasing to 29% last year. However, in 2012 the figure decreased slightly to 28%, but it is not entirely clear what has caused this, although the increase in internet sales could be a contributory factor.

The popularity of the BADA Fair among the membership is demonstrated by the survey. 24 respondents cited it as their most successful fair, more than double the next most cited fair, Masterpiece London.

BADA Secretary General's opinion

Commenting on the survey, BADA Secretary General, Mark Dodgson, said:

"Whilst I am pleased that one third of members reported increased sales I am conscious that a quarter of the membership told us their sales had dropped.

"Analysis of the results showed that smaller dealers are the ones who have found things to be toughest. At the same time, those members who have the resources to take the higher-risk, higher-reward approach of targeting international clients, for example at fairs, have done some good business.

"Our members’ responses to questions about the internet bear out what many of us are observing anecdotally. It is significant that just under a tenth of the value of all sales now come about because of the internet and nearly two-thirds of members now make sales in this way, even if just low-level ones. The increasing importance of the various antique web portals is also worth noting and I am delighted that the most successful portal for members is that associated with our own website, It is marvellous to see that an ever-increasing number of members are devoting resources to selling on the internet and are continually striving to improve their web presence."

In summary the key findings of the survey are:

• BADA members’ combined annual turnover is estimated to be £822 million, equivalent to $1.2 billion.

• 35% of members experienced improved sales, compared to 37% recorded the previous year. A smaller proportion of members experienced a fall in sales than a year earlier: 24% compared to 27% in 2011. 41% reported no change.

• The proportion of export sales, at 52%, was the same as in the previous year and, at 24% of all sales, the USA remained the largest overseas market for the members as a whole. Although London and South-eastern dealers' sales to American buyers fell slightly, for dealers outside this area sales to the US increased.

• Members with annual turnovers above £2 million experienced considerably higher growth in sales than was the case for smaller dealers.

• 63% of respondents sell via the internet and these sales represent 9% of total sales; an increase on 6% the previous year. Although 19% said they source stock from the internet, this represented only 1% of purchases by value.

• 60% of respondents display their stock on an internet portal and the most used portal was the Online Galleries system on, with 64% of users having made sales from their online gallery.

• Although three quarters of Asian art members experienced increased or stable sales, this was a lower proportion than the 94% who did so the previous year. This suggests that growth in the Asian art market is not quite as fast as 12 months earlier. 75% of our Asian art dealers still reported annual turnovers in excess of £500,000.

• 28% of all business was conducted at fairs (29% in 2011). Shops and galleries account for half of all sales.

A copy of the BADA Annual Survey 2012 may be downloaded as a PDF file in the attachment below.


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