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eBay May Have Sotheby’s, But Christie’s Is Going It Alone

While top-tier auction house Sotheby’s has partnered with eBay to launch online bidding through the new eBay live-auction platform, its rival Christie’s is going it alone. Christie’s has invested $50 million in hiring experts and building its own infrastructure in support of online auctions, according to the New York Times News Service (via the Worcester Telegram).

Christie’s is drawing a younger crowd through its online website, Christies.com: 53% of those who register to bid online are under the age of 45.

Also interesting, 71% of traffic comes from visitors who are new to Christies.com, and, of them, 11% go on to register in regular auctions, with 39% bidding on pricier merchandise.

So what are these “youngsters” buying? The most popular categories of Christie’s online auctions are postwar and contemporary art, fashion and photographs, followed by wine and jewelry.

The article contains more background along with an interesting interview with John Auerbach who joined the auction house last year from Gilt to lead its ecommerce efforts.

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Those who sell antiques and collectibles might find this factoid particularly interesting: the average price on Christie’s website is about $11,000.

Clarification: In the original abstract to this story, we wrote, “Christie’s hired an executive from shopping site Gilt last year, and the site is succeeding in attracting a younger crowd. Guess what the average selling price is through the website of the venerable Christie’s?” That should have read, “the average price,” not “the average selling price.”

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.