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Should You Factor in Holidays When Setting Auction End Dates?

Conventional wisdom says Sundays are the best day to end an online auction on sites like eBay, and that still holds true, according to the results of an EcommerceBytes poll. We also asked sellers if holidays impact bidding, and on which ones to avoid ending an auction, if any.

Sunday evening remains the most popular time to end an auction according to EcommerceBytes readers – the same as when we conducted our first poll on the topic in 1999. This year, 62% of readers said Sunday was the best day of the week to end an auction (16% said it didn’t matter), and 53% said between 6-9 pm PST was the best time of day to end an auction (7% said the time of day didn’t matter). You can read more about ending day and time in Sunday’s EcommerceBytes Update newsletter.

Auctions require a different strategy than listing brand new, commodity items at a fixed price, since bidders generally visit the listing to check on last-minute bids to help them land the winning bid. So we wondered if sellers avoid any or all holidays when setting their auction ending times. Here are the results of the poll:

While close to half of online sellers said they avoided ending auctions on a holiday, many also said it depended on the holiday. There are two days of the year where it’s best to avoid ending your auction on, according to readers: Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Thanksgiving is also a day many sellers avoid.

In April, eBay changed its fee structure, no longer giving sellers free fixed-price listings in certain categories. Why? The growth rate for auctions slipped in the first quarter, and eBay wanted to boost the number of auction listings. Clearly those are the categories eBay deems the most important for its auction revenue.

Categories Most Important for eBay Auctions:
Clothing, Shoes & Accessories
Coins & Paper Money
Dolls & Bears
Entertainment Memorabilia
Health & Beauty
Jewelry & Watches
Pottery & Glass
Sports Memorabilia, Cards & Fan Shop
Toys & Hobbies

Let us know if you agree with the majority of respondents when it comes to setting auction end times, and tell us about your auction strategies – leave a comment on the AuctionBytes Blog.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.