Christie's Announces $4.1bn in Sales So Far for 2022

Auction results are very strong for first half of 2022, Cerutti remains confident in their "resilient business model."


Christie’s released its first half of 2022 results today. There were total sales of £3.3 billion or $4.1 billion in sales. That’s up 34% in pounds and 18% in dollars from 2021 which was already an extraordinary year. Of course these sales results were greatly helped by the presence of several large art collections at auction, including the collections of Anne Bass and Doris Ammann. These results are the highest since the art market’s peak of 2015, exceeding even the strong first half of 2018. 

The geographical breakdown Christie’s gave out was that 44% of buyers were in the US; 34% in Europe, the Middle East and Africa; and only 22% in Asia. Those numbers may reflect the general bias toward sales in New York rather than a decrease in demand from Asian buyers.

In contrast, Luxury sales at Christie’s totaled 10% of all sales at $413 million fairly evenly broken down as 30% in the Americas, 36% in Asia and 33% in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. CEO Guillaume Cerutti observed on a press call to explain these numbers that the Luxury category is an important source of new clients for the auction house because the price points are lower than for much of the fine art sold. 

This price differential might explain the difference between Asia’s 22% of auction sales value and the 36% of luxury sales taking place in the region. Asian buyers also seemed to make up a higher portion of underbidders in the 21st Century Evening sale in New York.   

All together, Christie’s sold 22,085 lots. That was an astonishing 87% of the lots offered which is both an indication of Christie’s sale management and the strong demand at all levels of the art and luxury markets. 

Christie’s also emphasized that they continue to attract new clients at the rate of 30% a year, a number that has been steady for several years. We’re also told that 34% of these new buyers are millennials. 

The strength of the auction market may be impacting Christie’s private sales efforts. Totals were £500 million or $600 million which was the second highest total in the last five years but significantly off the previous year during the pandemic. 

Despite global fears of a recession, rising inflation and increasing dislocation in financial markets, Cerutti believes strong demand remains among buyers. He also underscored that Christie's has built a more resilient business model that, he believes, can adapt to the new macroeconomic reality. 

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