Christie’s International, has announced that 2009 sales totaled £2.1 billion/$3.3 billion, a 24% decrease in £ (35% decrease in $) over 2008 sales. Sales totals include private sales of £265.7 million/$417.2 million, a decrease of 1% by £ on 2008 figures, and reflect those brokered by Christie’s as well as sales conducted by Christie’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Haunch of Venison.
In 2009, Christie’s achieved 56.4% global auction sales market share against its main competitor and sold 61% of the works sold over $10 million and 60% of the lots sold over $5 million. Christie’s sold 4 of the top 5 and 7 of the top 10 works of art sold during the year. For the year, Christie’s sold a total of 381 works of art at auction for more than $1 million. The market clearly demonstrated sustained demand for genuinely rare masterpieces, works fresh to the market and works of great provenance.
While sales volumes decreased on previous years, the stability of the art market and the appetite of the global buying audience were demonstrated by a significant increase in average auction sold rates by lot. In 2009, average auction sold rates rose 5% to 80% from 75% last year. The % of lots sold at or above high estimate also increased to 36%, illustrating sustained price levels and the continued intrinsic value of art.
“2009 was a remarkable year for Christie’s,” said Edward Dolman, CEO of Christie’s International. “Despite the wider economic environment, the art market maintained momentum and Christie’s continued its leadership across the globe, taking market share against its closest competitor, and selling the most expensive lot of the year, Head of a muse by Raphael for £29.2 million ($47.9 million €32.2 million), a world record price for any work on paper, the 2nd highest price for any Old Master painting or drawing and a world record price for the artist at auction. In addition, an astonishing record was set by the sale of the Collection of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé, the highest grossing single owner collection sale ever presented.”
In 2009, Christie’s private sales activity grew by 3% to 12.5% as a percentage of its global art sales year-on-year, demonstrating the significance of this channel as an increasingly important, discreet route to the market and Christie’s ability to quickly match rare works of art to new owners throughout the world and deliver results.
“The market outlook is confident and is underpinned by the returning dominance of private buyers, from the Americas, the Middle East, as well as Mainland China and Asia,” said Mr. Dolman. “The continuing growth and global nature of the art market is also evident in the number of new buyers in Christie’s sales worldwide. In particular, in 2009, the value bought by Chinese buyers worldwide in Christie’s sales increased by 94%. Within the Greater China region (Hong Kong, Taiwan and China), Chinese buyers now represent 35% of all buying value, an increase of 20% over 2008. Russian buyers spent less than in 2008 across all departments, but the number of lots they bought increased by 13%. In addition, registrations from the clients in the Middle East increased by almost 30%, the highest increase of any geographic region.”
Christie’s continues to differentiate itself from its competitors by leading the art market internationally and offering the broadest international service to clients at differing price levels and sale locations. Christie’s investment in innovation provides new and existing audiences access to the art market. Online bidding via Christie’s LIVETM continued to deliver a large number of winning bids and new registrants and in 2009, 30% of all bids and 14% of all winning bids came in through online channels. Winning bidders participating online increased by 40% on 2008. In 2009, $68.4 million (£43.5 million) was bid online including premium and Christie’s LIVE™ generated 49,343 accepted bids for the year. In 2009, Christie’s launched its new I-phone application. (A separate press release is available).
Mr. Dolman concluded, “Christie’s is committed to providing the leading art sales platform globally, offering unparalleled expertise combined with the highest standards of innovation. Despite 2009 being a demanding year, we remain in a strong financial position and well positioned to capitalize on the continuing art market recovery and the growth potential of Asia, the Middle East and Russia.”