The global impact from the Coronavirus COVID-19 is significant and devastating and the auction industry is not immune. However it is somewhat better placed to cope and adapt than most others.
Sure the number of live public auctions where bidders attend in person to inspect and bid on vehicles and other items has plummeted, and for good reason. The safety of staff and bidders is paramount and auction facilities should be doing all that they can to eliminate the spread of the virus. Currently it is just not viable or sensible for auctions to continue as before with large numbers of bidders in close proximity to each other with inspections and test drives allowed.
What has been the saving grace of auctions (not just cars but real estate as well) is the use of technology. Now more and more auctions are being held online with bidders logging in remotely to view and bid. Auction facilities have embraced the changed world and are using video technology to connect bidders to sellers and bring the auction community together. For some auction companies such as Copart there has not really been a significant change to the way they do business as all of their auto and car auctions are online prior to the COVID-19 crisis anyway. But many of the smaller auction players have had to adjust their business strategy to survive – some are even thriving.
People will always want to buy cars no matter what is happening in the world. The current coronavirus may change how people buy. For example someone who normally buys from a dealer may now have reduced income and be looking for bargains. That is why auctions will always be relevant and it is great to see auction companies leading the way, being creative and keeping a market for their goods established. Who knows – in reflection in the future we may look back as 2020 being a watershed time for the auction industry which made it even better than what it was before.