In an email sent to dealers on November 14, 1stdibs chief commercial officer Cristina Miller explained the increase in terms of growing competition “for the sophisticated online customer”.
UK dealers on 1stdibs contacted by ATG said they were absorbing news of the increase, ef fective from December 1, and evaluating their next move.
As well as a monthly fee, the site also charges dealers a sliding commission rate on each sale. For antiques, the commission is 5% on higher value items.
“It seems an excessive hike, but we won’t leave 1stdibs as it’s good for cash flow, though not for brand building,” one dealer told ATG. Since 2017, the identity of the dealer in a 1stdibs transaction only becomes evident at point of purchase.
Access to US decorators
Cambridge furniture dealer Martin Beazor said the increase was “a big one to absorb” but the site provided his business with “access to the all-important US decorator market”.
In its November 14 email, 1stdibs listed its investment in “a best-in-class engineering team, fraud protection, search engine optimisation, digital advertising and social media” to generate six million monthly qualified visits.
A 1stdibs spokesperson told ATG that several dealers subject to the increase were “moving from an introductory rate to the company’s standard vintage and antique contract, which also means the commission rate decreases”.
The subscription rate increase “puts UK dealers on par with the rest of European dealers on the site,” she said. The increase would “pay for itself if the dealer has just one or two more sales per year,” she added.
Timothy Langston, who trades online and in shops in Pimlico and Petworth, said: “We are in a fortunate position, as a growing business, to be able to accommodate this price increase. Overall, 1stdibs is improving the user experience, particularly on customer response times.”
• Founded in 2001 as a listings-only site for antiques. From 2016, 1stdibs facilitates transactions.
• In 2012, 1stdibs buys rival portal and website builder Online Galleries, closing it in 2019 to focus on 1stdibs.
• Site hosts stock from 1800 vintage and antique dealers globally. Among 1stdibs investors is Group Artemis, parent company of Christie’s.