Press Release

SOTHEBY’S LEADS ASIA FOR THE FIFTH CONSECUTIVE YEAR

By Sotheby's
Innovation and Adaptation Drive Exceptional Results

2020 YEAR-TO-DATE AUCTION SALES
REACH HK$7.2 BILLION (US$932 MILLION)
- Leading All International Auction Houses in Asia -

- 18% Lead in Market Share Over Its Nearest Competitor -

- Highest Average Lot Value in Live Auctions in 5 Years -

- Sold Top 3 Highest-Value Lots in Hong Kong Auctions -

- Market Leader in Western Art Sales in Asia -

- Significant Asian Contribution at Sotheby’s Worldwide Sales -

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Market-Leading Online Sales

Online Sales Increase a Staggering 440%

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Digital Transformation Drives Unprecedented Engagement and Expanded Reach

Pioneering Livestreamed Evening Sales in Hong Kong

Attracts Two Million Views Across Digital & Social Media Platforms

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Record Year for Private Sales

2020 has marked a year of unprecedented challenges and yet, we are proud to have continued to deliver strong results that cement Sotheby’s market leading position in Asia for five consecutive years. Our exceptional performance was driven by the resilient demand from Asian collectors, Sotheby’s unrivalled expertise and trusted client relationships and, above all, our unrelenting drive to innovate and adapt. From silent auctions, global livestreaming to our robust online sales programme, we evolve to meet the needs of our clients in a fast-changing world. Our transformations have laid a solid foundation carrying us into 2021, which promises to be an exciting year.
Kevin Ching, CEO, Sotheby’s Asia

EXCEPTIONAL AUCTION RESULTS ACROSS THE BOARD:

Aggregate auction sales to-date reach HK$7.2 billion (US$932 million)1, with a strong 87% of lots sold.

Sotheby’s leads Asia for the fifth year in a row, with 18% lead in market share over its nearest competitor.

Stellar Performance Metrics for Live Auctions:
- Highest average lot value in past 5 years2 - up 24% over 2019
- Strong prices against estimate: aggregate sale total is 1.5 times the low estimate
- 56% of the lots in our live auctions sold at or above high estimate

11 works sold for over HK$100 million (US$13 million)

Sotheby’s sold 6 out of the top 10 lots auctioned in Hong Kong, including the top 3

Market leader in all major categories:

- Modern & Contemporary Art: HK$3.56 billion (US$459 million)
Sotheby’s continues to lead the market for Western Art in Asia with a sale total of HK$937 million (US$120 million), 1.7 times its nearest competitor
- Chinese Art: HK$2 billion (US$261 million)
- Luxury: HK$1.63 billion (US$210 million)

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CLIENT BASE CONTINUES TO EXPAND:

Nearly 40% of all bidders and buyers are new to Sotheby’s

Over 30% of all bidders and buyers are under 40

ASIA REMAINS THE KEY MARKET DRIVER:

Asian clients account for over 30% of Sotheby’s worldwide auction sales

Of the top 20 lots auctioned by Sotheby’s worldwide, Asian clients bid on 10 and bought 9

INNOVATION AND ADAPTATION DRIVE RESULTS:

This year, Sotheby’s has redefined the auction business by embracing innovative new sale formats, including multi-camera, global live-stream marquee sales, and by introducing new ways to serve our clients.

Online Sales Up 440%

With travel restrictions in place around the world, Sotheby’s accelerated online sales have soared to new heights, meeting the continued demand and evolving needs of collectors. Sotheby’s Asia online sales to-date increased a staggering 440% (compared to full year result in 2019). In total we have held 63 online auctions across a diverse range of categories - from Chinese Works of Art, Contemporary Art to Jewellery, Watches and Wine - achieving a total of nearly HK$250 million (US$32 million).

Notable successes include the launch of Contemporary Showcase, a series of pop-up online auctions held in May-June 2020. Five out of six editions were 100% sold, with 50% of buyer new to Sotheby’s.

Significant Surge in Online Bidding

Online bidding has become increasingly popular. In 2020 to-date, 55% of lots went to online buyers. Clients also demonstrated an increased interest and confidence in transacting at high levels. In October, a 102.39 carat flawless diamond offered in a single-lot auction in Hong Kong attracted the highest value online bid (HK$85 million / US$10.97 million) at a live auction on a non-art item. Earlier this June, Sotheby’s New York marquee sale saw a client from China placing a historic online bid at US$73.1 million on Francis Bacon’s large-format masterpiece Triptych Inspired by the Oresteia of Aeschylus.

Innovative Sale Formats

In Confidence: Selected Masterpieces - A pioneering sale format that combined the discretion of a private sale and excitement of an auction, meeting the needs of top-level sellers and buyers under uncertain times.

100-Carat Diamond Offered Without Reserve – In October, Sotheby’s offered ‘without reserve’ a highly important 102.39-carat D Colour Flawless Oval Diamond - a first at auction for a lot of this importance and inherent value. This innovative sale attracted interest well beyond the traditional pool of collectors and a flurry of bids, taking it quickly from HK$1 to HK$122 million (US$15.7 million).

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DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION DRIVES UNPRECEDENTED ENGAGEMENT AND EXPANDED REACH:

Sotheby’s Hong Kong welcomed for the first time the Company’s pioneering livestreamed format this October. The four evening sales - livestreamed with multi-camera feed and enhanced video content - generated unprecedented engagement and expanded reach, attracting two million views across its digital and social platforms.

A number of new digital innovations brought virtual access to clients regardless of physical boundaries, who responded enthusiastically to new tools and means of engagement, including enhanced digital catalogues, virtual specialist-guided tours, virtual exhibitions and social media communications.

Remarks: 1. Sales figures include auctions but exclude private sales. 2. Wine lots are excluded from the calculation of the average lot value. 3. Figures as of 5 December 2020 and compared with 2019 full year results.

TOP 5 LOTS SOLD AT SOTHEBY’S ASIA IN 2020

TOP LOT OF THE YEAR
Ren Renfa, Five Drunken Princes Returning on Horseback
Sold for HK$306,551,000 (US$39,555,000)
After a 75-minute Bidding War with More than 100 Bids
*Most Valuable Chinese Ink Painting Ever Sold by Sotheby’s Hong Kong
*Second Highest Price for Any Artwork Sold by Sotheby’s Hong Kong
(Autumn Sale, October 2020)
Sanyu, Quatre Nus
Sold for HK$258,341,000 (US$33,334,320)
(July 2020)
Gerhard Richter, Abstraktes Bild (649-2)
Sold for HK$214,631,000 (US$27,694,000)
To the Pola Museum of Art, Hakone, Japan
*Highest Price Achieved for Any Western Artwork
Sold at Auction in Asia
(October 2020)
Sanyu, Fleurs dans un pot bleu et blanc
Sold for HK$187,055,000 (US$24,136,000)
(October 2020)
Sanyu, Nu
Sold for HK$168,671,000 (US$21,764,000)
(October 2020)

Contacts

Tel: +212 606 7176
pressofficeny@sothebys.com
Tel: +44 20 7293 6000
pressuk@sothebys.com
Tel: +852 2822 8143
presshongkong@sothebys.com

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