Lauritz.com, the online auction house founded in 1885 (!), acquires rival QXL11 Mar, 2013
Lauritz.com might not be a househould name outside the Nordics, but they’re a very interesting business, and obviously an online powerhouse in its markets. Lauritz is a high end auction site, specialized in art and antiques, and it just announced the acquisition of QXL, another online auction site operating in Denmark and Norway.
Lauritz sells luxury items starting from DK 850 (€ 115) – antiques, art, jewellery, and furniture mostly. QXL is not so much a rival, but rather a complementary auction site for lower priced items. Like Lauritz, it has a user base of 1.2 million ‘members’.
The backstory of Lauritz is quite interesting. Entrepreneur Bengt Sundstrom bough a family-owned auction house in Copenhagen that was established in 1885, renamed it Lauritz.com and promptly pivoted it to an online auction house.
The company moved online in 2000 and never looked back. The company expects to post revenues of about € 134 million this year, up from barely € 2,68 million in 2000. Instead of one auction house, it now operates 20 of them in 4 countries: Denmark, Sweden, Belgium and Germany. It has a staff of about 250 employees today, almost half of which are valuation specialists.
Those are incredible growth numbers for such a niche activity, but according to their website, they don’t think the end is in sight for their growth. I quite like these bold statements, from the page where they explain their vision:
“Our ultimate goal is to establish a Lauritz.com branch in every country where one can find an IKEA store.”
“One of the principle tenets of Lauritz.com has been to eleminate all sense of snobbery and elitism from our auctions.”
That strategy seems to work well. Here are some key facts and figures it publishes on its site, just to give you an idea of its size:
• 10,000,000 page views per week
• More than 2,500,000 lots sold to date
• 750,000 visits per week
• 200,000 bids per week
• 8,000 lots at auction at any one time
• 1,500 new lots activated each day
• 290,000 lots sold in 2012
• 970,000 registered customers
• 2,500 new customers per week
• Customers from over 200 countries
• Average time spent on website, 12 minutes
• 250 employees
• 20 auction houses (DK 11, SE 6, DE 2, BE 1)
• In 4 countries
• 220,000 newsletter recipients
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