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The auction industry is experiencing significant changes in revenue, demographics, and other areas, thanks to the growth of online auctions.

One glance at the news, and you’re bound to see a few stories reflecting the ripple effect of online auctions. The potential for online bidding attracts more money, people, and more change than the industry has seen in a long time.

We rounded up a few stand-out stories that showcase the most significant benefits and changes of online auctions.

Fine art is now accessible to everyone, thanks to online auctions.

Before online auctions changed the game, buying fine art was a privilege limited to a small audience. You may have had to secure an invite to a private black-tie event downtown New York. Or you had to know the right person at the proper gallery to get the piece you wanted. If you lived in a city without a fine art scene, you might have been out of luck entirely.

This exclusivity is a thing of the past, thanks to online auctions. The opportunity to purchase and own beautiful artwork is now available to anyone with a wifi connection. The numbers alone show how much online auctions have transformed art buying. In 2013, online art sales hit about $1.5 billion. In 2019, that number grew to $4.8 billion. Some experts expect online art sales to reach $9.32 billion by 2024.

Reach far-away collectors through online auctions.

Your potential buying pool can be limited when you’re selling via in-person auction. For example, there may only be a few people in your area who are interested in a specialty item. And not all those people will attend your auction.

An online auction, however, has a much broader reach. If you’re auctioning off a vintage car, for example, you could draw bids from collectors all over the world.

DeLozier Realty and Auction, which operates out of Maryville, Tennessee, recently sold A-model cars to bidders in California. This cross-country sale was only possible thanks to DeLozier’s transition to online auctions. According to DeLozier, online auctions account for 99% of their business these days. For them, embracing online auction technology has meant a wider reach, higher bids, and more successful auctions.

Nonprofits are bringing in considerably larger sums of money through online auctions.

The Nature Conservancy, a Virginia-based conservation nonprofit with a global footprint, recently held an auction in New York City. One particular item, a Patek Philippe watch, sold for $6,503,000—to an online bidder.

This winning bid cracks the top ten for the most money ever paid for a watch at a charity auction. And every dollar, save for an auction house premium, will go to the Nature Conservancy.

Without online bidders, the watch may have sold for less. But the hybrid auction drew more people, which led to more money raised for an important cause.

The outcome of this particular auction has promising potential for auctions held in other parts of the country. For example, online or hybrid auctions in smaller, less affluent cities may attract wealthy bidders. In addition, the outcome could mean more money raised for nonprofit causes in lesser-known regions.

Online auctions open doors for new bidders

Multiple industries are seeing significant changes in the demographics of their bidders. Sotheby’s reports that “75% of new buyers are under 50 years old… and 43% are under 40.” Thanks to online auctions, more young people participate in Sotheby’s events.

The wine industry now includes more young people on both the buyer’s and the seller’s sides. In addition, WineBid.com has reported more diversity and a greater global reach in their users.

The growth of online auctions is building connections between businesses and new customers. Which creates a more diverse audience is fantastic for virtually any industry. When you connect with more people, you expand your growth potential.


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