Merchant Innovation

Catawiki ‘Doubling Down’ On European Market After Brexit Vote

You can chalk up Catawiki, hailed by some as the “eBay of antiques,” as one business that is at least excited by the potential for new customers and revenue streams in the wake of the Brexit vote, according to a recent Bloomberg report.

The company, which Deloitte said was the fastest-growing tech startup in the world from 2011 to 2015, expects a bump in its British business as a result of the historic vote to compel the U.K. to leave the EU and is expanding its advertising efforts across much of Europe in order to take advantage of a wave of potential new buyers and sellers who may want to capitalize on the current economic instability in the European markets.

“Sellers in the U.K. are probably going to offer more products now,” Rene Schoenmakers, Catawiki’s CEO, told Bloomberg this week. “We have a really strong brand name for them to other countries in the EU where bids are made in euros. That’s extra interesting to them as they can get more money for their products.”

Schoenmakers and the Dutch-based Catawiki are banking on the fact that, with the pound at its weakest level in decades against the dollar since the Brexit vote and also trading at its lowest against the euro since 2013, many U.K. residents will take this opportunity to sell “high” on items they may have been reluctant to in the past.

The Brexit vote also left many in Britain unsure about their and their country’s economic future, so many might be more willing than ever to part with valuable collectible items, like jewelry, artwork, rare stamps, coins or hard-to-find classic cars, if it means they can make a larger profit on it.

Think of Catawiki as sort of a high-end eBay. The company holds “weekly auctions for special objects” and uses a team of trained auctioneers to auction off about 30,000 lots per week, selling everything from engagement rings to Rolling Stones memorabilia to yachts (there’s a maximum price limit of €200,000 per lot the site will accept).

Catawiki says about 12 million users visit its site each month.


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