artnet releases buoyant Q1 results

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artnet, the online resource to buy, sell, and research fine art, design, and decorative art online has released its financial results for the first three months of 2014.

Buoyed by recovering economic conditions in the United States and Europe, the global art market strengthened in 2013, a momentum that continued into the first quarter of this year. This trend was reflected in artnet’s revenue growth in Q1, and was amplified by the launch of artnet News and the first phase of the artnet redesign, both of which have contributed to the success of the company so far this year.

During the first quarter of 2014, artnet’s overall revenue in US dollars increased 8%, to US$4,592,000. Three out of four artnet segments realized an increase in revenue during this period compared to last year’s performance, led by the success of artnet Auctions and Private Sales.

Revenue for artnet Auctions was up a remarkable 41% in US dollars this quarter compared to the same period last year, benefitting from increased average prices and higher sell-through rates. The Price Database also remains strong, with a slight increase in revenue in the first quarter.

While revenue for artnet Advertising remained at the same level as the previous year, increased traffic from artnet News and the site redesign are expected to have a positive impact on future sales, as clients will now have an even wider range of placement opportunities and new ways to reach and engage with their target audience.

The redesign is also expected to benefit the artnet Gallery Network and increase revenue, as more clients realize the full potential of our global reach through recent additions to our product offerings and more advertising opportunities.

With over US$2.2 billion in value sold globally in Q1 alone, the art market got off to a positive start in 2014, on the heels of a strong 2013, a year which witnessed the global Fine Art market increase 5% by value sold according to the Price Database.

Mirroring this momentum, artnet Auctions had one of its best months in the company’s history, selling US$1.9 million across several Fine Art sales in March. Overall, Q1 was very strong for artnet Auctions, with a 40% increase in revenue year on year, and a 40% increase in total value sold, resulting in sales that brought in over US$4.3 million in the first quarter of 2014.

artnet Auctions’ top categories for Q1 2014 include prints and multiples, photographs, and Post-War and Contemporary Art. Among the standout individual sales were  Peter Doig, C & W (Country and Western) (1983), which sold for US$84,000;  Vik Muniz, Liz Taylor (from Pictures and Diamonds) (2004), which sold for US$132,000; and Andy Warhol, Bald Eagle (from Endangered Species) (1983), which sold for US$58,800.

The average price of lots sold on artnet Auctions also increased in the first quarter, from US$6,718 in Q1 2013 to US$9,116 in Q1 2014. This rise is indicative of increasing buyer confidence when it comes to purchasing valuable artworks online, a trend which is expected to be a driving force of growth for the entire online art market in the coming years.