Art Market

Phillips Finishes 2021 with $1.2 Billion in Sales, Up 32% from Pre-Pandemic Year

Online bids account for half of auction purchases, a record for any house

Phillips posted $1.2 billion in sales in 2021. That’s 32% more than they sold in 2019. So the company continues to make progress as it installs a new CEO in Stephen Brooks.

Auction sales came tantalizingly close to the symbolic milestone of $1 billion. The exact total was $993.3 million. Private sales contributed another $208 million which was a 21% rise on 2019. 

The most striking statistic Phillips released was the fact that 50% of lots sold went to online buyers during the live auctions. This is up from 39% in 2019. 

Supercharged by their relationship with Poly Auction in China, Phillips was able to sell 36% of its global auction spend to Asian clients. That includes five of the top ten lots sold at the house in 2021. Sales in Hong Kong reached $270 million; that’s 27% of the auction sales. 

As part of its year-end publicity push, Phillips announced plans for a dramatic new Hong Kong headquarters at the West Kowloon Cultural District, a center-piece development in Hong Kong. This move capped a year of significant transition at the auction house. Stephen Brooks was installed as the new CEO of Phillips with a mandate to grow the business. 

His efforts will follow Edward Dolman’s seven-and-a-half year tenure where Dolman assembled a team of former Christie’s and Sotheby’s veterans to expand the company’s presence in New York and grow auction volumes beyond the house’s traditional strength in making new markets for emerging artists. Dolman remains as Executive Chairman. 

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