Sotheby’s Sales Plunge 25% Despite Bored Millennials Bidding Online
Mon, 08/03/2020 – 20:25
The world’s largest broker of fine and decorative art, jewelry, and collectibles, Sotheby’s, announced Monday that total sales for the first seven months of the year were $2.5 billion, down 25% from the same period a year earlier when it sold $3.3 billion, reported artnet news.
Sotheby’s said $1.9 billion came from auction and online sales (down 30.4%). Private sales totaled $575 million (down 1.5%).
The auction house said declining sales might have been worse if it wasn’t for its online segment.
“The art and luxury markets have proven to be incredibly resilient, and demand for quality across categories is unabated,” said Charles Stewart, Sotheby’s CEO, in a statement.
Stewart said, “although driven by necessity, it’s clear that our clients’ interest and confidence in technology have fundamentally changed.”
Sotheby’s said bidders are getting younger, a trend where millennials are starting to become more dominant in online auctions. About a third of bidders over the period were under 40 years old.
Ahead of lockdowns, Sotheby’s was already building the infrastructure for virtual-only auctions. By the time lockdowns began, online sales had surged to $285 million, more than tripling its online total for all of 2019.