Christie’s is to invest in the region of $20 million in its technological and digital advancement including infrastructure improvements, enhanced client-service experience and creative-content and media-driven endeavours. The move was announced by Christie’s chief executive officer, Steven Murphy, during a keynote dialogue on the main stage at Atlantic Ideas Live in New York City yesterday.
“The global audience for art is increasing, museum attendance has increased again and the art market is continuing to grow. This is in part driven by digital accessibility of art and imagery,” he said. “Over the next two weeks, Christie’s hosts key sales in the Americas and we will be offering masterpieces such as Monet’s Nymphéas and Bacon’s Three Studies of John Edward alongside online-only sales of Picasso Ceramics and works by Alexander Calder.
“We want to invite more people to join in and participate in collecting. Not long ago, our New York sales catalogue would be viewed by a few thousand catalogue subscribers four weeks before the sale – now more than a million visitors view the works online. This online accessibility combined with ever increasing visitor numbers to our public exhibitions has shifted the dynamic. This has also fundamentally impacted the value of the original object itself, as the experience of standing in front of the picture and owning it has become even more powerful.”
In data released yesterday, Christie’s confirms that 48% of all client registrations are now facilitated digitally. In 2013, 45% of buyers in online-only sales were new to Christie’s, with many sales seeing over 50% new client activity. Findings from online-only sales reveal that one in five buyers is under the age of 45 and visitors to christies.com came from 185 countries and numbered 20 million in 2013, 19% year on year growth, with mobile views increasing 42% during the year.
The span of the price of works of art sold online has included over 16 works sold for over $1 million through Christie’s LIVE to works of art selling for $2,500 and above. The average lot sold online is $10,000. The most popular categories to date have been the sales of Post-War and Contemporary work, led by the innovative partnership with the Andy Warhol Foundation, as well as highly successful sales of Picasso ceramics, Chinese works of art, luxury items including wine and jewellery and other categories including the fast growing area of prints.
To date, Christie’s has offered nine sales in conjunction with the Andy Warhol Foundation on our eCommerce platform, with the average lot selling for nearly $11,000 and with 14% of lots selling for over $20,000.
Yesterday’s announcement of ongoing investment will lead to further improvements in the client service experience as well as content and media development.
“Digital is changing the way all companies operate, as well as increasingly affecting and influencing all of us in our daily lives,” said Murphy. “Internally in a company, as well as externally in how we communicate with and serve clients, digital creates efficiencies, leads to better and more productive relationships and for us, works to help better connect individuals and art works. We are investing across the board, from infrastructure improvements to creative, content driven endeavours.”