Online sales in the art world are a bit like the Abominable Snowman, often discussed but rarely seen. Sotheby’s and Christie’s have tried to tout their online sales but the numbers don’t really move the needle on the overall business.
One operation where online sales is far more than a talking point is Dallas’s Heritage Auctions. Focused more on selling collectibles—coins, sports memorabilia, comics, animation art, movie posters, jewelry, watches and vintage handbags, as well as wine and, even, luxury real estate—but trying to make inroads into the fine art market, Heritage has seen its share of the company’s overall sales dramatically shift to the internet.
In 2016, Heritage sold $348,107,079 in objects online, a slight increase from 2015’s $344 million. In percentage terms, the growth was even bigger. For 2016, Heritage’s online sales were nearly 41% of the total sales. In 2015, that figure was 40%.
In up and down years, Heritage is converting its sales to the internet. Here are some of the metrics the company released earlier this month:
- For the first time, Heritage’s clientele now includes more than 1 million online registered bidder-members, with nearly 90,000 new members added in 2016.
- The firm also maintained its online lead, with the total number of unique visitors to HA.com holding steady at nearly twice the combined total number of unique visits the websites of Heritage Auctions’ five closest competing web sites.