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The National Auctioneers Association engaged Morpace (now Escalent) to survey the auction industry about 10 years ago. As well, in 2010 the Broad College of Business at Michigan State University conducted research titled, “The Auction Industry 2010.”

Since then, we wonder if the markets have changed and to what extent? In our first of hopefully an annual review, we explore our perspective of the United States’ auction market in regard to market segmentation and total gross sales at auction (2018.)

Without specific market surveys, we reviewed public filings, annual reports, statements, news releases and the like for the past year to provide an approximative total sold in certain auction markets denoted below. We wonder if this is a better method contrasted with asking some individual auctioneers to self-report their own data.

    • Artwork — collector $29 billion (11%)
    • Automotive — wholesale $100 billion (37.8%)
    • Automotive — collector $450 million (0.17%)
    • Agricultural machinery and equipment $20 billion (7.6%)
    • Commercial and industrial equipment $2.5 billion (0.9%)
    • Horses — racing and pleasure $1 billion (0.4%)
    • Livestock — market $17.5 billion (6.6%)
    • Land and agricultural real property $28 billion (10.6%)
    • Commercial and industrial real property $15 billion (5.7%)
    • Residential real property $16 billion (6%)
    • Intellectual property $200 million (0.1%)
    • Charity and benefit $25 billion (9.4%)
    • Personal property — other $10 billion (3.8%)

This would suggest to us that about $264.65 billion was sold in the United States at auction in 2018. This would be approximately the same total that was reportedly sold in the immediate years prior to the most recent economic recession beginning July, 2008.

We think it’s quite likely that total auction proceeds increased in 2009-2013 when the economy was not as robust as it is now. There’s a saying, that “When times are good, the auction business is good and when times are bad, the auction business is great.”

Below are some of the sources which provided data for this above analysis:

While I plan to update this about this same time next year, it’s my hope someone else takes this task and produces a state-of-the-auction-industry report (with even more detail) each year. We wrote about that previously here: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2013/12/26/should-naa-become-a-trade-association/.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, CAS, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, RES Auction Services and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School, an Instructor at the National Auctioneers Association’s Designation Academy and America’s Auction Academy. He is faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University and is approved by the The Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.