The art market: Look, don’t touch | The Economist   Leave a comment

 

 

The art market: Look, don’t touch | The Economist.

In 2010 Christie’s sold some $114m worth of art and antiques online, amounting to 16% of its lots. Yet this represented only 3% of total sales. Christie’s clients bid on the internet for commoditised items such as watches, wine, prints and jewellery. For the auctioneer’s most expensive offerings—paintings, sculptures and antiques—they telephoned or went to the saleroom and bid at auction by raising their arms, as they have done for centuries.

The real advantage of Christie’s digital offering is that it draws new customers: more than half of the firm’s online bidders last year had never registered for a Christie’s auction before. Attracting new customers is also the main reason why dealers signed up for the VIP art fair. They expect visitors mainly to gather information about their offerings and follow up with a phone call. For reasons of privacy, no sale will be conducted on the fair’s site. “Our expectations for actual sales during the art fair are modest,” says Ms Cohan.

Michael O’Neal, head of digital media at Christie’s, thinks the success of the new fair will depend on whether it can build a brand and whether the participating dealers will get enough new leads from the fair’s visitors that result in actual sales. VIP has one selling point that traditional art fairs cannot offer: it can show huge outdoor sculptures and other art that cannot be moved easily.

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Posted February 13, 2011 by annallewellyn in Uncategorized

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