Barnebys.com – the auction aggregator that’s already huge in Europe and Scandinavia – officially launches in the United States with a headquarters office in New York City

. January 31, 2016

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Life’s about to get a whole lot easier for Americans who like to buy their fine art, antiques and collectibles through internet auction. Barnebys.com, the Swedish-based auction aggregator that features, at any given time, over a half million items for sale through about 1,000 auction houses worldwide, has officially launched in the United States with a headquarters office in New York City.

Barnebys foundersHere’s how it works: People who before were relegated to frustrating guesswork and Google searches in their hunt for new additions to their collections simply log on to Barnebys.com and type in what they collect. Instantly, all of the auction houses that feature that collectible in their upcoming sales are presented to this buyer, who can then quickly and easily begin a site search for something to bid on.

Barnebys representatives have actually been in the States for the past several months, introducing its business model to the many auction houses that could benefit from a potential wave of new buyers and bidders. On average, Barnebys attracts about 1.5 million visitors to its site each month, mostly in the countries where it is an established powerhouse: Europe, Scandinavia, Asia, Australia and elsewhere.

Now, it has set its sights on conquering America, where now only one percent of peoples’ assets in the homes are sold at auction each year. “That figure is low when compared to the rest of the world, but for the auction industry and the secondary market we see this figure increasing quickly to two percent and eventually five percent,” said Pontus Silfverstolpe, Barnebys’ co-founder and it Director of Content.

That’s because, Silfverstolpe believes, today’s market for artwork, antiques and collectibles is fast becoming transparent and accessible to more and more people, thanks to phenomena like Barnebys, which showcases an entire range of auction houses, all on one convenient website. Also, it’s free to bidders and buyers (the auction houses pay “per-click” to have their auctions listed on Barnebys.com).

“The auction industry is changing,” Silfverstolpe said. “It simply can’t continue to rest on its laurels and reputation from a bygone time. This is a new age, with new behaviors, and with them buyers who have changing demands. Today’s buyers don’t just collect, say, Baroque, Art Nouveau or Modern pieces. They have far more varied interests in different styles, eras, artists, patterns and materials.”

For that reason, he said, auction houses and dealers must keep ahead of market trends in order to attract new audiences – and retain the ever-evolving existing ones. “To meet customers’ needs is going to be crucial for traders who want to survive,” Silfverstolpe said. “It’s not enough to simply have a website. A modern auction house needs to have a viable digital strategy, one that drives new traffic to its site.”

That’s where Barnebys comes in. The firm is a one-stop shopping service for people looking to add to their collections. Hundreds of thousands of lots are collated at any given time from the participating auction houses. These are clearly presented, online, to an audience that tends to be trendy, inquisitive and style-conscious, as they navigate Barnebys in search of brands that reflect their modern lifestyle.

While the bidders and buyers who flock to auctions are generally well-educated, upscale and goal-oriented, the major focus heading into 2016, not just in the U.S. but worldwide, will be the “lower” segment – objects not in the highest price bracket. “These items are what attract a broader audience,” Silfverstolpe said. “The challenge for a lot of major houses will be, how do you capture this market?”

So far, it’s proven to be a bit easier than expected in the U.S. “Much to my surprise, American auction houses at all ends of the spectrum are very receptive to hearing about new ways to market themselves,” Silfverstolpe said. “I’m even tempted to say we’re having an easier time of it, so far anyway, than in Europe, and we’re based in Sweden. So we’ll see how it goes. Right now signs are very encouraging.”

One trend he has noticed in Sweden and throughout Europe is that many private collectors are going directly to the auction houses instead of through an agent, thereby cutting out the middle man. “As a result, one can probably expect continued interest, albeit to a lesser extent, and sales in completely different price brackets than we have been accustomed to witnessing in recent years,” he remarked.

One thing is certain: change is inevitable. “Look at the sale of Chinese antiques and artifacts in recent days,” Silfverstolpe said. “They have fallen dramatically, and who could have seen that coming? There are various reasons behind this, such as China’s deteriorating economy, a troubled stock market, tighter regulations against corruption and a stronger focus on domestic production and international trade.”

Silfverstolpe doesn’t see that happening in the United States. “The economy is still fragile but getting stronger, plus it’s very diverse,” he said, “but the important thing for Barnebys is, the auction industry is showing strong growth and continued acceptance by the population at large, and people are serious about their collections. You add those two factors together and you’ve got a formula for great success.”

To learn more about Barnebys, please visit www.barnebys.com

Category: Auction News

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