Online bidders are not shy. Last year at Christie's a a magnificent diamond ring from Van Cleef & Arpels sold for $2,968,661 to an online bidder, whilst a new record was set at Phillips for artist Yue Minjun as his work Untitled (Magritte Stone) sold to an online buyer for £965 000. At H&H Classics a Lagonda 3-Litre Drophead coupe, once owned by Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburg sold for £346 000, a new world record for this car.
As stated in Barnebys inaugural Online Auction Report released in 2016, a new generation of auction goers are accessing the market online. Their needs are clear: transparency, credibility and simple bidding.
Mobile-friendly sites directly have had an impact on the business growth of auction houses in recent years and will continue to do so. Today, more than 50% of auction browsers and bidders aged 18-24 years use their mobile phones to browse, compared with 5% five years ago.
What is most interesting about online bidders is that they also sell their own pieces at auction, more than other type of bidder. Online bidders truly are instrumental to an auction houses growth.
While the traditional auction room is still alive, we are seeing huge growth in online bidding by wealthy young people. Today, more than 50% of auction browsers and bidders aged 18-24 years use their mobile devices – phones, tablets, laptops to browse, compared with only 5% five years ago.
This shift in attitude has opened up the auction room to a wider audience. One of the most challenging problems facing auction houses – how to get a new generation to walk through their imposing front doors has been solved. They walk in now online. One of the unexpected benefits of mobile phones and the internet is the avalanche of young newcomers to the auction world. For decades auction houses have been concerned about the growing age profile of their clients and the problem of getting younger people into their premises which are seen as not very welcoming to younger people. But now that problem is solved thanks to IT and the whole profile of auction buyers and sellers has changed. The Millennial Generation has discovered auctions big time. And they love the hunt, the stock, the fact that buying at auction is another form of recycling, so very green and finally, that the buying process is so transparent.