Christie’s Declining Sales After Years of Growth

Christie's Reported 23 Percent Drop in Sales In First Half of 2023 With Achieving $3.2 billion, After Years of Growth.

Jul 13, 2023By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
Christie’s American branch at Rockefeller Center in New York. Via Wikipedia


Christie’s report from Wednesday says the auction house lost 23% of sales value, compared to last year’s achievements. The first half of 2022 was de-greened with a result of $4.1 billion, while this year’s amount is $3.2. This year’s amount is lower, even compared to the first round in 2021, where the auction house collected $3.5 billion. The drop compared to 2021 is 9%.


Christie’s Has a Stable Demand From Clients

Cécile Verdier, President of Christie’s Paris selling Joan Mitchell’s Sans titre. Courtesy of the auction house.


The drop in profits compared to 2021 can be devastating, because that’s when the world economy began to recover from the pandemic. Through auctions, online and live, which were in progress from the beginning of the year until June, the auction house collected $2.7 billion. As for this type of sales, a drop of 24 percent was recorded compared to the same period in 2022. Last year, the world’s artifact house collected $3.5 billion.


The other $484 million is part of private sales. Compared to 2022, a decline in private sales was also recorded. During the first half of the year, the auction house reached $600 million. However, private sales were the highest in 2021, amounting to $850 million. This year the results are certainly the lowest.


Christie’s in King Street, St James’s, via Wikimedia Commons


Christie’s CEO Guillaume Cerutti said the challenging macro environment affects even the top of the market, which is why there is a drop in overall sales. The auction house also pointed out the positive side of its challenges. The success rate of total sales is 87%, which indicates a stable and constant demand from clients. This result is in line with previous years.

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How the Auction House Gets Its Revenue?

The French Auction Market
Paris sale room of the Hubert de Givenchy collection. Photo: © Nina Slavcheva. Courtesy of the auction house.


When we talk about the geographical distribution of customers, the largest number comes from America and is 39%. After the U.S. comes Europe, the Middle East and Africa with 35%. The smallest number of buyers comes from Asia, and amounts to 26%. Compared to 2021, the number of buyers from Asia decreased, when it was 39%. The auction house presented these data in its report.


Transferring the sizeable legacies of cultural benefactors at the completion of their acquiring pursuits is how the house makes the majority of its yearly revenues. The sales of key estates this year, which come from the collections of Gerald Fineberg, S.I. Newhouse, Paul G. Allen, Alan and Dorothy Press and Sophie F. Danforth, brought in $922 million in the first half of 2023.


christies auction koons rabbit
Auction of Koons’ Rabbit at Christie’s, New York, 2019, via Business Wire


As it seeks to nurture additional clientele with the ability to grow into top buyers, Christie’s said it plans to continue its attention on fresh and youthful consumers. In the first half of 2023, 31% of all purchasers were brand-new to the 250-year-old institution. Millennials made up 38% of all new purchases, a little decline from the 34% witnessed in 2021.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.