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With 2020 being an unprecedented and extraordinary year on so many levels, Euro Auctions still hosted its full calendar of sales, and in the early stages of the COVID pandemic provided sellers with a financial life-line, helping to sell equipment, putting cash back into their businesses.
With 2020 being the most extraordinary year, and a year of extreme sadness for many, Euro Auctions made an early decision to try and find a way to continue to operate, providing vendors with a platform on which to sell their equipment and machinery, providing them with funds with which to 'shore-up' their business as the world began to shut down.
Covid struck, and on the 27th March, with over 5,500 lots of construction machinery, agricultural equipment, and industrial plant on-site at Leeds and committed to the auction, and ready for sale, Euro Auctions had many difficult choices to make. With the UK shutting down, and with expectant consignors waiting for a sale, Euro Auctions had the choice of either re-patriating machinery 'un-sold' back to sellers, leaving the lots for sale at the Leeds site for an indefinite period, or making the sale work within the government guidelines for the new Corona Virus.
The gates were locked, the public were not invited, and all equipment in the yard was sold on line. The Euro Auctions team from Leeds plus the local territory managers created over 2,500 video clips, of '30 second' duration, of all mobile equipment for sale, which were then uploaded to the Euro Auctions online sales platform. All videos were streamed online at the point of sale, to giving bidders the feel of a live auction, with the sale conducted in 'real time' by a team of 'live' auctioneers operating from the Yoder & Frey HQ in Ohio, USA. It worked, and it worked so well that this new format was repeated and was adopted by the rest of the group, world-wide.
Despite all the issues which Covid brought the full complement of the eight sales conducted at Leeds during 2020 succeeded and succeeded on many levels. The hammer total for the year increased by 7% over the previous year and 40,717 individual pieces of machinery were sold in comparison to 35,700 lots in 2019. While most sales throughout the year were a combination of onsite and online, online sales dominated with 75% of all transactions completed online, up from 46% in 2019.
Bidder accounts for the year also showed an unprecedented increase from 17,321 in 2019 to 31,259 in 2020, an uplift of 80% on the previous year. Not surprisingly, the number of online bidders doubled, due to circumstances, showing a 128% increase over the previous year. Due to the continued selection and abundance of good equipment on offer at the Leeds auctions there was a continued increase in first-time bidders, new entrants to the Euro Auctions arena, which was up by 133%.
In spite of all the difficulties good quality used machines were fetching good money and buyers were plentiful.
As we close the chapter on 2020, we still have little idea as to what 2021 has in sore, but at the last sale in Leeds, in December 2021, again, prices were strong, and look to hold good into the New Year.