14% of U.S. Adults Use Online Auctions

Consumers are growing more comfortable bidding for items in online auctions. Sensing this trend, one large operator in the space, eBay, is forming more partnerships with other businesses around the U.S. to bring live online art auctions to its customers. Small art houses will now target consumers that are seeking to bid on art and other collectibles.

A TechCrunch report notes that eBay’s May 2014 announced partnership with Sotheby’s allowed for real-​time bidding in live online auctions.  This test business model went well and eBay is now setting up shop with other large galleries like Doyle New York and Freeman’s. eBay is also expanding its online art auction base to a number of other businesses located across the U.S. These businesses will be selling a range of collectibles like African-​American art and rare medical books. In advance of these limited-​time auctions, the sites will promote themselves. They’ll also allow consumers to review catalogs in advance of the events. Potential buyers often have the opportunity to enter absentee bids if they can’t be online at the time of the auctions.

These businesses will be targeting the 14% of U.S. adults who have bid in online auctions during the past year. AudienceSCAN data shows this audience is slightly more male (52.1%) than female (47.9%). About 27% of these consumers say they’ve attended in-​person auctions in the past year. And, 16% have a big interest in fine art and antiques, which is 60% higher than average. Online auction bidders also have a higher than average interest in purchasing gold and silver in the next year.

There’s no questions that these consumers are comfortable with technology and with making online purchases, however, marketers may want to include traditional media in the mix they use to reach online auction buyers. Over 60% of these consumers have taken action in the past year after seeing an ad in magazines or newspapers (print, online, mobile or tablet.)

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports in AdMall.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.