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A look at how the Covid-19 pandemic has changed shopping habits and the way auctions houses have had to react to survive.
2 Mins

How Covid-19 has changed the auction world

Helen Marvel
Helen Marvel

The closure of retail stores left consumers with no option but to head online for their shopping requirements, and all the signs indicate that a shift away from online is unlikely to happen, certainly not back to the pre-lockdown levels.

Stores may be cautiously re-opening, but research shows that there isn’t likely to be a rush back through those doors. Only 9% of shoppers surveyed said they expect to return to shops immediately and nearly half of global consumers don’t plan to resume shopping in brick-and-mortar stores for ‘some time’ or a ‘long time’ to come.

In the auction sector, live auctions being banned led to a huge surge in the amount of interest in timed auctions and converted many into the numerous benefits of both buying and selling in this way.

For sellers, the vast audience size for online sales means they will reach way more potential buyers than with live auctions and the sales process is swift and simple. Buyers can choose where, when and how they browse and bid, making the process more relaxed and flexible.

As the UK’s leading online auction house, we already had a successful model in operation and were able to seamlessly move to remote working. We have seen more new visitors to our website than ever since the restrictions began and many of our sellers are experiencing revenues that far exceed their expectations.

The increase in numbers
Figures are against average pre-lockdown

  • Online hammer 284% 
  • Number of auctions 127%
  • Number of lots consigned 137%
  • Number of vendors 145%
  • Traffic to our website 310%
  • Number of enquiries 580%
  • Chat conversations 650%

Previous reservations some live auction devotees had about trying the online method of both buying and selling have been proven to be unfounded and these converts are likely to continue to use online, at least as a part of the mix if not all, into the future.

In order to thrive, many traditional auction houses are now having to embrace a new way of operating. For many, they will already have offered a proportion of their sales online but some, especially the smaller houses, will now be evolving to having to build an online business.

It remains to be seen exactly how the auction landscape will develop going forward, but online should continue to lead the way.

Take a look around and see what we can tempt you with today.