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EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 91 - March 23, 2003 - ISSN 1528-6703     3 of 7

Best Time to End an eBay Auction? Ask Our Readers!


By David Steiner
EcommerceBytes.com

March 23, 2003
 



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About this time each year, I find myself checking certain trends in the online auction world. My assumption is that if you enter any arena armed with knowledge, you're much more likely to be successful. Since it's my nature to quantify things, I began polling users about different aspects of online auctions nearly 4 years ago. What payment systems do sellers use? Do they reimburse shipping both ways if an item is returned?

One of questions that I see most frequently on online auction chat boards is "What is the best time to end an auction?" Honestly, I don't know. The best time to end it would be when you've received the highest bid possible, I suppose.

Using the results of the polling we've done in the past, I created the online auction calendar http://www.auctionbytes.com/Email_Newsletter/calendar/calendar.html. The calendar incorporates our poll results, interviews with online auction sites and some empirical observation.

Last issue, we again asked, "What is the best day to end an auction?" along with some additional questions. Is there an hour of the day that is more appealing to sellers? What do respondents sell? Does it make a difference in the ending time of an auction?

Since 1999, when we first asked this question, the voters' choice has always been Sunday. The results of our survey this past month also show Sunday as being the favorite day. Interestingly enough, its popularity seems to growing with our voters. In 1999, 41% of the respondents picked Sunday as their day of choice. Four years later, an overwhelming 64% chose Sunday to end their auctions. Monday came in a distant second, with 11% of the vote.

Best Day to End an Auction?

3/03 1/02 2/01 12/99
Sun ? 64% Sun - 60.47% Sun - 54% Sun - 41%
Mon ? 11% Thu - 10.23% Mon - 18% Sat - 18%
Sat ? 8% Sat - 9.30% Sat - 11% Mon - 15%
Thu ? 7% Mon - 8.84% Thu - 8% Fri - 11%
Tue - 4% Wed - 4.19% Wed - 5% Tue - 6%
Fri ? 3% Tue - 3.72% Fri - 3% Thu - 5%
Wed ? 3% Fri - 3.26% Tue - 1% Wed - 4%

However, Saturdays have fallen in popularity for the best day to end an auction. Four years ago, 18% of respondents said Saturdays were the best day to end an auction. This year, only 8% of respondents favored Saturday.

One twist we added to this year's survey was asking if there was a specific time of day that was more popular for ending an auction. According to the responses, 54% close their auctions between 6pm and 9pm and an overwhelming 75% end their auctions sometime within the 6-hour range of 6pm and midnight.

Best Time of Day to End an Auction

54% 6pm-9pm
26% 9pm-Midnight
10% 3pm-6pm
5% Noon-3pm
3% 9am-Noon
2% 6am-9am
1% Midnight-3am
1% 3am-6am

I've often heard that the optimal time for ending an auction was dependent on what item was being listed, so we tried to get a sense of what respondents sold to determine if that had any bearing on ending days. Although there was some deviation in the numbers, across all the categories we provided, Sunday was still, far and away the most popular ending day.

Best Day to End an Auction by Category

Antiques/
Arts/
Collectibles
Books/
Movies/
Music
Computers/
Consumer Electronics/
Business Equipment
New Clothing/
Accessories
Real Estate/
Tickets/
Travel
Other
67%
Sunday
73%
Sunday
60%
Sunday
62%
Sunday
100%
Sunday
51%
Sunday
11%
Monday
10%
Monday
10%
Monday
18%
Monday
0%
Monday
13%
Saturday
7%
Thursday
7%
Saturday
8%
Thursday
9%
Thursday
0%
Thursday
13%
Monday
6%
Saturday
3%
Thursday
8%
Saturday
7%
Tuesday
0%
Tuesday
9%
Thursday
3%
Friday
3%
Friday
6%
Friday
4%
Wednesday
0%
Wednesday
7%
Tuesday
3%
Tuesday
2%
Tuesday
6%
Wednesday
0%
Saturday
0%
Saturday
6%
Friday
2%
Wednesday
2%
Wednesday
2%
Tuesday
0%
Friday
0%
Friday
4%
Wednesday

It's interesting stuff. Yes, this is an imperfect science at best, and yes, these statistics should be taken with a grain of salt. Holidays or special events are not factored into the results. If you have a formula or a day that works for you, there's no reason not to stick with it.

About the author:

David Steiner is President of Steiner Associates LLC, publisher of EcommerceBytes.com and the EveryPlaceISell.com merchant directory. David, a former television producer, handles business development and advertising for EcommerceBytes. You can reach him at dsteiner@ecommercebytes.com


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