Christie’s first half results for 2012 show that the focus of competition at the top end of the international auction business remains the private sales market and online auctions.
Headline figures beyond the 13% increase in
year-on-year global sales (to £2.2bn/$3.5bn) are the 53% rise in
private sales to £413.4m - now representing 18% of all sales by
value - and the 15% growth in the number of clients bidding via
Christie's Live, the company's live online auction facility.
earlier this month, Christie's are launching online-only sales for
a range of suitable disciplines, such as wine.
The company are also keen to highlight the
healthy growth in their audience, announcing that 19% of all
registered bids come from new clients and sales now have a reach to
124 countries across the world.
Demand from Asia
"While sale totals decreased from the record
levels of 2011 for Asian art and auction sales in Hong Kong, there
was a 31% increase in Asian clients registering to bid in New York
and London," said a spokesman.
Meanwhile they also note that there is a 20%
increase in online activity. This represents the uplift in visitors
to their main website, www.christies.com, but how that correlates
with increased business activity is not so clear.
Results continue to be dominated by
Contemporary and Modern art, which accounted for all top ten lots
sold during the first six months of the year at Christie's, led by
Rothko's oil on canvas, Orange, Red, Yellow from 1961,
which took $77.5m (£50m) on May 8 in New York, setting a world
record at auction for Contemporary art.