Online Equipment Auctions Growing In Popularity

By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | August 2008 Vol. 63 No. 8
A ‘ringman’ monitors an IronPlanet online auction.

On line auctions enhance our business model – we hold an unreserved auction event that hundreds and often thousands of unique bidders attend both in person and on line. Our on line bidding service, rbauctionbid live, allows qualified bidders the ability to participate over the internet, live and in real time, in Ritchie Bros. unreserved auctions around the world. Close to 12,800 unique customers from 79 countries purchased over $600 million worth of trucks and equipment using rbauctionbid live in 2007, an increase of more than 35 percent over 2006. More than 86,000 unique customers from 167 countries have now registered and received approval to use rbauctionbid live.

Ritchie Bros.’ auctions attract more than 250,000 bidder registrations each year. On average, internet bidders represent approximately 25 percent of the total registered bidders at Ritchie Bros.’ industrial auctions and in 2007, they were the buyer or runner-up bidder on 28 percent of the lots offered on line at these auctions.

Approximately 75 percent of participants at our auctions still prefer to go to the auction site and "kick the tires," and "taste the oil," so to speak, especially when dealing with late model, specialized equipment and trucks used in underground construction. Unlike many traditional auctions, our customers know that everything sells on auction day at our unreserved auctions, and that every item sells to the highest bidder, regardless of price.

Mike Groves, IronPlanet:
On line auctions have significantly changed the way equipment is bought and sold, offering a level of convenience previously impossible for both buyers and sellers. Buyers no longer have to leave their business for extended periods of time to find the right equipment and sellers have a more streamlined and efficient way to sell. In addition, on line auctions have provided a global platform for equipment resale, allowing equipment owners to take advantage of international demand.

IronPlanet held its first auction in April of 2000, selling 23 items for $1.5 million. We knew immediately that building trust was a critical factor in the success of our on line auctions, so we offered the industry's first guaranteed equipment inspection reports. This level of detail was seldom, if ever, available when purchasing used equipment and is a significant component of buyer confidence.