Key Highlights from Public auctions in the year 2020

Key Highlights from Public auctions in the year 2020

Posted by Pi-eX Research on 19th Jan 2021

Pi-eX's 2020 Annual Report Summary outlines and details some of the key trends of the year at public auctions:

1. Combined annual revenue from public auctions fell by 30% at the top three auction houses in 2020

Annual revenue fell at all top three auction houses, as they suffered from the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. Christie’s registered the highest drop (-38% vs 2019). The decline at Phillips was the smallest (-12% YoY), while Sotheby’s, with a -25% drop only, was able to overtake Christie’s in 2020. 

2. The 2020 revenue decline was mostly driven by a contraction at the top end of the market

The contraction of the auction market was particularly spectacular at the higher end, with a -54% decline YoY (vs -16% for the rest of the market). Despite the shift in auction calendar and creative formats for key evening sales, the auction houses were not able to compensate for the shortage of revenue generated by the major auctions of the year: the traditional Marquee May sales (livestreamed in June and July 2020) and November sales, which delivered mitigated results. 

Discover further insights in Pi-eX 2020 Annual Report Summary