The iconic auctioneer Sotheby's will open its bidding wars to eBay's 145 million shoppers, as the two companies team up to build an online auction house for fine art.
The two announced on Monday that Sotheby's will be the "anchor tenant" for eBay's new online marketplace. Collectors will be able to browse works across 18 different collection categories. The online auction site will also include a "live auction" feature that will enable users from anywhere in the world to place bids on Sotheby's auctions in New York, promising a "frictionless" shopping experience for users that is sure to generate a lot more heat on the auction floor.
"We can give people access to the world’s finest, most inspiring items – anytime, anywhere and from any device," Devin Wenig, president of eBay Marketplaces, said in a statement.
Sotheby's said its number of online buyers has surged in recent years, with its share of online purchases climbing by 36% since 2012.
“The growth of the art market, new generation technology and our shared strengths make this the right time for this exciting new online opportunity,” said Bruno Vinciguerra, Sotheby’s Chief Operating Officer.
Sotheby's estimates that the global art market, currently valued at $65 billion, could reach $13 billion in online sales by 2020.