Sales Drop for Christie’s in 2023

Sales Drop Mark Christie's Sales in 2023 Show That It Was Art to Hard to Follow Last Year's Revenue of $8.4 Billion.

Dec 19, 2023By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
Sales Drop
ssi Pylkkänen selling the top lot of Christie’s 20th Century evening sale, Monet’s, Le bassin aux nymphéas for $74 million.


Sales drop is what will mark the year ending in 2023 at Christie’s. Overall, the auction house earned $6.2 billion, compared to 2022’s revenue of $8.4 billion. It’s clear this year’s profit is $2.2 billion lesser. Christie’s CEO Guillaume Cerutti called 2023 a “paradoxical year” and that the amounts collected the year prior were unsurpassed. Sale of late Microsoft founder Paul Allen’s collection has the biggest role in it.


Sales Drop, but Also Reasons for Optimism

Sales Drop
Auctioneer Liang-lin Chen in the Christie’s Shanghai saleroom, selling Lot 112 – 16.02.64 by Zao Wou-ki, sold for CNY 12.4 million ($1,7 million) including fees. Courtesy Christie’s.


Paul Allen’s collection sale enabled the house to bring in $1.5 billion from a single evening’s auction. Also, the earning was the same as a whole spring or autumn season from not too long ago. Overall, the collection increased Christie’s 2022 revenue by $1.6 billion. He also explained why auction sales are smaller to 2022. He said challenging the macro-environment and the art-market contraction are the main reasons.


However, Cerutti highlighted a rise in private transactions. He also said “a strong influx of new and younger clients at auction” is a good reason to be optimistic. “We have been continuing our judicious investments in innovation and expansion. We are confident for the future, with a promising pipeline of consignments already in motion for 2024”, he explained.


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


Sales at auctions totalled $5.03 billion, which is less than the $7.2 billion recorded the previous year. The amount of private sales was $1.2 billion. Christie’s also reported this was a 5% rise from 2022 and accounted for 20% of its overall revenues, up from 14% in 2022. The auction house stated that a private sale produced the highest-value property it sold in 2023, although it did not name the piece of art.

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Rise in Private Sales

Sotheby’s and Christie's Auction Houses
Sotheby’s and Christie’s Auction Houses


Auction sales in the Americas totalled $2.57 billion, a 43 percent decrease from 2022. Christie’s, however, noted the decline was only 12% when the Paul Allen transaction was taken out. Auction sales in Europe, Middle East, Africa were $1.65 billion. There is a nine percent decline, compared to a four percent decline of $805 million in the Asia Pacific area.


Asian purchasing, according to the auction house, remains robust “regionally and globally”. The auction house also said, in terms of its worldwide sales, the number of new customers from mainland China grew by 30%. According to the house, 35% of all purchasers this year were first-timers at Christie’s. There was also a 65 percent uptick in new Gen Z buyers, driven by handbags, watches, and prints. The house said millennials represent 34 percent of all new buyers.


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


Sotheby’s will report annual sales in January. Meanwhile, Bonhams, which has been on a global buying spree of smaller regional houses in recent years, posted stellar results today. The House saw a “turnover” of more than $1.2 billion for 2023, which it said is the best result in its history, according to its report.















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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.