NEW YORK – As the pandemic forced many businesses to lock down, millions of buyers turned to LiveAuctioneers and embraced sustainable ways to shop while supporting thousands of independent auction houses.

In its recently released 2020 annual report, LiveAuctioneers reveals a year-over-year pattern of growth that is unrivaled in the industry, confirming 1.2 million items sold through the site and, on average, 120,000 new-bidder sign-ups each month. It also reveals the types of items consumers are currently buying, which brands they love, and which art and collectibles categories achieved the highest prices over the last 12 months on LiveAuctioneers.

“For many reasons, 2020 was a pivotal year. Despite the unprecedented challenges, we saw astounding growth as auctions moved almost exclusively online. We welcomed millions of new buyers seeking a more sustainable way to shop, and at a time when supporting small businesses was more important than ever, we were able to help auction houses achieve record-setting sales and 102 percent year-over-year growth in first-time buyers,” said LiveAuctioneers Senior Director of Marketing Suzie Ryu.

“Buyers accustomed to bidding in person encountered a dramatically improved auction experience, with unparalleled access to thousands of auctions through LiveAuctioneers’ website and five-star-rated iOS and Android apps,” Ryu said. “Thanks to features like sophisticated search and filtering tools, bidder ratings and reviews, personalized alerts, seamless checkout, and capability to bid in multiple auctions at once, previous in-person bidders are enjoying the thrill of the hunt without any of the limitations of bidding in person. We are very excited to build on the momentum in 2021 and continue to deliver an exceptional online auction experience to buyers and auction houses around the world.”

Tiffany Studios' table lamp with “Lotus” shade. Sold by Clarke Auction through LiveAuctioneers for $150,000.

Tiffany Studios' table lamp with “Lotus” shade. Sold by Clarke Auction through LiveAuctioneers for $150,000.

Of the 1.2 million items acquired through LiveAuctioneers in 2020, the top categories of interest included contemporary art, automobilia, musical instruments, comic books, scientific objects, and wine and spirits. Favorite artists of 2020 were Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Marc Chagall, Keith Haring, and Banksy. The most-saved artworks were Joan Miro's 1955 lithograph, The Sun Eater, a Guy Carleton Wiggins Manhattan snowscape, and a Henk Van Putten marble sculpture titled, Le Modernist.

As they searched, bid and bought, LiveAuctioneers bidders most often explored the Art Deco, mid-century and Victorian periods, as well as Chippendale and Louis XV styles. Furniture buyers overwhelmingly favored the mid-century modern look, especially as interpreted by such revered designers as George Nakashima, Hans Wegner, Finn Juhl, George Nelson and Milo Baughman.

Luxury goods continued their spectacular run in the marketplace, led by Rolex, Cartier, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Hermès. The most-saved luxury items of 2020 included a Louis Vuitton monogram travel bag, a Hermès “Evelyne” shoulder bag, and a group lot consisting of two Tiffany & Co. flap bags with a pair of gloves. The three most-saved fine jewelry items were a Cartier 7.55ct diamond and platinum ring, a Schlumberger for Tiffany “Bird on a Rock” diamond and beryl brooch, and a Rolex 1680 Red Submariner diver’s wristwatch.

George Nakashima, triple-sliding-door cabinet, American black walnut and pandanus cloth, 1967. Sold by Rago Auctions through LiveAuctioneers for $45,500.

George Nakashima, triple-sliding-door cabinet, American black walnut and pandanus cloth, 1967. Sold by Rago Auctions through LiveAuctioneers for $45,500.

Hermès shiny black crocodile, diamond and white gold Birkin 35 handbag. Sold by Christie's through LiveAuctioneers for $287,500.

Hermès shiny black crocodile, diamond and white gold Birkin 35 handbag. Sold by Christie's through LiveAuctioneers for $287,500.

Supporting the theory that there’s a buyer for anything and everything, 2020’s most-saved collectibles on LiveAuctioneers were a 1967 Fender Jaguar guitar, a signed Lazaro figural octopus for tabletop display, and an early 20th-century Ouija board that purportedly belonged to a witch.

A gold leaf and shell octopus figural tabletop with blue glass eye, signed Lazaro, 6" x 4-1/2". Sold by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc. through LiveAuctioneers for $600.

A gold leaf and shell octopus figural tabletop with blue glass eye, signed Lazaro, 6" x 4-1/2". Sold by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc. through LiveAuctioneers for $600.

It has long been said that antiques are the original recyclables and in 2020, more than ever before, acquiring and reusing high-quality, well-made vintage objects became a fashionable – and responsible – thing to do, according to the report. In media interviews, renowned designers, tastemakers, and style influencers spoke of their fondness for shopping at LiveAuctioneers and discovering classic pieces that are ready for their next life.

The environment benefited in 2020 from the recycling of antiques and vintage goods on LiveAuctioneers in these ways:

  • 68 tons of paper saved through online bidding
  • 455,000 tons of CO2 equivalent in recirculated gold sold on LiveAuctioneers
  • 11,000 tons of CO2 emissions reduced by remote bidding vs. driving to art auctions
  • 8x longer lifespan of furniture and home decor items sourced on LiveAuctioneers