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truckOnce auctioneers were able to put auctions online, some quickly concluded that the live auction would essentially go away.

I’ve heard this type of statement over and over again at conventions, seminars, and other auctioneer gatherings …

    “These younger buyers don’t want to stand around at a live auction — or even attend one at all. They much prefer to use their smartphones, tablets and other Internet devises to bid online.”

Today, the auction market is made up of online, live and both (simulcast.)

Most academic studies (including a major study at the California Institute of Technology and Stanford University) have concluded that live or online has merit, but both (simulcast) is not prudent for maximizing the seller’s position:

However, something interesting is happening across the United States, and the world. Customers aren’t reacting to stationary sales methods — but rather — sales methods are reacting to customer demands.

Most major retail stores in the United States are increasing their physical footprints, and using an online presence to supplement or enhance their in-store sales — not replace it; a notable number of online-only businesses are opening retail storefronts.

See here a story titled, “Click-to-Brick:” http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-07-10/click-to-brick-why-online-retailers-want-stores-in-real-life

And, consumers are purchasing far more items in these stores when physically present than they do when shopping online.

Numerous studies have analyzed the Generation Y shopper (born 1981-2000.) Nearly all are reaching the same conclusion; one such put it this way:

Contrary to what some retailers have feared, we found that Gen Y still does most of its purchasing in stores,” said Lachman, president of real estate consulting firm Lachman Associates LLC and executive-in-residence at Columbia University’s Graduate Business School. “Gen Yers use the Internet to research products, compare prices, envision how clothing or accessories might look on them, or respond to flash sales or coupon offers …

The Generation Y shoppers at the time of this writing are aged 13 to 32. These folks are buying at auction now, and will be for the next 30-40-50 years. And, they are doing “most of [their] purchasing in stores” despite having the Internet at their fingertips 24 hours a day? Apparently so.

Yes, “Gen Yers” purchase items online — we all do. However, studies indicate for that next generation of auction buyers:

    • They use the Internet more so to decide where to go shop.
    • They prefer the “live” experience for shopping.
    • They can and do buy more while in a physical store.

Auctions will likely remain live, online and both. What the future holds, however, isn’t maybe as clear as we thought even a few years ago, when some auctioneers predicted the demise of the live auction.

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.