More and more women are buying cars on auction, Burchmore’s reports. In fact, female buyers are a whopping 25% up on 2006. Plus, behind the scenes, they are influencing many private purchases.
According to Darryl Jacobson, managing director of Burchmore’s, members of the fairer sex have realised that auctions offer choice, value for money – and they aren’t actually intimidating at all. “In the past, many buyers – notably women – were scared of bidding on auction. Horror stories abounded of people scratching their nose and buying a car in the process. Of course, this was all nonsense, but the rumours were enough to terrify prospective buyers,” he reports. For this very reason, Burchmore’s started selling cars away from the auction arena. “For many years now, we have offered a service to members of the public, whereby they can acquire cars at wholesale prices seven days a week, by shopping at our Sandton, Durban and Cape Town megastores,” Jacobson comments. However, the company has noted a significant trend whereby women are now supporting auctions. “In days gone by, auctions used to be an all-male affair. Now, we have significant interest by female customers and numerous registered buyers who are ladies,” the Burchmore’s MD comments. Jacobson comments that the trend is indicative of the emancipation of female car buyers. “In days gone by, men bought cars for themselves and also for their partners. Women didn’t walk into dealerships and select their own cars, and they certainly didn’t buy on auction.” Of course, everything has changed, and today women not only account for a significant proportion of car purchases, but they are also known to influence car purchases by men. In fact, according to research conducted by the University of Michigan, American women participate in 81% of all car-buying decisions (men are the sole decision-makers just 4% of the time) – and Jacobson says there is no reason to believe that the situation is any different in South Africa. And Jacobson says this trend is now filtering into the auction arena. “They actually enjoy the process – and the bigger the selection, the better. Our male customers know exactly what they want – they come to the auction to buy a certain vehicle, they bid on it and they buy it. A huge selection isn’t as important to them, as long as they can find a vehicle that meets their needs. “Our lady customers, on the other hand, come to the auctions early and inspect each and every vehicle that is about to go under the hammer. They are particularly interested in cars are that are reliable, in good running condition and those vehicles with lots of safety features. “The ladies are extremely discriminating in their choice, and they really examine the vehicle closely before bidding. They do their homework beforehand and they are well informed: they know what they should be paying for a certain model and they are knowledgeable, rational bidders,” Jacobson reveals. Women don’t only impact on auctions if they are registered buyers. “The ladies at our auctions either buy or influence many of the buying decisions. Often, their husbands are bidding – but they are clearly acting on their wives’ instructions. It’s a joke at our auctions that he’d better bid exactly as he’s been instructed to, because we don’t do divorces at Burchmore’s!” Jacobson reveals. One thing is certain: the men may think they are buying their dream set of wheels, but women are clearly wearing the pants at Burchmore’s.