eBay Watch: Listing Lessons from Elmo's World

An in-depth look at 2006 holiday sales data helps eBay sellers predict 2007 trends, along with advice on when and how to list for maximum profit.
Santa has Rudolph to guide the way during the holiday rush, and eBay sellers have the 2007 Holiday Hot List. Getting eBay inventory ready for the flurry of holiday sales just got a whole lot easier for those sellers using eBay's 2007 Holiday Hot List.

In creating this guide, eBay says its merchandising team searched through trade magazines, tracked blogs, looked at past eBay holiday data and also used eBay search findings to compile this list of products that eBay predicts will be in high demand — and short supply. EBay tracked specific products in many popular categories, and sellers can use the individual category top products list to see which specific items are expected to do well this season.

In addition to the top products in different categories, eBay also released its findings for an overall top 25 Holiday Gift List. This list details the items that are expected to be the hottest sellers on eBay this year. The top 10 of the 25 products in the list include the following (The full top 25 list can be found here.):

  1. iPhone
  2. Webkinz / Lil'Kinz
  3. Transformers
  4. Collectible Barbie
  5. Dooney & Bourke Zebra Tote
  6. Nintendo Wii
  7. T.M.X. Friends - Ernie & Cookie Monster
  8. BCBG Dress
  9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  10. Rock Band Video Game

Last week on eBay Watch, (see Making eBay Sales Shiney and Bright) I discussed, in some length, a Webinar offered by HammerTap that focused on "Predicting eBay Holiday Sales Trends." In the Webinar Steve Nye, who handles Public Relations for HammerTap, stressed the importance of sellers using research data from last year's eBay sales to predict the sales trends for 2007.

With that in mind, this week Nye is offering some very pertinent and interesting data on two of the hot items from eBay's Top 25 list, courtesy of HammerTap.

Throughout much of this year's eBay Watch columns we've been citing eBay Pulse, which week over week has turned up Webkinz as one of the top three keyword searches. It's a hot item, and I'm not at all surprised to see it ranked as #2 in eBay's Hot List.

Using HammerTap data from 2006, the research shows that during the week of Nov. 13 to Dec. 10, there were a total of 6,147 listings with a 78.35 percent listing success rate (LSR) and a $13.46 average selling price (ASP). Now, since eBay's Hot List is for "Webkinz / Lil'Kinz" here are some facts from these listings last year that sellers with this product should consider when listing it for holiday 2007 sales.

  • Using Lil' Kinz (with a space) in your auction title is more profitable and successful than using it without a space.
  • If you use Lil' Kinz in the title only, as compared to using Lil' Kinz and Webkinz, it only increases your LSR from 78.35 to 81.35 percent, and does not increase your ASP.
  • Another interesting fact is that during this period last year, Webkinz cat listings had a lower LSR compared to dog (75.84 versus 88 percent).
Listing Lessons from Elmo's World
I'm pretty sure many of you will remember last year's T.M.X. Elmo craze. This holiday's hot ticket-item from Fisher-Price is called T.M.X Friends. Obviously, the T.M.X. Elmo was unique in that it was a special anniversary edition that seemed to incite the same craze as the original release did in 1995/1996. Still, kids will want a T.M.X. Friends this year and you can be sure parents will be on eBay looking for it. Nye says that last year, more than 90,000 T.M.X. Elmo's sold between Thanksgiving and Christmas, generating sales revenue of more than $4.8 million.

Of interest to sellers is that last year's data shows that more than 20 percent of T.M.X. Elmo sold in the week immediately following Thanksgiving. This particular week had both the highest average sales price and listing success rate when compared to any other week from Nov. 24 to Dec. 28, 2006. Following that time-period, as it got closer to Dec. 24, the number of listings and actual sales Increased, but both the the ASP and the LSR dropped.

Nye said, "To me, it looks like sellers held on to their T.M.X. Elmo's to sell right before Christmas. The problem is, everyone did this. The most Elmo's were listed the week before Christmas with 47,552. But, this week had the lowest sales price of $38.82. The market was flooded, which made prices and success rates drop drastically. For T.M.X. Friends, the best strategy is to sell early. The early birds will pay more in fear the market will run out before Christmas. The late sellers will do the same thing they did last year and flood the market."

For those sellers who plan to list T.M.X. Friends during the week after Christmas, here are a few additional quick facts from last year's T.M.X. Elmo listings that sellers should consider to improve profits and LSR for T.M.X. Friends:

  • Ending on Friday bumped sales from $65.45 to $66.76.
  • Using the Bold feature increased the price to $69.47 and the success rate from 64.87 to 71.59 percent.
  • Using the gift feature bumped it to $71.85, but didn't increase the LSR.
Whether you're selling a T.M.X. Friend or some other merchandise, hopefully you'll be hearing the sound of virtual cash registers along with those jingle bells.

Vangie Beal is a seasoned eBay seller, frequent contributor to ECommerce-Guide.com and managing editor of Webopedia.com.

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