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BidX1 doubled its sales last year, despite an industry-wide slowdown

BidX1 doubles UK sales as auctions face digital future

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Karl Tomusk

BidX1 doubled its UK sales last year, with £108m of property sold, bucking the trend as the wider auctions market took a beating in 2020.

The online auction specialist, which sold £52m of property in 2019, sold more than 320 assets in 2020 as the number of bidders tripled. Its success rate rose from 76% to 90%.

BidX1’s growth stood in stark contrast to the wider UK auctions market. Total money raised was down 9.9% to £3.3bn last year as the number of lots offered fell by more than a fifth, according to the Essential Information Group.

Commercial property was particularly hard hit last year with sales down 16.2% despite a resurgence in activity late in the year.

BidX1 credited “the crucial role of proptech” in overcoming lockdown challenges and its partnerships with established firms such as Savills and Foxtons for its success.

It partnered with Savills on three major retail sales, including Westway Retail Park in Cumbernauld, Scotland, which topped the £6.5m guide price by more than 15%. It was one of the year’s largest commercial auction sales.

A partnership with Foxtons accounted for more than a quarter of the total BidX1 raised in 2020. Foxtons started listing properties on BidX1’s digital platform early last year, and the two announced a strategic partnership in September. To date, they have completed 65 joint sales with a total value of £27.1m.

Oliver Childs, head of commercial auctions at BidX1 UK, said: “While 2020 was a year of challenges, the crucial role of proptech in overcoming those challenges – but also in addressing longer-term inefficiencies and pain-points in the property sale process – has never been clearer.

“From a technology perspective, we have the benefit of maturity. As digital specialists, we are uniquely placed to complement the expertise and experience of market-leading firms like Foxtons. We’re looking forward to building relationships with real estate agencies in other parts of the UK in 2021.”

Although auction houses have been slow to move into online auctions, the Covid-19 pandemic forced the industry to adapt, leading to record numbers of sales done virtually last year.

Having adopted a stronger digital approach, the industry was able to partly make up for significant falls in activity earlier in the year.

In the three months to June, the total raised at UK auctions was down 41.6%, year-on-year. But a bumper month in November – with total sales up 75% on November 2019 – meant the gap between 2020 and 2019 closed.

Overall falls in the final quarter of 2020 was relatively subdued with just a 2.5% fall compared to Q4 2019.

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