Sotheby’s Announces 22% Rise In Half Year Sales Figures

Auction sales at Sotheby’s during the first half of 2014 have grown faster than any other international house. With a growth of some 22%*, Sotheby’s witnessed record sales in a number of key categories, leading the market in many of the areas widely considered as the most important indicators of its overall health. The highest price for an Impressionist painting  sold at auction this year was Claude Monet’s Nympheas which sold for £31.7m ($54.1m) at Sotheby’s London in June.
Sotheby’s also dominated auction sales in Asia for the first six months, achieving total sales of HK$3.82 billion / US$490 million, a 47% increase on the previous year, far out-performing Sotheby’s’ nearest competitor, which has announced much lower totals and a decline in sales in the region.
Sotheby’s has led the global market in auctions of Impressionist and Modern Art, with sales in this category alone amounting to $931,492,217 for the first six months of 2014 almost 10% ahead of those of its nearest competitor. Sotheby’s auction sales of Impressionist and Modern Art for the first six months of 2014 have grown by 21%  compared with the same period in 2013, outstripping those of the company’s nearest competitor by a wide margin. 2014 has seen Sotheby’s strongest ever Impressionist & Modern Art sales in London, at £354,115,861
With online sales growing exponentially, Sotheby’s earlier this week announced a ground-breaking partnership with eBay, thereby broadening its audience to a further 145 million potential clients. Online bidders competed for 17% of lots offered in 2013. The number of lots purchased online in 2013 increased 36% vs. 2012. Mobile traffic now accounts for 25% of Sotheby’s total website traffic
Year to date, Sotheby’s has sold 492 lots at over $1mllion – a higher number than at any other international auction house. 26% of buyers in the first half of 2014 were new to Sotheby’s. (A record 1,791 participants from 72 countries took part in Sotheby’s flagship auctions in London this summer.)
Mark Cornell, Sotheby’s Managing Director for Europe, said: ‘The critical selling categories in which Sotheby’s has led the market  this year are those we see attracting the fastest, strongest stream of new buyers, primarily from the new markets. Sotheby’s ability to attract, engage and excite these new players is evidenced both in the exceptional  growth we’ve seen in Asia, and in the record results we’ve seen in London this season, where record numbers of buyers fuelled total sales of £360m – some 13% ahead of those of our nearest competitor.’
Referring to this season’s London sales in particular, Mark Cornell continued: “The record successes we have enjoyed in London this summer are the fruit of the combination of old rules and new players. Old rules still apply:  quality, rarity, provenance and correct estimates are key, and new players care just as much about those criteria as established collectors. It is the confluence of rich offerings and ever-more global demand that has proved so powerful this season, and that will continue to power the market forward.” The London season of sales, just concluded, was Sotheby’s strongest ever.

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