Online vs In-house auctions – Which is best?

Friday 21st July 2017 - Della Bentham


Online vs In-house auctions – Which is best?

When it comes to auctions is online or offline the better choice? We take a look.


Have online auctions improved the bidding experience? They’ve certainly made it easier for collectors and connoisseurs to obtain the things they want, regardless of where the item is located, but are people missing out on the thrill of the bidding experience in the flesh?


We recently saw an argument suggesting that bidding at an auction in person was a far more thrilling experience, which people were missing out on with more and more people opting to bid online. Is this the case?


Bidding at an auction, be it on or offline can be a thrilling experience. It really gets the adrenaline going, which is why some people forget themselves and bid way over their budget it’s that blood pumping feeling that make auctions fun. Waiting to see if you can bag that bargain or that piece you need for your collection. Is this experience diluted by bidding online?


A bidding war, whether on or offline is undeniably fun, the heart stopping feeling just before the hammer goes down or the sold icon flashes up is addictive. Even bidding on small items on eBay can invoke this feeling, along with the euphoria of winning. With this in mind, we decided to look at the pros and cons of on and offline auctions.


Offline Auctions:


Pros –

  1. The buzzing atmosphere of the auction house is exciting. - Attending an auction personally allows you to soak up the energetic atmosphere.
  2. The characters – Auctioneers and the staff at auction houses can often be infectious, fun characters that add to the experience.
  3. Socialising – Getting out to an auction can be a chance to socialise and talk to other people.
  4. See the items up close – You can view and inspect items up close when you are local to the auction house.


Cons –

  1. Location is limiting – You are bound by location restrictions, having to attend local auctions, request their catalogues and decide what you are going to go along to bid on.
  2. Travel costs – If an auction house is not located in the town you live in you need to factor in the cost of travel to your overall budget, you may not even win the item(s) you went to bid on.
  3. Time – Travelling to and from an offline auction, as well as waiting for your lot takes time, which may seem like wasted time if you don’t win the item you went all the way for.


Online Auctions:


Pros –

  1. You can easily browse catalogues – The internet makes it very easy for people to browse the catalogues of numerous auctioneers across the world.
  2. Auction alerts – With Easy Live Auction you can easily set up auction alerts which allow you to be notified when lots that match your keywords for are added to the site. This saves collectors lots of time.
  3. Save on Travel Time – There’s no travelling time or waiting around for things you may not win.
  4. Bid Anywhere you have Internet – Whether you are on holiday, visiting family, at work or just out and about, if you have a good internet connection you can bid from your smartphone or internet connected device quickly and easily.
  5. Great for days you don’t feel like facing the world – You can bid in your pyjamas if you wish, no one is watching.
  6. Bid Globally – Auctions aren’t limited to your county or even country when you bid online. The world really is your oyster so long as you’re willing to discuss postage options with the auctioneer in advance, you can add the costs into your budget.


Cons –

  1. You miss the atmosphere of the room – When bidding in an auction room full of adrenaline the experience can be more thrilling and intense.
  2. You may have to factor in additional costs – If the auctioneer is not within travelling distance you will need to factor in postage and handling costs. You should check these out before bidding and larger items may require you speak to the auctioneer in advance.



The fact remains, auctions are great fun whether you make your bids on or offline. The world of online bidding is undeniably more convenient and allows you to cast your net further afield, the thrill may not be quite the same but it’s not far off, it’s still a buzz bidding online and live on the items you want!