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youngergenJohn Schultz has said it more than once … fewer and fewer people are searching with the word “auction” online.

Instead, John notes, they are searching using terms such as “buy” and “for sale” when looking to purchase something.

The implication seems to be that auctioneers shouldn’t use the word, “auction” in their advertising since the word is not searched for as it once was.

We wrote about this phenomenon here: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2016/02/15/the-ford-f-150-experiment/

There are other questions as well.

    1. Why are these consumers not searching with the word “auction?” Are consumers not familiar with the term and therefore don’t search for them, or are they familiar and prefer not to search for them?
    2. Are less people searching for auctions via www.google.com because they search auction calendars and/or go directly to auctioneers’ websites?
    3. As the phrase goes, “When times are good, the auction business is good, and when times are bad, the auction business is great!” I think we can agree the economy in 2008-2009-2010 was much worse than the economy today in 2016. To what extent is this a factor?

Relatedly, this article looks at the uncertain future auctioneers hold: http://www.cpbj.com/article/20141121/CPBJ01/311209998/auctioneers-see-uncertain-future

The general conclusion seems to be that the younger generation doesn’t want to attend live auctions, and possibly prefer online auctions. My analysis is the younger generation wants to buy things “now,” and not wait at either a live auction nor an online auction for items they desire.

In early 2015, we wrote about Ashley and if an auction was a good fit for her jewelry needs: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2015/01/19/should-she-buy-at-auction/. We concluded an auction was not a good solution for her.

I have held that there may not be a five-year-old in the United States who doesn’t know what an auction is — eBay.com, a myriad of television shows about auctions and major car auction events on television as well — more auctioneers in the United States than ever before, and likely more auctions taking place every day than ever before.

Until we know if this drop in online searching is because of less people knowing what an auction is versus not wanting to buy at auction — and if there has been an associated increase in accessing online auction calendars and/or auctioneer websites directly — and lastly if the improved economy is driving consumer preferences, then any auction marketing changes may well be premature.

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. He serves as Adjunct Faculty at Hondros College of Business, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School and Faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University.