Christie’s sales reach US $ 3.5 billion in the first half of 2021
Global demand, plentiful supply, and art-based non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have propelled Christie’s to $ 3.5 billion in sales in the first half of this year, 13% above total sales over the course of this year. from the same period of 2019 – before the pandemic, the auction house said Tuesday.
The total reflects the strength of the auction house in live and online auctions and private sales, Christie’s CEO Guillaume Cerutti said on Tuesday during a call with reporters. It was a “very strong rebound, a very good performance, in the first half,” said Cerutti.
Christie’s is comparing its 2021 sales so far to those of two years ago, as the art world slipped to a halt in the first part of last year as the coronavirus pandemic was setting up and businesses around the world were closing. The auction house and its competitors were forced to cancel direct sales.
The 2021 results were driven by the sale of 87% of all the lots presented (up from around 82% in previous years), an influx of new buyers of which 31% are of the millennial age, and a “record attendance” of buyers in Asia, whose purchases accounted for 39% of Christie’s global sales value.
Asian buyers were active in sales conducted around the world, not just in the Christie’s auction house in Hong Kong, and in all categories of fine art and luxury.
Christie’s also noted that she had sold seven of the 12 most expensive works at the auction in the first half of the year, including that of Pablo Picasso.
Woman sitting near a window, which sold for over $ 103 million at a 20th century New York nightlife auction in May, and Jean-Michel Basquiat
In that case, which sold for US $ 93.1 million in the 21st Century New York Auction, also in May.
The sale of Beeple’s NFT by Christie’s Daily: the first 5,000 days for US $ 69 million at an online sale in March was also notable for bringing NFTs to the general public and ushering in sales at Christie’s and its competitors. At Christie’s, these sales, including some 30 NFTs, totaled US $ 93.2 million.
According to Marcus Fox, global managing director of 20th and 21st century art at Christie’s, the sales have attracted 400 new customers to the auction house from around the world, with each new sale attracting new collectors. In a press release, Christie’s said 78% of NFT bidders registered with the auction house were new to Christie’s and their average age was 38 to 13 years younger than the average age of other customers. sales.
Of the NFTs purchased, 85%, including Beeple’s Everyday, were paid for with cryptocurrency, Ben Gore, COO of Christie’s, told the press conference.
The first year also highlighted the recalibration of the auction house’s sales strategy, moving from categorizing sales by artistic movements, such as Impressionist or Contemporary, to broad categorization by period. This change allowed Christie’s to reach a wider range of customers, according to Alex Rotter, chair of the combined departments of the 20th and 21st centuries.
The 21st Century category has also created a platform for a range of underrepresented artists, including women artists and artists of color, Rotter said.
While NFTs have attracted new buyers, collectors have also come to Christie’s for the first time through online sales. According to the auction house, two-thirds of new buyers have bought online, 31% are millennials and 32% are women.
Online sales increased 178% from a year ago to reach US $ 22.7 million in the first half, and included the US $ 1.6 million sale in Dubai of a Patek Philippe Sky Moon Whirlpool Ref. 5002P-001, made in 2004, a record for an online watch sale, said Christie’s.
Private sales continued to grow strongly despite the resumption of live auctions. The category had grown 139% in 2020 in part because live sales were dormant amid the pandemic, but so far this year private sales results are up 238% from the first half of 2019 to roughly $ 850 million, in part thanks to pop- exhibition galleries in Southampton, NY, Aspen, Colorado and Monte Carlo.
Cerutti said the overall results reflect the auction house’s changes in response to the market, ranging from NFT’s offering to new categories of sale, to embracing the global nature of the business. . “It was, of course, with the Covid situation, a difficult time, but also in many ways a time when we transformed,” Cerutti said.