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NEW YORK, Feb. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- LiveAuctioneers, the leading Internet live-bidding platform for fine art, antiques and collectibles, recorded its best year ever in 2013, with gross online sales of $222.5 million. Founded in November 2002, the Manhattan-based company has maintained profitability since its inception.
"While LiveAuctioneers has enjoyed phenomenal growth over the past eleven years, 2013 was definitely our most successful year to date," said LiveAuctioneers CEO Julian R. Ellison. "We're in super-growth mode for 2014, with plans to introduce many exciting new online products and services over the next 12 months."
During 2013, there were 37.6 million visits to LiveAuctioneers' website, with the number of unique visitors jumping 11% over the prior year. Mobile use also grew substantially. In the fourth quarter alone, mobile visits rose by 28.72% compared to those of Q4 2012, while tablet visits surged nearly 32%.
Ellison attributes LiveAuctioneers' ongoing success to several factors, including its flexibility toward sellers. LiveAuctioneers championed non-exclusivity for auction houses at a time when competing platforms were imposing restrictive, growth-killing policies, Ellison said.
"Any platform that bundles its products into exclusive contracts obviously can't survive in a open-market environment. In such cases, it's always the seller who suffers," said Ellison. "If a provider forces sellers into exclusive contracts, where's the incentive to provide better customer service or invest in new technologies and products to benefit those clients? Our sellers are free to use multiple live-bidding platforms simultaneously."
Seller confidence throughout 2013 was validated by the 27% growth in catalog listings on LiveAuctioneers as compared to 2012. Last year 3,657,074 items were listed in auctions using LiveAuctioneers, while the prior year's total was 2,881,369.
In 2013, LiveAuctioneers' brand identity took flight worldwide, as reflected by the 70% increase in direct traffic over that of 2012. "This metric tells the number of visitors who type our URL directly onto their browser or click on a bookmark," Ellison explained. "In just twelve months, our direct traffic went from 6.4 million to 10.9 million visits."
Recently released data confirms that China led the world in art purchases in 2013 ($4.078 billion). Last year on LiveAuctioneers, executed bids from China-based users increased by 37% over the prior year. Also in 2013, the number of registered users in China rose by 43% and auction signups climbed 35% over 2012.
Asian antiques claimed seven of the year's top 10 slots for highest-priced items sold via LiveAuctioneers. Highlights included:
Another potent category was rare and important cameras, including:
As any auctioneer will attest, the second-most-important person at any auction is the underbidder – the competitor who places the last non-successful bid before the winning bid has hammered. In 2013, several underbids exceeding $1 million were placed through LiveAuctioneers, including:
LiveAuctioneers concluded 2013 with robust fourth-quarter results. The 2,092 auctions scheduled through LiveAuctioneers during Q4 attracted 6.2 million unique visitors and prompted 85.5 million page views. Visitors to LiveAuctioneers catalogs spent, on average, 27.46% more time browsing than in Q4 2012. Gross fourth-quarter sales reached $65.8 million.
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