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Study: eBay ‘Collectibles’ Sell-Through Rate Slides Sharply, Prices Down Slightly

May 18, 2003, Natick, Mass. - Sellers of collectibles are making 3% less on eBay than they were a year ago, and are completing 18% fewer successful auctions, according to AuctionBytes 3rd Annual Collectibles Price Index. The index shows prices have come down every year since 2000, the first year data was collected.  Last year's study showed that collectibles prices on eBay were down 11% from 2001.

The decline in prices on eBay is not surprising given its popularity, according to David Steiner, President of AuctionBytes, which released the study. eBay is ruled by Supply & Demand, and the number of items on eBay continues to grow. “For better or worse, eBay has redefined the value of collectibles,” said  Steiner.   "Many dealers feel they can essentially throw away the price guides. What people want to know is, how much will it bring on eBay?”

Although the drop in prices is less dramatic than last year, it marks the third straight year that prices of collectibles included in the index has fallen. Prices are down a total of nearly 35% since 2000.

The most dramatic finding, according to the study, is the drop in sell-through rate, down nearly 18% over the past year, and 38% since 2000. The sell-through rate is determined by how many items listed on eBay actually receive winning bids. In 2002, 55% of the items studied sold, compared to 72% in 2000. The other auctions either received no bids or, in the case of "reserve price" auctions, failed to meet the minimum required price.

The bottom line, according to Steiner: "Collectibles dealers continue to work harder, for less money in the online marketplace."

AuctionBytes Collectibles Price Index


Avg. Price Difference Sell-Through Difference








- 25%





- 11%


- 24%



- 3%


- 18%

        AuctionBytes.com publishes two free email newsletters for the online auction community. AuctionBytes-Update (ISSN: 1528-6703) shows readers how to become more efficient buying and selling online, with product reviews and advice. AuctionBytes Newsflash (ISSN:1539-5065) contains daily news about the online auction and collecting world. Steiner Associates, which publishes AuctionBytes.com, is the only research and publishing firm that focuses exclusively on the Online Auction Industry. Steiner Associates recently introduced two new sites for online sellers, Bookologist.com and MyEZsale.com.

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