State of the Industry

The need to buy and sell equipment via industrial auctions is probably as old as manufacturing itself. In this respect, the industry hasn’t fundamentally changed from that original purpose – yet those original buyers, sellers, and auctioneers would hardly recognize the current state of the industry. From technology to the global marketplace itself, it’s a completely different world.

“We are in a changing global market,” says Shira Weissman, president of the Industrial Auctioneers Association and COO and General Counsel for Rabin Worldwide. Everything is interconnected to a degree never seen before, so what happens in London, Taipei or Mumbai impacts pricing in Chicago.”

Add to this the ability to participate in asset sale and acquisition online, and the global marketplace has gotten bigger, and yet as small as a computer screen or smartphone, at the same time. 

Current Concerns

In 2022, it’s not just globalization that is affecting the industry. Industrial auctioneering leaders are keeping an eye on the global financial instabilities that are persisting in the post-COVID world. According to the World Bank, the post-pandemic instability is being worsened by effects of the war in Ukraine, weakening growth and resulting in financial strains in many markets. The United States is feeling recessionary pressures, and at the same time, the Euro fell to a two-decade low against the dollar in 2022, and economists anticipate further depreciation to occur before the global market rallies.

These broad issues have resulted in a global slowdown, which is affecting virtually all sectors of the manufacturing marketplace. Global growth has not met anticipated expectations, posting a sluggish 5.7 percent in 2021, and an even slower growth period in 2022. Original growth expectations hovered around 4.1 percent as of January 2022, and that has adjusted downward to 2.9. World Bank economists are not optimistic either; that pace is expected to continue into 2023-2024.

“With inflation and rising interest rates, I think we will see a rise in distressed opportunities,” says Weissman of the potential in her industry. “But I believe the global markets may also negatively impact values and pricing in the used equipment market.”

Caution is Needed in the Short Term

With such volatility, it’s important to stay vigilant, says Weissman in assessing the industry.

“As in any uncertain market facing a recession, we need to tread carefully and lightly,” says Weissman. “But we also need to be ready to take on new opportunities.”

Her company, Rabin Worldwide, touches on all industrial sectors, giving her a unique, broad perspective on the industry.

“It will be interesting to see which areas are more impacted, such as energy, mining or the construction industry,” she says. “Advances in technology will further change our landscape, as people sell and buy in different ways. However, it’s a given that we will need to adopt new practices and move forward to meet this changing market in 2022.”