As dealers buckle down on their used-vehicle acquisition practices in 2023 in the face of shifting demand and declining profitability, leaders of online wholesale auction companies sense a ripe opportunity to nab more of their business.
Online auction platforms have enjoyed more name recognition and growing usage in recent years, especially since the coronavirus pandemic. But the move to digital auctions that began accelerating three years ago as dealers migrated online to avoid illness has morphed. Now, auction executives say, dealers' approach to both wholesaling and inventory acquisition has evolved to a combination of options as they seek convenience and better deals.
The evolution has digital auction companies vying to take a larger piece of the wholesaling pie — to gain more dealer users and increase transactions and market share — in what has become a deeply fragmented landscape. Some of those players aim to add physical assets in the hopes that doing so will attract a wider variety of buyers and sellers. Virtual dealer-to-dealer auction platform EBlock, for one, has been on the acquisition trail, buying two physical auction sites in 2022.