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Sales continue at Ritchie Bros despite pandemic

by Richard Cosgrove  |  Thu 23 Apr 2020

Sales continue at Ritchie Bros despite pandemic

Literally speaking, it has been relatively quiet around Ritchie Bros. auction sites recently. The world's largest heavy equipment auctioneer is known for its energetic equipment auctions held all over the world with "singing" auctioneers, rolling machinery, and big bidding crowds. But the theatres have been empty and will remain empty for now. Has the industry stopped buying and selling machinery? On the contrary. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Ritchie Bros. temporary holds all its auctions via internet and is currently seeing unprecedented online participation. Businesses continue to buy equipment at the auctions in great numbers.

Over the last two decades, the company invested heavily in technology and saw a steady increase in internet participation at its auctions. Alongside bidding in person at the site, new online bidding features and products were developed, such as the Ritchie Bros. mobile app. Nowadays 78% of the winning bids are placed via the website or app.

In March, three of the Company's European auctions were held as online Timed Auctions - an easy to use bidding system, with multiple days of bidding and auction items that close on a set day and time. These Timed Auctions were held in France, the UK, and Germany, and featured 5300+ auction lots; sold on behalf of 460 equipment owners. Ritchie Bros. registered 6200 bidders, more than half of them from abroad.

More people than ever before are buying and selling online, and it seems the industry has caught on. Ritchie Bros. website visits and web account creations increased by 15% and 19% respectively. Its mobile app users have risen perhaps even more drastically, up 90% year over year.

There are dozens of auctions on Ritchie Bros.' calendar, including in The Netherlands, France, Germany and Italy. In addition, the company also sees a growing interest in its subsidiary online equipment marketplace, called Marketplace-E. Items listed here can only be purchased online and sellers can set a reserve price on their items.

The next online auction in the UK with see bidding open on 12th June 2020, closing on the 18th and 19th June 2020, depending on the individual lots.


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