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ART DEALERS in the UNITED STATES

Provides a survey of art dealer activity in the U.S. of sales, location, customers, legal form, and employment for the 25 largest metropolitan areas in terms of gallery sales based on census data (first version: March 2006, frequently updated).

Graphs and tables are based on U.S. Census data for the category of "Art Dealers" (NAICS 453920, SIC 5999, Retail Trade/Miscellaneous Store Retailers), which is defined as establishments primarily engaged in retailing original and limited edition art works. Included in this industry are establishments primarily engaged in displaying works of art for retail sale in art galleries.
The number of galleries reported are the number of establishments, where an establishment is a single physical location at which business is conducted.

Quote any reference to or use of this page or any part of it as
Herreiner, D. K. (2008), "Art Dealers in the United States", mimeo, Loyola Marymount University, http://myweb.lmu.edu/herreiner/census.html.




20-Year Growth
© Dorothea K Herreiner
Sales numbers are in real terms with 2002 as base year.
Total sales are in millions. Average sales are the sales per gallery.
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Not surprisingly, New York emerges as the most important market for art galleries. The sales per gallery are almost twice that of any other metropolitan area, and so is the number of galleries. Contrary to all other metropolitan areas, in New York sales per art galleries are almost as high as the average sales for other establishments, which probably reflects both the power of New York art galleries and the space and resulting size constraints for other businesses, at least in Manhattan.
Galleries in the New York area also pay their employees substantially more relative to other businesses than galleries do in other metropolitan areas. The New York metropolitan area is the only one where the average payroll per gallery is higher than the average payroll per store for any other establishment. Pay per employee is almost 3 times as high for art galleries in New York than for the average other retail establishment. In Las Vegas that ratio is 1.7, and in Detroit and New Orleans it is just above 1.5. In all other areas an art gallery employee is paid on average approximately as much as an employee in any other store on average (range 0.93 to 1.29).
Not only is the number of art galleries more than twice as high in New York as anywhere else, the "Big Apple" also has a disproportionately high share of art galleries relative to all businesses in New York (6 times larger). The only other two locations with a larger relative share of art galleries in the business community are Kahului and Wiluku on Hawaii (13.7 times) and Salinas south of San Francisco (7.6 times).

Galleries in Metropolitan Areas 2002

# Galleries % Total Sales % Average Sales
New York - Newark - Edison 708 11.2 1,502,044,000 35.5 2,121,531
Los Angeles - Long Beach - Santa Ana 311 4.9 223,113,000 5.3 717,405
San Francisco - Oakland - Fremont 180 2.8 176,215,000 4.2 978,972
Chicago - Naperville - Joliet 188 3.0 134,102,000 3.2 713,309
Miami - Fort Lauderdale - Miami Beach 220 3.5 116,038,000 2.7 527,445
Philadelphia - Camden - Wilmington 117 1.8 115,360,000 2.7 985,983
Detroit - Warren - Livonia 78 1.2 110,243,000 2.6 1,413,372
Boston - Cambridge - Quincy 116 1.8 76,333,000 1.8 658,043
Phoenix - Mesa - Scottsdale 111 1.8 75,747,000 1.8 682,405
Dallas - Phoenix - Fort Worth 95 1.5 49,178,000 1.2 517,663
Washington - Arlington - Alexandria 131 2.1 46,916,000 1.1 358,137
Salinas 57 0.9 42,648,000 1.0 748,211
Las Vegas - Paradise 40 0.6 42,010,000 1.0 1,050,250
Atlanta - Sandy Springs - Marietta 95 1.5 41,618,000 1.0 438,084
San Diego - Carlsbad - San Marcos 63 1.0 39,587,000 0.9 628,365
Seattle - Tacoma - Bellevue 96 1.5 37,508,000 0.9 390,708
Denver - Aurora 77 1.2 36,681,000 0.9 476,377
New Orleans - Metairie - Kenner 56 0.9 36,652,000 0.9 654,500
Kahului - Wailuku 39 0.6 33,657,000 0.8 863,000
Minneapolis - St.Paul - Bloomington 82 1.3 29,981,000 0.7 365,622
Houston - Baytown - Sugar Land 67 1.1 28,374,000 0.7 423,493
Riverside - San Bernardino - Ontario 40 0.6 26,914,000 0.6 672,850
St. Louis 42 0.7 24,215,000 0.6 576,548
Portland - Vancouver - Beaverton 54 0.9 23,248,000 0.5 430,519
Santa Fe 115 1.8 N/A N/A N/A
Metropolitan areas the Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) as defined by the Census - see the maps () for details.
Percentages (%) are shares of the nationwide total. Average sales are the sales per gallery.
Only MSAs with annual sales >$20,000,000 for all galleries in that MSA are reported.
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Somewhat surprisingly, art galleries have a smaller share of households and individuals as customers than the average retail store (86.3%). A larger share of art galleries sales goes to resale (15.4% vs 4.4%).

Customers of Art Galleries 2002

% Sales
Households and Individuals 75.3
Retailers for Resale 11.5
Wholesale for Resale 3.9
Businesses 1.2
Exports 0.7
Government 0.3
Others 7.0
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Art galleries are more "personal" businesses than many others. They have substantially more individual or partnership owners than other retail businesses have. As a reference point, among all retailers 77% are organized as corporations, 16% are individually owned, and 7% are held in partnerships.

Legal Form of Art Galleries 2002

% Galleries
Corporations 64.9
Individual Owners 24.8
Partnerships 10.3
Others 0.08
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The art dealer/gallery industry is one of the least concentrated industries in the U.S.
The 4 largest galleries have one location only. Among the 8 largest galleries only one has two locations.
Among the 50 largest firms there are 159 locations, an average of approximately 3 per gallery.
The four largest galleries make 9% of the total sales in the industry and pay 17% of total salaries.
The 50 largest galleries make 29% of total sales and pay 27% of total industry salaries.
[These numbers are based on firms as defined by the Census - one firm may have several establishments.]

Almost one third of all galleries that operate year round do annual sales worth between $100,000 - $250,000.
A quarter of all year-round galleries have sales revenues of $250,000 - $500,000 per year.
One sixth of them make between $500,000 and $1 million.
One tenth of all galleries that operate the entire year have annual sales between $1million and $2.5 million, and another tenth made between $50,000 and $100,000.



Employment Size
© Dorothea K Herreiner
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Three quarters of all galleries that operate year round have 4 employees or fewer; approximately one quarter each have 1 employee, 2 employees, and 3-4 employees. On average all galleries have 3.5 paid employees. Approximately one fifth of all galleries do not operate the entire year.

For the metropolitan areas shown above, there is a fairly strong correlation between the average sales per gallery and the average number of employees of per gallery: more employees - more sales, and/or more sales - more employees. The highest average number of employees per gallery are found in Kahului and Wiluku (5.7), Las Vegas (5.4), Detroit (5.2), and New York (4.5).


Annual Sales Distribution
© Dorothea K Herreiner
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Last updated   Feb 2, 2010


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