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Understanding Auction Speed

In “English” auctions, auctioneers tend to sell the lots at different rates, with the slower auctioneers selling 60-80 lots per hour, whereas the fast ones often exceed 150 lots per hour. The fastest auctioneers tend to be around 180 lots per hour (one lot every 20 seconds).

The fastest auctions are “Dutch auctions”. Unlike the more traditional English auction, where bidders push the price up from below, the Dutch approach starts with a high price set by the auctioneer. The price then drops until a buyer signals that he will take the goods. No actual bidding is involved.

Flower auctions on a typical day in Amsterdam, buyers will have purchased more than 34 million flowers (and 3 million potted plants) in the course of 60,000 transactions. Over 24 hours, a dozen roses can be shipped to an auction centre by a grower, purchased by a wholesaler, delivered to a retailer, and end up in the hands of a New Yorker in desperate need of an anniversary gift.

The number of lots in an “English” auction and the value of each lot also influence the auction’s speed. Assume an auction has 1,000 lots, and the auctioneer sells an item every 2 minutes (30 lots an hour = very slow). In that case, an auctioneer who sells an item every 30 seconds (120 lots per hour) frequently the pace of a brisk antique auction.

The quicker auctioneer will receive more money for his client. Why? Because the bidders at the slower auction will eventually leave, growing tired of waiting around, fewer bidders, less money. Also, more emotion is involved at a quicker paced auction, and quick buying decisions are more likely “yes” than “no.”

Ground speed versus engine speed.

Ever heard an auctioneer talking fast? That’s what is called engine speed. It’s how quickly that auctioneer’s “engine is running.” As you may appreciate, a car can be idle with its engine racing; the same happens at auctions. An auctioneer can be talking quick, but this doesn’t dictate how fast the items are sold.

Auction items sold per minute or hour is known as “Groundspeed”. Ground speed is independent of engine speed; remember, your car could be coasting down a steep hill, with the engine idle but going fast. Auctioneers can do this, too, by talking slowly (slow engine speed) but sell an item every 15 seconds.

Next time you’re at a live auction, notice the auctioneer’s ground speed (how quickly items are sold) and engine speed (how fast the auctioneer talks.) The slowest auction of which I am aware is 90 minutes to sell one lot, and please send us a message if you are aware of a slower lot sale.

Happy bidding and good luck purchasing a property or business in Thailand in auction.co.th monthly online property auction.

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