Christie’s clocks $8.4 billion sales in 2022 – highest in art market history

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Christie’s clocks $8.4 billion sales in 2022 – highest in art market history

Auction house Christie’s ended 2022 with global sales of $8.4 billion – the highest annual sales in art market history. This is a 17 percent increase over its sales last year. The auction house broke several records this year, including the sale of an Andy Warhol (Shot Sage Blue Marilyn) for $195 million – the second highest price ever achieved for a work of art at auction. Microsoft co-founder Paul G Allen’s art collection sold for $1.62 billion, making it the most valuable collection sale of all time, with five works selling for more than $100 million each.

While the maximum buyers still come from the Americas (40 percent), Asia Pacific contributes 26 percent of all buyers. Thirty-five percent of all buyers were new to Christie’s with APAC having the fastest growing base of new collectors.

“In 2022, despite a challenging macro environment, Christie’s achieved our highest ever global sales. Three factors explain this performance: the resilience of the art and luxury markets, the remarkable success of several major art collections – including the unforgettable Paul Allen sale – and the expertise and hard work of our teams around the world,” says Guillaume Cerutti, head. Executive Officer, Christie’s.

Reflecting the continued international buying at auction, regardless of auction location, US buyer spending in non-US salesrooms rose 10 percent, EMEA buyer spending was up 71 percent and APAC buyer spending was 49 percent higher. Sales growth was driven by masterpieces (works over $5 million), with sales at this level up 84 percent from 2021. New buyers from mainland China continued to engage with global salesrooms, accounting for the highest global spending from new buyers from APAC.

In APAC, new buyers increased by 9 percent, attracted by sales of Asian and World Art and especially Luxury. Luxury remains the number one recruiter of new customers, accounting for 36 percent of new buyers, up 18 percent in 2021. Millennials continue to drive and reshape Christie’s global business, representing 21 percent of global buyers. Of the spending by millennials, in Christie’s global salesrooms in 2022, 62 percent came from millennials in APAC.

Millennials are more likely to transact digitally and the business has adapted and innovated accordingly. Christie’s has enhanced its digital reach and is attracting a new generation of collectors on TikTok, WeChat, Red and Instagram, meeting and connecting with customers where they spend their time.

Christie’s launched Christie’s 3.0, a blockchain platform, earlier this year. After two sales on the platform, it’s clear that buyers are confident to bid and artists are keen to sell via this first-of-a-kind digital auction venue. As the market for NFTs continues to be tested amid the volatility of the broader crypto market, Christie’s sold 87 NFT lots across all platforms this year for a total of $5.9 million from artists such as Diana Sinclair, Mad Dog Jones and Fewocious. Top NFT lot of the year was Refik Anadol’s NFT sculpture Living Architecture: Casa Batlló which sold (at live auction) for $1.4 million.

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