Aston Barclay’s decision to allow car buyers to return to its auction halls when COVID-19 ‘Lockdown 3’ ended in April has delivered a 17% uplift in attendances.
Martin Potter, managing director at the independent remarketing group, told AM last month that the business was prepared to “turn traders away” to maintain its strict COVID safety measures as it anticipated a rapid ramp-up in traders visiting in-person.
But it has ultimately been able to accommodate the 17% uplift in overall auction attendance delivered by the shift, as the number of online bidders remained stable.
Potter said: "Giving our buyers the choice in how they purchase their used vehicle stock remains an important part of how Aston Barclay differentiates from the more traditional auction house.”
Aston Barclay said that used car sale prices had risen by 8% as stock shortage continue to impact the sector.
Car retailers and industry analysts have said that the limited flow of stock is expected to continue as the global shortage of semiconductors limits new car production and, in turn, sales and the number of part-exchange vehicles entering the market.
Buyers who attended auctions in-person proved more active than those online, meanwhile, accounting for 50% of sales.
Buying online remains a popular channel for buyers, however, with Aston Ba5rclay customers now benefiting from the newly-introduced vehicle inspections provided by the AA with guarantees provided by WMS.
Potter said: “Our new partnership with The AA means buyers can trust making a purchase either in the auction hall or online, and that the vehicle they buy is accurately described."
Aston Barclay made its decision to return to physical auction sales in early March after it surveyed its customers to understand what the appetite was for a return.
Feedback showed 84% wanted to return to the halls as soon as it was safe to do so, while 97% said they would buy the same amount or more given a choice of channels through which to buy.