Phillips released its figures for the first half of 2021 this morning. The data suggests a continuation of a trend seen in earlier results from larger rivals like Christie’s. Total sales for the first half of the year were $542.7 million, representing a 25 percent rise from the occluded sales that took place during the beginning of the global pandemic. Auction results were $452 million, a 15 percent rise, and private sales grew a heady 107 percent to $90.7 million.
Phillips’s CEO, Edward Dolman, attributed the success to strong private sales and robust sell-through figures. “Our several ‘White Glove’ sales across New York, Geneva, and Hong Kong demonstrate a great sense of optimism and confidence in the market,” Dolman said in statement, “and have led to Phillips maintaining the highest sell-through rates in the industry.”
Phillips did not release figures for their sell-through rates but Christie’s claimed 87 percent sell-through on all property in the first half of 2021. Phillips did say that private sales in its always open watch division, Perpetual, had increased 81 percent from the first to second quarters of 2021. The H1 total is $8 million.
Also in line with their competition, Phillips saw 34 percent of its buyers come from Asia in the first half of the year. And that spending power was demonstrated at the very top of the market where four of the top 10 lots sold at Phillips in 2021 went to bidders from Asia.
Recent results from a series of modern and contemporary art sales Phillips held in collaboration with Chinese auction house Poly Auction demonstrated the ascendance of the Asian market as a dominant buying region during the pandemic. This spring, Phillips made $122 million across four consecutive white glove sales in one week, a 121 percent increase over the previous year, marking the highest season total for the house in Asia.