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Christie’s experiments with business models offering pre-auction ‘buy it now’ prices

Innovation and experimentation in the digital art market is not just about technology: the impact of ecommerce business models is prompting established companies such as Christie’s to re-examine their sales strategies in order to shake out new revenue streams.

The Telegraph reports that Christies are “to break with 250 years of tradition by offering items for immediate purchase at a fixed price, similar to how Ebay allows shoppers to bypass the bidding process.” Forty two lots will be offered for sale online and in the company’s Kensington saleroom at a fixed (premium, tax-inclusive) price in advance of their auction sale. Although referring to it as a “new approach to buying” the experiment is cleverly timed to coincide with the Christmas gift-buying market (even offering gift-wrapping). And in a further indication of the importance of reaching out to new customers both online and via their saleroom:

“Buyers don’t have to bid – they can walk into our saleroom in South Kensington and walk out with their purchase, or they can visit our website. If people aren’t familiar with Christie’s or the auction process, it is a good way to introduce them.”

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Hiscox Online Art Trade Report 2014: growth, investment, but further development required

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An important message in the Hiscox Online Art Trade Report 2014 is that although the online art market shows continued growth, systemic barriers exist which could risk the market’s future potential.

Hiscox’s analysis (based on research carried out by ArtTactic) suggests the online art market may be undergoing a sudden evolutionary shift similar to that which traditional retail experienced in 2005 – a year considered to be a ‘tipping point’ in the development of retail e-commerce. The growth of the online art market, forecast to rise from $1.57 billion in 2013 to $3.76 billion in 2018, is being driven by a number of factors: the maturity of the web (including the mobile web), increased buyer confidence in making high value online purchases, and high levels of venture capital in sales platforms (Hiscox list $80m worth of investment across a range of online platforms in 2013-14). Continue reading

Sotheby’s – ‘Business as usual’ in Hong Kong

In a Sotheby’s press release dated today 7 October, CK Cheung, Head of Sotheby’s Chinese Painting Department says:

The results of today’s sale of Fine Chinese Paintings are testament to the appeal of Sotheby’s careful sourcing strategy of assembling works of great quality with high artistic value at attractive estimates. Sotheby’s stature as an international auction house allowed us to offer paintings from an important North American private collection which appeal to our clients.

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Saatchi Online (@SaatchiOnline) combines curation, technology, and a global brand to “democratize” art sales

In a spirited and wide ranging interview with Lori Kozlowski of Forbes Magazine at Social Media Week LA yesterday, 27 September 2013, Rebecca Wilson (Chief Curator) and Margo Spiritus (Chief Creative Officer) clearly articulated the Saatchi Online digital strategy and mission: to apply traditional curation skills, technology, and the Saatchi brand to connect emerging artists with collectors worldwide. In the process they believe they can democratize and make transparent the often “murky” and “intimidating” world of art sales.

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