AUSTRALIA’S sheep breeders and ram buyers have embraced online sales this year, driving huge growth in AuctionsPlus activity as the COVID-19 pandemic limited on-property sales and buyer attendance.
AuctionsPlus Market Insights team member Michael McManus said for the period 1 August to 16 October, total online stud sales more than doubled, growing 160 percent over 2019 figures to 294 sales this year.
“That included 109 cattle sales and 185 sheep sales with sheep sales seeing the largest growth, up 278pc from 2019 and cattle increasing by 70pc,” he said.
“This increased volume of sales was at a time when travel restrictions were implemented between states and internally included travel restrictions for employees at AuctionsPlus.”
Online buyer numbers increased by 80pc to average nine bidders per sale, up from five in 2019.
“Total number of connections increased from 60 in 2019 to 120 connections in 2020, growing by 100pc.
“Total bids increased 845pc from 4253 to 40,175 in 2020 and total lots purchased by online buyers increased 588pc from 588 to 4048,” Mr McManus said.
Mr McManus said the spring stud season has always been a busy period at AuctionsPlus with online connectivity featured at many stud sales across Australia.
But he said this year there were very different circumstances at play, forcing studs to adapt to new rules and restrictions in order to have their on-property sales.
“This meant that online selling was adopted by many to combat restrictions, so that all buyers could have the opportunity to purchase regardless of their location.
“The result has been the busiest spring selling season AuctionsPlus has had to date, with an influx of new studs ‘onboarding’ and existing customers returning,” he said.
“Our biggest day for the 2020 season saw 25 auctions running on one day.”
Mr McManus said the COVID-19 pandemic has created so much uncertainty and burden on many people throughout the world and despite agriculture being deemed an essential service, many were still forced to rethink their operations and traditional selling options.
“For the first time ever, we saw some studs go completely online for their sale which was a huge change for not only themselves but all their buyers who usually attend their farms and view their perspective animals.
“The social aspect of attending stud sales and catching up with other farmers/agents in the area is also an important part to these sales,” he said.
“This was all turned on its head with the imposed social distancing and gathering restrictions, therefore many people opted to use the online only format, a new experience breaking many years of tradition.”