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crystalballWhat will the auction industry look like in 2050? I was asked what I thought, and came up with fifteen (15) changes I anticipate.

While I have no crystal ball (still looking for a working model) I invite those who read my expectations to comment about their own.

I’m not convinced anyone can predict out 37 years with certain accuracy … but, why not try?

    1. Auctions become the default method to sell homes, cars, food and most all other real and personal property.
    2. Most auctioneers will be women. The auctioneer demographic will move to closely resemble the population’s demographic.
    3. Manufacturers and retailers largely convert from traditional sales platforms to auction platforms.
    4. Almost all auctions will separate new from used property, or exclusively offer one or the other.
    5. Vastly more types of currencies will be used to pay for auction purchases.
    6. Recycling is not only now necessary, but required by law.
    7. Robots and/or automatons are able to emulate live bid calling, although mostly a novelty.
    8. Live auctions will typically provide product flow from sellers to new owners in less than 24 hours.
    9. Online auctions all but abandon simulcast bidding, utilizing only pre-auction absentee bidding.
    10. Typical auctioneer bid calls in 4, 5, or more languages and currencies.
    11. Regional and local pricing markets all but disappear. Prices largely stabilize.
    12. Almost all auctions will be “absolute.” “With reserve” auctions will be essentially nonexistent.
    13. Bidders will tend to utilize live auctions close to home, largely able to avoid shipping and delays in possession.
    14. Large auction centers will the norm, with fewer smaller and/or onsite auctions.
    15. The percentage of people who sell and purchase at auction each year nears 100%; over 10% of the workforce will work in some capacity in the auction industry.

Can such predictions be accurate 37 or more years out? John Elfreth Watkins foresaw in 1900 that by 2000 we’ve have fast trains, color photography, world-wide telephone (cellular telephone) capability, and air ships — to name just a few of his predictions.

In my opinion, the auction industry is still in its infancy, and has enormous growth potential. Most all auctions are deemed successful, which plants the seed of optimism about the auction method of marketing in the minds of the younger generation, who will in turn use auction marketing to an even greater extent. And so forth …

Further, as more auctions are conducted, the more auctioneers and support personnel will be needed to sustain the supply of auctions and the demand for services. As a result, those with relationships with those in the industry will be inclined to utilize the auction industry for their needs; growth will likely be exponential.

How will the auction industry look in 2050? I suggest it will be a much heightened part of life in the United States, and elsewhere, compared to today.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, Keller Williams Auctions and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. His Facebook page is: www.facebook.com/mbauctioneer. He serves as Adjunct Faculty at Columbus State Community College and is Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School.