Sotheby's Year-to-Date Sales in 2020 Total $2.5 Billion
INNOVATION & ADAPTATION DRIVE SOTHEBY’S YEAR-TO-DATE SALES IN 2020 TO $2.5 BILLION
MARKET RESILIENCE DEMONSTRATED BY:
30+% New Bidders & Buyers Across All Sales
30+% of All Bidders & Buyers Are Under 40
Nearly 20% of New Bidders & Buyers Hail from Across Asia
ONLINE AUCTIONS EXCEED $285 MILLION
Already More Than Three Times Our *Full-Year* Results in 2019
PRIVATE SALES TOTAL $575 MILLION
Including the Launch of a New Online Viewing Platform, Sotheby’s Gallery Network and East Hampton Gallery
LIVE SUMMER AUCTIONS (JUNE & JULY) ACHIEVE $1.2 BILLION
Including the Debut of a Revolutionary Live-Streamed Sale Format
3 AUGUST 2020 – Charles Stewart, Sotheby’s CEO, commented: “We are proud to conclude the first seven months of the year with $2.5 billion in sales, and I would like to thank our clients and employees for their extraordinary support during the pandemic. Our success was driven by strong customer demand for art and luxury, Sotheby’s unique specialist expertise and trusted client relationships around the world, and our remarkable adaptations and innovations to the current environment. The company is in a strong financial position as we head into the second half of the year and, based on the demand we witnessed in New York, Hong Kong and London over the past month, it promises to be an exciting fall.”
MARKET & COLLECTOR INSIGHTS
Charles Stewart continued: “The art and luxury markets have proven to be incredibly resilient, and demand for quality across categories is unabated. The power of Asia, combined with the sophistication of established collectors and the appetite of new clients, was central to our success over the past seven months, and particularly since March. And although driven by necessity, it’s clear that our clients’ interest and confidence in technology has fundamentally changed.”
In total, Sotheby’s has conducted 250+ live and online sales to-date in 2020 (1 January – 31 July), which were a strong 80% sold overall.
More than 30% of all bidders and buyers in the period had never transacted with Sotheby’s before, and more than 30% of all bidders and buyers are under 40. We saw competition in our auctions from 100+ countries, with nearly 20% of new bidders and buyers in particular coming from across Asia.
A key driver of Sotheby’s success in the first part of 2020, and a big part of what is driving the market today, is Asia. In the first seven months of the year, our sales in Asia totaled nearly $450 million – not to mention the impact Asian collectors had in our international salerooms. Sotheby’s rescheduled April sale series in Hong Kong, which was held in July, was the 7th-consecutive series to exceed $400 million – a testament to Sotheby’s market leading position in Asia for five successive seasons.
Online buyers in both our live and online auctions dramatically increased their appetite to transact at high levels this spring. While the average lot value in our online sales is just over $20,000 (more than double the average in 2019), 12 works have sold for prices in excess of $1 million since March, including both fine art and luxury goods.
Online buying in our live auctions included two benchmark prices achieved in the same evening: first with Joan Mitchell’s Garden Party, sold to an online bidder for $7.9 million, and later with Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Untitled (Head), sold for $15.2 million. That same night, a client from China bid up to $73.1 million on Francis Bacon’s large-format masterpiece Triptych Inspired by the Oresteia of Aeschylus.
INNOVATION & ADAPTATION DRIVES SALES
Charles Stewart continued: “Our team successfully took the circumstances of the past several months and turned them into opportunities, which advanced numerous initiatives that will likely change our business forever. Innovation is underway in every corner of the company: from creative sale formats that maximize flexibility for our clients, to the deployment of new digital tools that allow more people to engage with us than ever, to the launch of multiple buy-now initiatives.”
Beginning in March, with lockdown measures in place around the globe, Sotheby’s dramatically accelerated our online sales program in order to meet the continued demand and needs of collectors. We converted a number of traditional live auctions online, added wholly new online sales to the calendar, and continued to source and sell remotely.
Combined with the overall buoyancy of the market, those efforts propelled Sotheby’s online sales to grow a staggering 540% in the first seven months of 2020 (compared to the same period in 2019). In total, we held 180+ online auctions across 44 collecting categories that have raised more than $285 million, with sales continuing to close daily.
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