The National Auctioneers Association conducted weekly surveys of member and non-member auctioneers starting March 25 (then April 1, April 8, April 15 and ending April 22.) Those five reports in total are here:
- March 25, 2020 AuctionIndustryReport32520.pdf
- April 1, 2020 AuctionIndustryReport040120.pdf
- April 8, 2020 AuctionIndustryReport4820.pdf
- April 15, 2020 AuctionIndustryReport41520.pdf
- April 22, 2020 AuctionIndustryReport42220.pdf
These surveys asked questions about the auctioneer answering the questions (years in business, membership status, areas served) and then how the auctioneer was addressing Coronavirus (COVID-19) issues.
About 75% of the auctioneers surveyed had been in the business for over 10 years, with about 30% in business 30 years or more. While most served rural and small-town markets, a good cross-section of respondents served small cities, mid-sized cities, and large city markets.
About 50% of the auctioneers surveyed concentrated on personal property, with the next most popular focus being real estate. Other sources of income included contract auctioneering work and benefit auctions.
In regard to auctions and other events scheduled in the upcoming summer, most of the time it was the auctioneer and client together deciding what to do — and their decisions ranged from forging ahead … to canceling or postponing.
Auctioneers reported that the most material concerns from sellers concerned expected prices, values, and bidder participation, coupled with concerns about rescheduling the auction. As the surveys continued from March 25 until April 22, buyers and donors became less concerned and were adapting to the pandemic.
Almost all auctioneers reported being completely — or mostly — in compliance with local, state and federal guidelines. Most live auctions were either canceled or postponed, but not all. Auctioneers’ primary communication with their communities was done with social media, websites, and emails.
Real estate auction closings were being affected in a variety of ways, with about 30% of auctioneers reporting they do not sell real property. Benefit auctioneers reported the typical non-profit client has rescheduled or canceled events, with some exploring online fundraising and other options.
Most auctioneers reported their vulnerabilities included fear of the unknown economy and loss of income. Not surprisingly, most said they were conserving expenses and looking for other business opportunities.
We’ll keep monitoring the auction industry and trends developing for the remainder of this pandemic and thereon. Your participation in future surveys is important to NAA and others so that good information can be compiled.
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.