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How the rise of online auctions is changing used farm equipment sales

The popularity of online equipment auctions has taken off in the last few years but, there’s one item for sale buyers would like to see more of – used equipment.

Sales of used equipment are usually robust when new equipment manufacturers face challenges, such as those with the supply chain.

One way buyers can purchase used equipment is through auctions. While there has been less in-person auctions, online auction numbers have surged, especially timed auctions.

Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers started hosting online auctions in 2002, but most of its business remained in conjunction with live auctions. The popularity of timed auctions took off at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, says Luke Fritshaw, Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers regional sales manager in Saskatoon.

Timed auctions ins and outs

  • Bidding no longer opens when an auctioneer gets to a lot, but three to five days before auction. This allows customers to put in their maximum bids early and avoid sitting to watch the auction and wait for their item.
  • Since timed auctions are held online, bidders can take more time to place their bid from the comfort of their homes. Though that may mean higher prices, since bidders have longer to consider the purchase.
  • At some auction houses, the time left on the bid is reset if a bid is placed in the last two minutes of the sale. That provides customers with additional time to decide how high they’re willing to go with their bidding.
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