This study aims to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the strategies and outcomes of art galleries in Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands. The business areas studied are demand, digitalisation and online art fairs. The objective is also to assess what changes will remain as a definitive deconfinement begins, driven by vaccination. The data collection was done through an email survey sent to 420 galleries with 60 valid responses. The questionnaire was structured to assess galleries' outcomes and strategies in 2019, during the first 12 months of the pandemic, and for the 12 months following June 2020 (when the survey was sent). In addition, a fourth type of question focused on the subjective counterfactual outcome, i.e. what would have happened if the pandemic had not occurred. This recently introduced method allows for a subjective assessment of the causality of the health crisis on the art gallery business. The results unsurprisingly showed a widespread impact on all the factors studied. Nevertheless, the business areas related to demand (share of sales to regular collectors, share of new artists sold, profit and sales revenue) were only ephemerally affected and are heading towards a return to the pre-crisis situation for deconfinement. The same conclusion applies to labour costs. For the factors related to digitalisation (share of sales facilitated by digital tools, prioritisation of digital instruments and online price transparency), the impact was sustained and extends into the next twelve months. The only exception is the digital art fairs which although somewhat successful during confinement, are likely to leave room for the return of in-person fairs.

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I. Mazza (Isidoro)
Cultural Economics and Entrepreneurship
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

A. Delescaille (Adrien). (2021, August 30). The Impact of COVID-19 on the Gallery Business. Cultural Economics and Entrepreneurship. Retrieved from