Auctioneer Comparison

3. November 2020 | 3.7K Views | 1 Comment

Today we compare the whisky auctioneers we track. Where are the most bottles sold? What whiskies are traded where? How did the prices change on different platforms? Here is the Whiskystats Auctioneer Comparison! 

We currently track the auction results of four auction platforms: (WAE), (SWA), (WA) and Whisky.Auction (W.A). We thereby do not only collect the single price observations but go the extra mile to map those observations to the whiskies in our database. Only this gives you the possibility to track the value of a single bottle or your whole collections and us the dataset we need to properly analyze the market.


By October 2020 our database holds more than 800 thousand price observations which we were able to map to more than 72 thousand different bottles of whisky. SWA accounts for almost 320 thousand prices. For WA we processed more than 250 thousand observations which go all the way back to 2011. The smallest auctioneer currently on our radar is also the youngest one. Since April 2015 we mapped 35 thousand prices from W.A. Each month we collect around 15 to 20 thousand new trades in total.
Number of Trades per Auctioneer Above we see the annual number of trades per auctioneer since 2015. Back then, german-based WA was the biggest auction house in terms of sold whisky bottles. This rapidly changed though as SWA showed a massive growth with more than 70 thousand registered trades in 2019 alone. Overall we see a pretty much constant growth on all platforms. The year 2020 is special of course. First of all we are yet to process the three remaining round of auctions. Secondly, the Corona Lockdown saw SWA temporarily closing doors in spring and then WAE was offline due to technical troubles too. Hence, the growth pattern is likely to be interrupted this year.


When we look at the most traded whisky brands, we see an interesting pattern. For the two major U.K. auctioneers SWA and WAE, the top four brands are the same: Macallan, Ardbeg, Highland Park and Bowmore. On SWA Laphroaig takes the fifth place, while on WAE Glenfiddich made its way into the Top 5. Over in Germany at WA it is Ardbeg that leads the list of most traded whisky brands. On the places follow Macallan, Laphroaig, Bowmore and Springbank. So in total it is Islay and Macallan which dominate the scene. While in the U.K. Highland Park and Glenfiddich join the party, the German market prefers Springbank.
Top Brands by Auctioneer We see a similar picture when we look at the single most traded whisky on each auction platform. On SWA and WAE this is the Yamazaki 18yo. This Japanese single malt was traded 1,128 times on SWA and 771 times on WAE alone. Hence, these two auction platforms account for almost 85% of the total 2,279 observations we made for this Yamazaki so far. With 533 trades the most-sold whisky on WA is the Ardbeg Galileo. No surprise considering the Ardbeg focus of the German market. On W.A it is the Hibiki 17yo that tops all other whiskies when it comes to the number of traded bottles.


With the next comparison, we want to find out how the prices changed on the different auction platforms. For this, we of course use our Whiskystats Index methodology. Hence, for each auctioneer, the monthly index movements are defined by the change in value of the historically 200 most traded whiskies on that platform. Apparently, this means that the WA index will be mainly driven by Ardbeg releases, while Macallan is the main driver for WAE, SWA and W.A. All indices are scaled to 100 points In December 2015.
Auctioneer Indices By October 2020 we see that WA and WAE clearly separated themselves from the two other auction houses. The price index for the most traded bottles on these two platforms gained 40% over the past five years. The WA index took a big hit in December 2019 but then recovered quickly. Unsurprisingly, this was also true for our overall Islay region index. The SWA index saw its peak in the summer of 2018 and fluctuates around 120 index points ever since. Looks like the prices of the most traded whiskies on SWA did not change much since late 2018. Overall it seems like prices increased on all platforms but not quite alike, as this index comparison shows.
Note that if you opt for the Whiskystats Insidership, you can distinguish the observations of the different auctioneers in the price graph of all whiskies in our database. Used wisely, this information enables you to find the right place and time to buy or sell your bottle of whisky.



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  • #34315

    Thanks for the analysis. Quite interesting!

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