Auctioneers say plenty of IT to go around

Auctioning used computer equipment looks to be a growing business, with three newcomers entering the Auckland market this year.

Auctioning used computer equipment looks to be a growing business, with three newcomers entering the Auckland market this year.

They say there’s enough business to go around as more and more used hardware is put under the hammer.

Auckland has five main IT auctioneers, with one newcomer, Hymans, saying the market has been “shaken up” by new entrants.

For years the IT auction sector had been dominated by general auctioneers like Fitzgeralds, but in July and August Australian companies Hymans and Grays began regular sales. Established auctioneer Turners also launched a specialist IT division.

Hymans declared itself the first specialist in the country, a claim disputed by Hamilton-based Asset Computer Auctions and Lower Hutt-based Encore Computer Auctions, which both say they began selling IT products eight to nine years ago.

The newcomers all claim business has been good, even ahead of expectations, and they plan to increase sale frequency.

Hymans New Zealand general manager Matthew Preen says his South Auckland-based company plans to start holding weekly auctions next year. Wellington sales are planned for some time next year and sales in Christchurch from 2004, in addition to nationwide road shows.

The former northern region sales director for software company Infinity Solutions says his company’s business is running ahead of plan because many leasing organisations and integration companies are using auctions to offload stock.

Prices, he says, are surprisingly high, so for IT managers “now is the time to sell” as dealers look to build up stock for the Christmas consumer market.

Preen claims a 350MHz Pentium 2 with 64MB of RAM and a 4GHz hard drive that might have been expected to sell for $160 to $170 is now fetching $260.

“Auctions are increasingly being put forward as a solution for stock disposal,” he says.

Grays New Zealand operations manager Lindsay Cooper, a former Turners IT sales consultant, also say prices are strong.

Cooper says there is “no shortage” of stock and his monthly auctions attract 700 to 800 lots.

However, Jon Brewerton, manager of Turners Technology Auctions, claims equip-ment prices are falling, perhaps by 10% over the past five months.

“There seems to be a squeeze on because there are more products on the market and more outlets to sell them; more supply than demand,” he says.

Even so, Turners is also stepping up its sales, with a first specialist Saturday sale this month featuring stock aimed at “end-users”, dominated by PC Company products. It is looking at making specialist sales a weekly event next year. Turners claims to sell 250 to 350 lots at its twice-monthly Penrose sales.

In the meantime, Turners is upgrading its IT infrastructure, shifting from a Unix-based auction system that runs through a Citrix server farm to a SQL server-based system.

The company has installed a new financial package and is looking to install a Windows-based auctioning system that will handle cataloguing, in-voicing and internal ad-minis-tration, plus online auction sales. Full implementation is expected in 2004, Brewerton says.

Hymans’ Preen, meanwhile, says a large amount of stock is about to come on to the market as a “major corporate” embarks on an equipment upgrade that will result in the disposal of thousands of items.