give me five

The top 5 auction houses in terms of online audience

As goes for number one of the auction houses, most of you could probably point it out whilst being blindfolded. But besides that, the top 5 list is guaranteed to surprise you.


Not surprisingly Christie’s is at the very top with its 1,393,724 visitors per month*. The trend ties well together with its recent inroads on the Sotheby’s market share of high-end sales.


Number two is not who you think it is, considering the chinks and the onset of metal fatigue in their armour. It is weighing in at 1,099,081 visitors per month*. The famous and at times infamous Lauritz has a loyal customer base and a no-nonsense transparent fee structure. It also happens to be one of the first auction sites in Scandinavia dedicated to art and collectibles. The platform, although revolutionary in the past, is rather dated looking today suggesting that a level of complacency has set in. A dog’s breakfast is the exact words that spring to mind when all along you had hoped to call it the dog’s bollocks. The site neither offers a responsive design experience nor a good dedicated mobile version of the auctions. The social media presence is also somewhat lacklustre though it has picked up speed recently.

Heritage Auctions

Third up is Heritage auctions, the unassuming and toned down design might fool you into thinking it cannot attract much traffic. Think again, the big American player has invested and worked extensively with its usability and introduced parametric search and filtering options that works well with impatient users. Every month it clocks up 1,047,509 visitors*.


On the fourth place enters Sotheby’s finally with 996,519 visitors per month*. But watch this space, after a dip last year, the growth in traffic is robust. Sotheby’s, the second half of the oft-alleged duopoly, will always invest what it takes to become either number one or number two.


The big auction chain spelled without an apostrophe is punching well above its own weight in the market. From the outset it has been clever in its online marketing. Still it has slipped down the ranks scrabing in at 662,319 visitors per month*

Overall the online traffic for all five comes from organic an aggregate website and facebook usage, and they are all five contenders are close to the 1 million mark. Continuous investments in conventional marketing, SEO and SEM has paid off in this mix. But wisely all five have realised the value of online players whose market offering is a meta-view of all auctions. Apparently, the largest contributors to gained traffic come from Artnet, 1stdips, artsy, Live Auctioneers, The Saleroom, Invaluable, Barnebys and Bidsquare.

(*) Source Skate’s 2015