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Auction Action, General News

Sotheby’s and eBay Announce Digital Partnership

The world’s largest online marketplace and the first international auction house have come together to form a new online platform.

EBay and Sotheby’s announced today that they will join forces, creating an innovative online marketplace for costumers to discover, browse and buy art, antiques and collectibles.  Bringing Sotheby’s top-notch auctions in real time, right in the comforts of your own home (eBay currently has 145M active buyers from 190 countries).

In 2013, eBay’s collectibles category accounted for nearly $8 billion of Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) with 36 million active buyers; 3,500 items sold for above $5,000. Interestingly enough, 40% of all eBay’s volume is through mobile phones, which accounts for $20b in mobile commerce in the last year, an incredible increase from 2008’s $0.

According to the press release posted on Sotheby’s website, the overall art market is estimated at $65 billion globally, while the online art market is projected to be worth $13 billion by 2020.  In 2013, Sotheby’s online bidders competed for 17% of the total lots offered, increasing the total lots purchased online by 36% from the year prior; 32% of the buyers had never purchased a lot at Sotheby’s beforehand.  The prices of various pieces ranged from $5K-$100K; the average price of watches sold were $42K, prints were $8K and books and manuscripts were $18K.  Mobile traffic had doubled from 2012 to 2013 and now 25% of Sotheby’s online traffic is driven from mobile phones.

Both companies plan to focus on selling high-end items online and reaching on-the-go buyers who uses their mobile phones for purchases. With price points they believe will excite customers, the new online platform will focus on selling jewelry, watches, prints, wine, photographs and 20th century design.

About Alyssa T. Rehs

Alyssa Rehs is a fourth generation Art Dealer at her family owned art galleries, Rehs Galleries, Inc. and Rehs Contemporary Galleries, Inc., New York City, New York. She received an Art History degree from the University of Rhode Island in 2012 as well as interned at Christie’s Auction House, New York City. Using her art historian degree, gallery experience, and a summer spent working at the auction house, she has a well rounded understanding of the art market. Alyssa appreciates the market from multiple standpoints; art lover, art buyer and art seller!


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