The hiking of premiums in March does not appear to have put buyers off at Christie’s.
The auction houses has just announced
a year-on-year rises of 9% in worldwide sales for the first six
months of 2013.
That puts Christie's half-yearly sales
total, including buyer's premium, at £2.4bn ($3.68bn).
Just as importantly, private sales are
again included in the headlines for the auction house's results,
indicating just how much of a priority they remain.
However, the rate of growth in private
sales, both in absolute terms and as a proportion of total sales
turnover at Christie's has slowed considerably. They may account
for 19.4% of all sales by value at £465.2m ($711.8m) now, but in
the first six months of 2012 they already accounted for 18% at
And while the value of private sales
rose by 53% year-on-year January to June 2012, for 2013 that figure
has dropped to 12.5%.
Other headline statistics point to
where competition is seen as being at its fiercest between the
world's top auction houses.
"Fuelled by a global demand for art,
and aided by Christie's online initiatives and investment in growth
markets, auctions continued to attract new collectors at every
price level and from all around the world. Bidders in the first six
months came from 128 countries and 10% of those were new clients,"
said the company.
Their online offer, Christie's Live,
is attracting a far higher proportion of new clients, with 46% of
all buyers at their online-only sales being new to them.
New geographical markets are also a
key battleground. Christie's announced a 15% growth in registered
bidders from Asia, and in addition to being the first international
auction house to win a licence to operate independently in China,
they have now announced an auction in Mumbai in
Tapping into new revenue streams while
staying competitive and profitable has long meant adapting the
traditional auction house business model, as Christie's chief
executive Steven P. Murphy acknowledged: "The hallmark of
Christie's strategy is to build the capability to serve both new
and existing clients wherever they are, from auction to private
sales to online.
"Our first half results are proof of
concept that Christie's is successfully connecting in new markets
and with new clients."