Luxury Collectors Market in COVID-19

Goals

To help support the assumption that luxury collector assets hold their value over periods of economic volatility by researching how the luxury collectors market has been affected by COVID-19, specifically the asset classes of watches, art, and cars.

Early Findings

Watches

  • Cancellations of auctions/shows have been noticeable in the watch industry.
  • Baselworld and Watches & Wonders Geneva both cancelled or postponed their shows, which are two of the largest watch events in the world.
  • Since the art world has seen benefits in moving shows to virtual showcases in the past, the watch industry may follow this pattern to combat the financial issues from COVID-19.

Art

  • Artworks are discretionary purchases, meaning you don't need them but want them.
  • Typically, sales drop off when consumer confidence waivers and the purchasing of fine art is tied to the performance of a buyer's investment portfolio.
  • In contrast to this connection, buyers during the COVID-19 pandemic have not "fled from major art-market events." The sales for the art shows in February at Frieze Los Angeles, Felix, and ADAA Art shows were high.
  • While there is some positive information, many art handlers are facing economic and financial hardships due to the closure of museums and galleries.
  • Frieze New York was scheduled to open on May 6, but has been postponed.
  • Artnet News conducted a study and found that luxury art even sold for great prices during recession times, such as in 2008-2009. While the market dropped in 2009, it still saw some major purchases.
  • Art galleries have moved their showings to virtual platforms, which has proven to be a success for many galleries in the past.

Cars

  • According to Hagerty, the two biggest factors for the collector car industry are oil prices and unemployment rates. Both of these factors play a role in how much money people have and are willing to spend on cars.
  • Hagerty predicts the stock market and price of oil will have the first impact on the industry, with cars being worth less than $100,000 seeing a drop, but cars worth more than $100,000 will stay relatively the same.
  • Unemployment and auto rates during COVID-19 will have a slower impact on the industry and will depend on how long the pandemic and restrictions last.
  • The Amelia Island auctions were conducted without any issue, but many other auctions have been either cancelled or delayed, such as Barrett Jackson, RM Sotheby's, and Mecum.

Luxury Collectors Market

Summary of Findings

  • Our initial one-hour research found some information regarding how COVID-19 is affecting the luxury collector market. While there are some positives, in that these markets have faced a recession before, most of the information that was found pointed to the watch market and art market facing the biggest problems due to the high number of cancelled shows and closing of galleries. However, the art industry has switched to virtual shows which may help continue sales.
  • The research showed the luxury car collector market will have a slower impact and some may choose to not sell their cars or buy cars until this issue passes.
  • Most of the information regarding luxury items during COVID-19 related to the luxury industry as a whole, with special attention to the luxury watch and fashion markets.

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