Christie’s Auction house sales are up 26% to almost £3 billion, leading to the highest half-year total in company history. 80% of the highest selling objects in the first half of 2018 were sold at Christie’s.
Continued global demand, audience engagement with the diversity of collecting categories and the historic Rockefeller sales helped drive a 26% rise in Christie’s overall sales to almost £3bn ($4bn, up 35%) compared to £2.35bn in the first half of 2017. Auction sell-through rates across all lots bands increased to 84%. Art sales were up across all three selling platforms, with auction sales increasing 20% to £2.65bn ($3.61bn, up 28%), private sales up 135% totalling £287m ($390.3m, up 151%) and online-only auction sales up 40% to £27.7m ($37.7m, up 50%).
“It has been a record-breaking first half for Christie’s. 27% of all buyers were new to us during this period and we also achieved consistently high sell-through rates averaging 84% by lot. We are also encouraged by an array of strong consignments to offer collectors in the Autumn,” commented Guillaume Cerutti, Chief Executive Officer.
Online art sales attract the largest number of new art buyers (40%). By category the Luxury group continues to draw the highest percentage of new clients at 29%, with Asian clients spending 10% more in this category in the first half of 2018. Decorative Arts was also the second highest entry point for new buyers (19%). The number of new buyers for lots over £1 million rose by 32%.
Global art audiences continue to visit Christie’s both in person and virtually with Rockefeller public exhibition enjoyed by over 85,000 people around the world. To welcome new audiences to collecting, Christie’s ‘Lates’ programme gathers momentum in New York and London complementing increased digital engagement with Christie’s editorial content.
Total spend online was £88m ($119.7m) for the first half of 2018, when combining the totals for Christie’s LIVETM, £60.3m ($82m) and online-only sales, which jumped by 40% to £27.7 million ($37.7 million, up 50%). 47 online sales were held in the first half of 2018 including a third of the volume of lots in the Rockefeller collection being sold online. Sell-through rates by lot for sales online rose to 87% and the average price per lot was $8,483. For the second year running, Christie’s was named top of the annual Hiscox online art platform ranking in April 2018. 44% of all website traffic came from mobile devices, an increase of 19%. Last week, Christie’s hosted the first Art Technology Summit exploring the future of Blockchain on the art market.
Across the board, collections achieved strong results: the celebration of the Cobra artistic movement, which was 100% sold at the new sale venue in Amsterdam; masterpieces by Richard Diebenkorn were sold to benefit the Zucker Family Foundation for $46,068,750 in New York; and the Tisch Collection selling for $107,089,100. As part of Christie’s continued investment in Christie’s Education celebrating its 40th year the London faculty will relocate in September to 42 Portland Place. Since the launch of online learning courses in October 2017, 18% of all students are now enrolled on this platform.
This is Christie’s Outlook for 2018
Current art collection and consignment activity remains particularly strong with the outlook continuing in this vein for the second half of 2018. In London in September Christie’s will offer the first part of the visionary designer Michael S. Smith sale of Interiors, concluding in New York later that month. Christie’s three Shanghai sales will be held in September. In Paris, sales of the collection of the late Juan de Beistegui, including classical furniture, works of art, books and jewellery, will be offered on 10th September to coincide with La Biennale Paris. To celebrate Italian design during the London Design Festival, Christie’s will offer works by Pierluigi Giordano, Paolo Buffa and Paolo Venini on 17th October. The Collection of Eugene V. Thaw, advisor to David Rockefeller, will be sold in a dedicated Collection sale on 30th October, with additional individual highlights offered across Post-War & Contemporary, Impressionist & Modern, American Art and Prints and Multiples sales in London and New York in October, November and April 2019. The Estate’s sale proceeds will benefit the Eugene V. and Clare Thaw Charitable Trust.