I was delighted to read that auctions have been providing a little light in the darkness recently.
Among all the gloomy articles about impending disaster arriving from one corner or another was the latest news from the Office for National Statistics, which reveal that auction houses and clothes shoppers have made a significant contribution to the recovery of retail sales in October. Economists had expected an uptick of 0.5%, but these two sectors helped that rise to 0.8%
That may seem small beer, but when you’re looking at an economy worth trillions, this is actually a very important piece of news in boosting confidence.
So why have auctions become so important? As discussed in this column more than once, they were already set up to handle the pandemic well, with sophisticated, user-friendly systems for bidding online. With many people sitting at home finally having the time to test this out, auctions attracted a whole new audience of bidders, while existing clients also found more time to take part in this convenient method of acquiring goods.
Not only that, the experience of bidding online is entertaining and exciting too, so who wouldn’t want to give it a go. I envy anybody who enjoys the thrill of that first successful bid at auction.
I would argue that it’s also the key to attracting the next generation of buyers, who are already sold into the idea of trading in second-hand goods as they recycle clothes, shoes and tech.
Auctions have already succeeded for millennia; now they are proving just how adaptable they remain.