Q4 Report 2016_Cover
Published15th February 2017
No. Pages18
ResearchersPeter Gerdman,
Report TypeMarket Report

4th Quarter Auction Review 2016

Auction sales in the 4th quarter of 2016 were down 25.1% compared to last year.

Auction sales data shows that the final quarter of 2016 at Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips were down 25.1% compared to the same period in 2015. Total auction sales in the last three months of the year amounted to $3.63 billion (based on 40,154 lots sold) versus $4.86 billion in 2015 (based on 48,647 lots sold). Compared to the 4th quarter in 2015, Christie’s reported a 24% decrease in auction sales, while Sotheby’s confirmed a 29.8% decline for the period. Although the overall auction market continues the negative trend from the first half 2016, Phillips reported positive numbers for the period, with a 11.6% increase in sales compared to 2015.

Phillips increased its fourth quarter market share by 49.1%.

In the last quarter of 2016 Phillips increased their market share to 7% of global auction sales among the three houses, compared to 4.7% in 2015. Christie’s market share for the period came in at 47.1% (up from 46.4% in 2015), while Sotheby’s reported a drop a drop from 48.9% in 2015 to 45.9% in 4th quarter 2016.

Post-war and contemporary art raise $1.25 billion in sales.

Post-war and contemporary art accounted for the highest total with $1.25 billion in 4th quarter auction sales, giving it a 34.3% market share. The second biggest market was the jewels & watches sector with $588 million in reported sales (16.2% market share), followed by modern and Impressionist art, which raised $557 million in sales (15.3% market share).

New York dominated global auctions while Paris has increased its market share in the last quarter of the year.

Auction sales in New York at Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips accounted for 46% of total global sales (down from 58.3% in 2015), ahead of London with 18.5% (up from 14.7%), and Hong Kong with 18.4% (up from 14.8%). Paris is experiencing growth in terms of both market share and sales. The auction market is up 19% from last year with sales totalling $239.3 million for the quarter. Paris market share for the period came in at 6.6% (up from 4.1% in 4Q 2015).


Total auction sales in the 4th quarter of 2016 amounted to $3.63 billion compared $4.86 billion for the same period in 2015. This represents a 25.1% decrease in global sales for Christie's, Sotheby's and Phillips.