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Online-Only Auction Review – January to August 2020

  • Analyst: Lindsay Dewar
  • Pages: 28
  • Access: Analyst

Global online-only auction sales increase by 255% in January to August 2020 compared to full year 2019.

With Covid-19 severely affecting the traditional auction calendar from January to August this year, Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips were quick to leverage their online platforms. Global online-only auction sales from the three auction houses ended up at $596.7 million in January to August 2020, up from $168.2 million for the whole of 2019.

  • All three auction houses experience extraordinary online growth in the first 8 months of the year.
  • Successfully revamped online strategies crystalize in Q2.
  • Sotheby’s gains market share at Christie’s expense.
  • Online-only auctions blur the importance of traditional art hubs, and provide opportunities for more peripheral markets.
  • The first 8 months of 2020 put Phillips on the map for online-only sales.
  • Online sales of Fine Art lead the first 8 months of 2020. But collectible sectors, particularly Jewels & Watches, buoyed online sales.
About this report:

This new report presents a 27-page in-depth comparative analysis of all online-only auction sales at Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips up until end of August 2020. New insights into what collecting categories are trending online, which auction house is spearheading the digital transformation and how online-only sales are blurring the importance of existing art market hubs. Listen to the podcast review of this report.

Analytical tools:
Quarter-on-quarter sales trends across all categories
Average auction price analysis 2019 vs 2020
Market share by location, auction house and type of sale (online-only)
Market share and growth trends by collecting category
Sell-through rates



Global online-only auction sales increase by 255% in January to August 2020 compared to full year 2019.