Phillips London New Now series: is the rollercoaster ride over or just getting started?

Phillips London New Now series: is the rollercoaster ride over or just getting started?

Posted by Pi-eX Research on 24th Jan 2024

After 2 years of exceptional revenue, the 2023 series of Phillips New Now auctions in London dropped 34% in total Hammer Price (HP) obtained (£6.1m in 2023 vs £9.2m in 2022). While the result remains higher than before the Covid pandemic, a key question going forward is whether the 2023 results reflect an adjustment back to pre pandemic growth levels after 2 years of acceleration, or whether it marks the beginning of a further downturn for the public auction market.

The New Now series experienced strong growth from its inception, peaking in the post-pandemic years, but 2023 has brought it back down to earth and raised the question of where it will go next. A few insights from the sale’s recent history brings some clues.

The Phillips New Now series in London went from strength to strength from 2015 to 2022

Before the pandemic, the performance of the series brought strong growth with the average HP per lot almost doubling within 4 years from $7,152 in 2016 to $13,525 in 2020. The growth then accelerated in the post pandemic period and the average HP reached a peak price of $23,353 in 2022, more than three times the 2016 price.

 Pushed by the top end, the years 2021 and 2022 saw sensational growth

The Phillips New Now London series achieved exceptional results in 2021 and 2022, where lower estimate expectations were blown out of the water due to high growth in the volume of lots hammered at or above $50k.

In 2021 the increase can be attributed to a rise in the value of fresh paint artworks alongside a single Warhol lot “Flowers” boosting sales with a HP of £1.1m, by far the most expensive lot ever sold in this series. In 2022, new growth was drawn from works younger than 10 years old (in light green in the graph below) which sold with unprecedented upside.

In 2023, reality delivered a sobering blow

Performance of the Phillips New Now London auction in 2023 fell back to 2020 levels. An increase in the value of bought-in lots and less upside above the lower estimate brought performance back to pre-pandemic levels.

Most of the contraction came from the high-end of the Phillips New Now London auction, where lots sold for more than £50k lost their 2021 and 2022 upside. While the contraction seems to have affected all lots regardless of creation date, fresh paint artworks saw the strongest loss on their exceptional 2021 and 2022 upside.


After enjoying steady revenue growth since 2015 and riding the post-pandemic wave, the Phillips New Now series in London came back to reality in 2023. With promising growth in fresh paint artworks diminishing and overall reduced upside than in previous years, the future of the series looks bleak and it may take a few cycles - or another rollercoaster - before sustainable growth can resume.

SourcePi-eX Report - Phillips New Now London Auction Series