Christie's online goes global

Christie's online goes global

Nearly £30m-worth of auctioneer's £2bn annual sales were online in the last 12 months

Auctioneer Christie’s is rolling out an online sale programme globally following successful implementation in the UK.

Auction rooms across the firm’s 14 sites worldwide will allow customers to bid on the web while watching a real-time sale.

Nearly £30m-worth of Christie’s £2bn of annual sales have been made online since the facility was launched a year ago, according to international marketing director Richard Bagnall-Smith.

“We came to the web a little late but we are seeing enormous benefits,” he said.
And in the coming months Christie’s will add online payment and shipping
facilities to the sites.

Since the internet debut, highest bids for single items have reached up to £1.3m.

“We have proved that high-value transactions for luxury goods are feasible
online even if the average online sales price of $10,000 (£5,000) is a little lower than offline,” said Bagnall-Smith.

Online bidding provides wealthy customers with anonymity and buyers have the security of knowing all bidders are credit checked.

“We authenticate everything we sell or we repay the value and that is the biggest difference between us and the eBay style model,” said Bagnall-Smith.

Online bidding is an important mechanism for setting the prices of luxury goods, said

Michael Sheldon, chief executive of luxury brands site

“Consumers participate in setting a price through bidding, allowing sellers to learn what the price should be,” he said.