Like virtually every business, live auctions have changed dramatically since the onset of COVID-19. In most areas, restrictions forced the cancellation of live auctions. Even in areas where live auctions were allowed to continue, the number of people attending those events has been restricted. So, what changes do auctioneers expect to see in 2021?
Restrictions Force Auctioneers to Adopt Different Strategies
North Carolina auction bidders are finding they need to change how they proceed with reviewing offerings and presenting bids. In the majority of cases, North Carolina auction companies will continue to offer online auction options rather than in-person options during 2021. That means bidders will be forced to evaluate offerings differently than they might have in the past. At the same time, COVID-19’s impact on the business will certainly alter the auction landscape as well. Here are a few ways both Carolina realty and bidders may expect today’s auction environment to differ from prior years.
More Businesses Will Be Liquidated
According to the Wall Street Journal, there were roughly 200,000 extra business closures last year than would have occurred if the pandemic had not hit the country. That suggests the inventory, fixtures, and real estate owned by those businesses will be liquidated. Some of that property may be sold to other businesses but, in other cases, auction companies will help owners and investors dispose of assets.
Of course, not all businesses have suffered during the pandemic. Business owners who’ve been quick to adapt to the changing conditions found new and innovative ways to stay afloat, or even thrive, during the pandemic. Those businesses will be poised to take advantage of those entities that were unable to navigate the new realities as COVID-19 spread through their industries.
Access to Businesses Will Continue to Be Limited
Over the past months, consumers at all levels have seen their access to businesses limited. Rather than simply showing up and walking into showrooms, for example, customers must now schedule appointments to shop or pick up orders. North Carolina companies are certainly using this model to avoid spreading the COVID-19 virus among employees. Since that strategy has proven successful, retail organizations and auction companies are unlikely to go back to the free access model of the past anytime soon. While the pandemic is causing major disruptions to the area’s businesses, those changes are keeping some companies open that might otherwise have closed permanently.
Online and Virtual Options Will Dominate Charity Auctions
All non-profits, and many for-profit organizations, rely on auctions to generate revenue. In some instances, charitable auctions provide the bulk of an organization’s funding for the year. In the past, many of those auctions have been held during galas donors attended in person. Last year, that all changed, as the pandemic forced organizations to scale back or cancel large, in-person events. That’s likely to continue through 2021 even if more donors are vaccinated. Obviously, the hope is that in-person events will be possible later in the year, but that will be determined by how many new cases are diagnosed.
Consolidation in the Auction Industry Will Drive Additional Changes
With the economic conditions of the past year, auction companies are merging with other providers, which reduces the number of auction companies available in most areas. Certainly, North Carolina is no different. Potential bidders may see just as many auctions being scheduled, but many of those events will be conducted by a few larger auction companies. In some instances, that may benefit both sellers and bidders, but it may be more difficult to schedule events. However, the best North Carolina auction companies will still work with clients to ensure their auctions are held in a timely manner.
Watching the Trends
Obviously, things may change if the number of COVID-19 cases continues to decline in the coming months, but organizations considering scheduling an auction should assume conditions will continue as they are now through the end of the year. In the event conditions change, North Carolina auction companies may once again be able to offer live events, but that should not be considered a sure bet at this point.
Auction companies will stay on top of trends and conditions throughout the coming months. If you’re considering an auction anytime this year, it’s important to contact an auction company now for advice and scheduling information. Carolina Auction and Realty will take the time to review the existing options and explain how the current situation may impact the success of a specific event. For more information, contact a local auction company today.