Sotheby’s “preeminent anchor tenant” in eBay’s revamped marketplace

Today, Sotheby’s formally announces its eBay partnership, and both companies flesh out some detail on their future strategies. Intriguingly, Sotheby’s is described as “a preeminent anchor tenant in the revamped marketplace” – a description which will worry those who consider this move a risk to the Sotheby’s premier brand. However, there appears to be some effort to fence off the eBay activities by excluding evening sales from the deal and a statement that the initial focus for both companies will be on “jewelry, watches, prints, wine, 20th Century design.”

The announcement concludes with some interesting stats for both companies:

Sotheby’s by the Numbers 

  • Online bidders competed for 17% of the total lots offered in 2013
  • John James Audubon’s elephant-folio   The Birds of America   sold in April 2014 for $3.5 million – marking a new record for an online purchase in a live auction at Sotheby’s
  • The number of lots purchased online in 2013 increased 36% vs. 2012
  • In 2013:
    • More than half of all lots sold were in the $5,000-$100,000 range
    • The average value for sold Watches was $41,753
    • The average value for sold Prints was $27,575
    • The average value for sold Books & Manuscripts was $18,484
  • 32% of all BIDnow bidders had never transacted at Sotheby’s prior to 2013
  • The number of visitors to   sothebys.com   on mobile devices (tablet + smartphone) doubled in 2013 vs. 2012
  • Mobile traffic now in 2014 accounts for 25% of total Sotheby’s website traffic

eBay by the Numbers: 

  • Collectibles accounted for nearly $8 billion of GMV in 2013 with 36 million active buyers
  • Each day on eBay, more than 3,500 auctions close with a price of >$5,000
  • eBay has 145 million global active buyers in 190 countries
  • 40% of eBay Volume is touched by mobile
  • eBay enabled $20 billion in mobile commerce in 2013, up from $0 in 2008

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