Christie’s, Phillips, and Sotheby’s together saw a 79 percent decline in revenue for the second quarter of 2020 when compared to 2019, according to a new report from London art market analytics firm Pi-eX, as reported by Art Market Monitor.
The three firms collectively reached $900 million in sales last quarter, a steep drop from the collective $4.4 billion during the same period last year. According to Art Market Monitor
, this drop is more pronounced than the one following the 2008 financial crisis, when revenue fell from $4.8 billion in Q2 2008 to $1.6 billion in Q2 2009.
The sharp decline in Q2 came from the cancellation of marquee spring sales due to COVID-19. While the auction houses threw together hundreds of online sales in the wake of those cancellations, ultimately, they weren’t enough to make up for lost revenue. It wasn’t until June, when the three firms launched their live hybrid sales, that numbers began to bounce back—according to the report, around 85 percent of Q2’s revenue came during that month.
Christine Bourron, CEO of Pi-eX told Art Market Monitor: