Banner year for eBay, Sotheby’s

Year-end revenues for auction firms eBay Inc. and Sotheby’s Holdings Inc. show 2005 resulted in record figures for revenues and sales.

In 2005, Sotheby’s achieved its highest yearly total ever for revenues with $513.5 million. Auction and related revenues for the full year 2005 totaled $502 million, an increase of $58.9 million, or 13 percent, from the prior year.

This is largely due to a significant improvement in auction commission margins, attributable to the increase in buyer’s premium rates in January 2005 and a favorable change in sales mix over the period. In 2004, a greater proportion of Sotheby’s auction sales came from high-end works of art for which commission margins are traditionally lower due to the level of competition for such objects.

For the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2005, Sotheby’s reported fourth-quarter auction and related revenues of $200.6 million, its highest fourth-quarter total ever, and a $25.1 million, or 14 percent, increase over the prior fourth quarter, primarily due to higher auction commission revenues and private sale commissions. Learn more at www.

Likewise, eBay showed tremendous growth in 2005. For the full year, eBay generated consolidated net revenues of $4.55 billion, a 39 percent increase over the $3.27 billion in 2004. Consolidated net income increased 39 percent year over year to $1.08 billion.

Consolidated fourth quarter and net income was $279.2 million.

EBay listings totaled a record 1.9 billion in 2005. That’s a 33 percent increase from the 1.4 billion listings reported in 2004. The gross merchandise volume on eBay, aka the total value of all successfully closed listings on eBay’s trading platforms, was a record $44.3 billion. The amount represents a 30 percent year over year increase from the $34.2 billion reported for 2004.

The total payment volume, or the dollar volume of payments initiated through eBay’s PayPal system, was $27.5 billion, representing a 45 percent year over year increase from the $18.9 billion reported for 2004.

“Q4 capped off a remarkable year for eBay,” said Meg Whitman, president and CEO of eBay Inc. “We saw accelerating growth and momentum across the board, a testament to the fact that eBay has built the most outstanding portfolio of businesses on the Internet.”

EBay hosts the online selling capabilities of major auction houses as well as that of individual sellers. Learn more at