CARY, N.C. -

The slowdown in sales at auto auctions in 2020 was not “completely unexpected,” amid a year that saw the remarketing industry and others like it adjusting to challenges from COVID-19.

But several bright spots had the leadership of the National Auto Auction Association optimistic as the trade group released its 24th annual membership survey on Tuesday.

Here are some of the high-level statistics that NAAA shared from its survey, which was conducted by Robert A. Casey Consulting and included responses from 244 NAAA members (72% response rate). 

The projected gross value of units sold at NAAA-member auto auctions last year was $100.1 billion, a 10% drop from the $111.1 billion reached in 2019.

There were just under 13 million units that entered auctions last year, down from about 16.5 million in 2019. The number of units sold fell from 9.82 million to 7.85 million.

The percent sold was up from 59.5% in 2019 to 60.6 % in 2020.

Within that percentage sold figure, NAAA also broke that down by consignor type. Dealer consignment had a 54.2% sales rate, finance and fleet was at 69.1%, manufacturer was at 60.7% and “other” was at 70.0%.

Projected average price per unit was also up, climbing 12.6% from $11,316 to $12,741.

In supplementary data, NAAA said online-only auctions had an average vehicle price of $15,777 last year, with simulcast units commanding a price of $12,921.

“Given the lockdowns, disruptions, and uncertainties of an unprecedented public health crisis, some weaker numbers for 2020 were not completely unexpected,” NAAA chief executive officer Tricia Heon said in a news release.

“I think it’s encouraging that we saw some positives, such as the continued rise in the average vehicle price, and the slip in value of units sold still remained at a level modestly higher than five years ago,” Heon said.

The new NAAA CEO would later applaud member auctions for how they adjusted to the challenges of 2020.

“Our ability to adapt to change through innovation, flexibility, and teamwork has always been the strength of our industry and our organization,” said Heon. “Those qualities displayed by the dedicated auction owners, their hard-working staff, the loyal consigners and buyers, all standing together in tough times helped us meet this challenge, and will keep us moving forward.”

Heon was named CEO of the association earlier this month, replacing Frank Hackett, who retired from the position after 17 years. Heon had been chief operating officer since 2019 after joining NAAA in 2011, and she is the organization’s first female CEO.

NAAA is set to hold its annual convention Sept. 28-30 in Chicago, resuming the live, in-person event.

As such, Auto Remarketing’s September issue will spotlight the NAAA and the auto auction industry at large, including a roundup of High-Performance Auto Auctions and an Auction Life photo spread, along with features about the incoming NAAA president, Heon’s news role as CEO and much more