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Tue Dec 30 2008 22:42:28

The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Listings

By: David Steiner

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Some sellers may still be holding out hope for a U.S. holiday listing promotion from eBay. If eBay does accommodate with a CLD, it won't be because they need to pad listings on the site. According to Medved, eBay reached a peak of nearly 31 million listings in December and was hovering around the 24 million listing mark at the time of this post. That's a steep increase from the 14-16 million listings with which eBay started the year.

So which categories are seeing the most growth? Well booksellers - you're the big winners (or losers depending on your perspective). Book listings grew nearly 500% to approximately 2.9 million. Other big growth categories were Music, DVDs & Movies and Computers & Networking. It's interesting, albeit not surprising, that the categories that showed the largest increases were generally in commodity items. Here's a hint for Diamond-Seekers - you'll probably want to look for them in these high-growth categories.



eBay made changes this year that make it attractive for commodity sellers to list on core, rather than in Store format. Media sellers pay 5 cents for 30-day fixed price listings, and everyone else pays 35 cents for such listings. Meanwhile, changes to Best Match search have many small sellers confounded as to how to optimize their listings.

Even more interesting are the categories that decreased or had fairly stagnant listings during 2008. Pottery & Glass and Antiques fell 14.86% and 1.35% respectively. And Collectibles grew only 10% over the year.

It's hard to argue with the numbers above. eBay has transformed itself into a commodity marketplace, and antiques and collectibles dealers seem to be taking the hint and moving off the site. The big question for eBay in 2009 is will it thrive in its new incarnation, or will shoppers miss the diversity that sellers in those categories brought to the site?

Interestingly, ComScore reported today that while eBay remained the most visited retail site with 85.4 million visitors during the holiday shopping season, that was a decline of 4 percent from 2007.




Comments (48) | Permalink

Readers Comments

The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Dealers   The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Dealers

by: John

Tue Dec 30 23:00:09 2008

My question is what is the STR for all the listings? Did the sellers sell a lot of items or did they just list them and they got lost in search? Were the prices to high? Did the economy effect sales? etc. Lots of questions little answers.

The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Listings   The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Listings

by: Patricia

Tue Dec 30 23:35:12 2008

I would also like to know the STR.  I'm betting that for ALL those listings the percentage of sales was rather dismal.  Of course, Ebay wins....all those listing fees ;-)

The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Listings   The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Listings

by: dan

Tue Dec 30 23:45:41 2008


Diamond sellers don't pay listing fees...the small sellers do

The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Listings   The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Listings

by: disgusted

Tue Dec 30 23:48:07 2008

Ebay could have grown their new business model without tossing their small/collectible/antique sellers overboard.

The jury is still out, but it is possible that Ebay execs made a bad decsion telling small dealers to take a hike.

The Ebay should do is prohibit all the fake antique listings.  The site is full of them and unsuspective buyers are getting screwed daily - but Ebay doesn't care about protecting buyers from these fake antique sellers.

I am a stauch conservative and I hate hearing people complain about "greedy big corporations" but Ebay is the perfect example of GREED at its worst.

The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Listings   The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Listings

by: mindelec

Wed Dec 31 00:00:26 2008

buy.com is a big reason for the growth in books, unfortunately they aren't quality listings.

The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Listings   The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Listings

by: brecklundin

Wed Dec 31 00:01:50 2008

Something to read between the lines of these numbers.  Do these numbers represent all listings core AND store listings?  Because if it's core only I would like to see the numbers for store listings?  If there was a equal change then it's zero sum gain situation for eBay.

We are still selling antiques and collectibles and doing just fine.  We have switched from auctions to fixed price BIN's with Best Offer.  

The jury is still out but I suspect many sellers eBay is losing in these categories are the marginal sellers anyway.  And that is also one motivation for some changes...still we are in a wait-and-see mode right now.  Our best sales historically are in Q1 each year so time will tell us what the next move should be on our part.

There are also other factors involved in antiques & collectibles selling...fuel costs were very significant for the small seller as we need to drive to find the items we sell.  We could only live with a limited number of trips where we found nothing to buy to sell when fuel $5/gal...and $100 to fill the tank.  Now it's more reasonable to take multiple buying trips every week...so some sellers might have been lost simply due to the economics of buying and selling in these categories.

I guess I am saying it is not as simple as just reading these numbers.

The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Listings   The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Listings

by: Franci

Wed Dec 31 00:02:45 2008

Taking just books/movies/music, eBay's not getting any big time listing fees from even small sellers at 5 cents for 30 days at fixed price, and everybody seems pretty sure that the big Diamond Sellers don't pay any up front fees at all.   Not a big win for eBay.  And almost all of the listings in books/movies/music are also listed somewhere else as well...mostly on Amazon, no bookie in his right mind lists his stock in just one place ... and my bet is that media is now a looser for eBay except to the extent that it increases their number of listings, which is an image thing, not a business strategy.  It can't be helping their bottom line.

Besides media, there's not much of an increase that makes any difference to the site's content in a big way except as pointed out that the antiques and collectibles are leaving and they are what made eBay famous.   It's Amazon that's famous for books/movies/music, and eBay's falling behind the river more and more every day.  Latest number is Amazon up 7%, eBay down 4% and those numbers are following a lengthy trend that shows no signs of shifting.  Amazon is going great guns.

Check STR on Medved to see that it has fallen from 40% to 20% during the time that as the quantity of listings have increased as shown by the numbers above.  

Not a good thing.   eBay is not just broken, it's now bloated.  So sad and so unnecessary.   eBay could have still been great, but as it turned out it's just big.

Franci

The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Listings   The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Listings

by: verycreative

Wed Dec 31 00:04:11 2008

The numbers may not lie, but they don't mean much either.

I did an eBay search just now, using the word ‘NEW’; in all categories; selling between 1 cent and 25 cents; with free shipping.
Almost 2,000 listings came up on search.

I then checked completed listings for ‘NEW’; using the same parameters; 4,000 items sold for 25 cents or less and free shipping.

So the huge number of listings in 2008 doesn’t necessarily mean much to eBay’s bottom line.

The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Listings   The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Listings

by: charles palma

Wed Dec 31 00:06:32 2008

Real Estate on eBay? I think eBay is not a good website for selling houses.. So this big drop should be expected.

The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Listings   The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Listings

by: Patricia

Wed Dec 31 00:36:51 2008

Its says Art 49.20 percent up.  How come everybody I know who lists in the art category is complaining of lack of sales and most stopped listing?  Yeah - they throw out the carrot with 35 cent 30 day fixed price...they rake in fees but there is little real traffic on that site.  My own website made more sales then my ebay listings.  I'd like to see the real sell thru rate!

The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Listings   The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Listings

by: Another wronged Seller

Wed Dec 31 05:37:14 2008

Sell thru rate would tell the real story so it's likely ebay will never release those numbers.

Ebay seems so hell bent on pumping listing numbers using the diamonds to do it just to give the illusion of getting bigger and faking the uninformed out that all their disruptive changes are working.

Somewhere I read that when buy.com came onboard, their ebay sell thru rate was around 3%. My ebay sell thru rate is around 65% (used to be 85%)

Ultimately, if my sell thru was 3% and I was only closing one out of 33 listings, I could hardly afford to pay listing fees  for all those listings. Conversely, if 3% is the correct STR for buy.com and the other diamonds they could ONLY afford to list if the listings were free for them.

A breakdown of STR for auction, fixed and store and further broken down by diamond, various size power sellers and under 1K a month sellers would speak volumes.

If you go into a 500,000 SF retail store thats empty of customers or a store 1/10th the size but is crowded with customers who is more successful?

Huge number of listings mean NOTHING!

I bet we'll never see the data.

The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Listings   The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Listings

by: auctionman

Wed Dec 31 05:53:10 2008

Ebay is getting ready to lose over 50% of the quality antique buyers due to droping live auctions. Many of the great buyers in the world wnet to Ebay for the live auction and would end up buying somthing else that they found. These buyers will not have time for ebay now. Ebay will have many problems on higher end antiques now. I have been in the auction business both as the auctioneer and the buyer for over 37 years and maybe ebay should have talked with real auction people rather than there group. The live auction business would have been there best profit game if they had known the basics. They has a great software though a company call spotterbid or something like that and then dropped them for there own software.

The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Listings   The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Listings

by: Simple Answer

Wed Dec 31 06:11:52 2008

It's MEDIA MAIL. Postal rates are outrageous and will only get highr will the service gets worse, so sellers turn to shipping MEDIA MAIL - Books, DVD, Music, CD's, VHS to cut operating costs. Some may even ship non-media mail,  MEDIA MAIL if the can get it by the postal noses. WE do it all the time.

The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Listings   The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Listings

by: renagade

Wed Dec 31 07:19:54 2008

Between the ''Diamond'' sellers and the fees, collectible vendors as well as others have turned to the Alt. sites such as Bonanzle, Etsy, and others.  And are taking the buyers with them! 2009 will be the year this Alt sites make it big!

The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Listings   The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Listings

by: o.c.d.collectibles

Wed Dec 31 08:28:47 2008

Ebay started out as a collectibles auction site. It is not that any more. What part of that do you not understand, John?

The site was simply designed to eliminate us. Those of us who are seasoned antique dealers (we're talking 30 years and raised on the stuff for breakfast!) know exactly what has happened since WE are the ones who experienced it first hand.
And no, I was not booted off, and my customers loved me to pieces, (they probably miss sellers like me these days!)and my numbers were quite good before I decided ebay was not a good place to risk selling a 14K gold vintage tiffany ladies compact.

For one, the buyer will say they didn't get it. Ebay and paypal will agree with them, OR the buyer will say it got crushed in shipment and the clasp is broken. THEN they will ship me a metal fork and show paypal their delivery confirmation receipt, then stating they want their money back.

I would be out a good sellable piece, AND the money, and the buyer will dance merrily along to the next stupid seller who decided to risk selling something wonderful.

If you think these cases are few and far between, that the sellers do not tell the truth, or that ebay will back the seller up, or...maybe it's the seller's fault for not being a good enough seller?(a la Griff), then you are living on another planet, and another galaxy!

The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Listings   The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Listings

by: o.c.d.collectibles

Wed Dec 31 08:34:29 2008

Nope. We'll all just go somewhere else. And most of us already have, at least the antiques and collectibles sellers who are not in denial any more.

The numbers of stores opened on TIA's and Ruby Lane, the numbers of listings on Etsy in the vintage category, the listings on iOffer, and the folks who just decided to stick to "their own kind" have run as far away from ebay as they can possibly go.

We can all thank the improved "new" ebay and all the corporate innovation that helped find the exit door.

The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Listings   The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Listings

by: Jonathan

Wed Dec 31 08:50:16 2008

The ref to the point that eBay has far ore items for sale then it did this time last year is not totally correct.  When eBay changed the listing fees so that you could list multiple units of the same item for no additional charge, many sellers upped the units available to 100+ just to save them from having to re-list items on a regular basis.

eBay includes each one of the available inventory as an item for sale on eBay.  Most sellers do not even have all of the items in stock, as items sell, they order more.

This is one more example of how eBay is not upfront with the spin it puts on anything and everything is says.  Another reason people have lost faith in a once great company.

The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Listings   The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Listings

by: kathieskorner

Wed Dec 31 08:59:30 2008

The numbers may not lie, but what they represent changes.

Ebay reports core listing numbers excluding store listings.  The new 30 day fixed price core listing encouraged many sellers to close their stores and/or shift a large number of store listings to the new fixed price in hopes of getting added visibility.

Add that to buy.com and the influx of other mega seller sweetheart deals, and these numbers make ebay look like they are still growing by leaps and bounds.

Although STR and sales numbers have not been released yet, I wonder about their validity.  The number of non-paying buyers has increased dramatically over the past four months, yet it takes 14 days to close a transaction for non-payment and many are not even reported for fear of a non-paying buyer leaving a negative feedback which ebay permits them to do.  It is my opinion that both the STR and sales figures are going to be more artificially inflated for the fourth quarter than ever before.

So yes, many times, mere numbers do lie.

The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Listings   The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Listings

by: Candy Cane

Wed Dec 31 09:04:40 2008

After the 4th quarter report Ebay will need a government bailout or is that a taxpayer bailout.

The drain is getting bigger.

The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Listings   The Numbers Don't Lie. eBay Losing Collectibles Listings

by: Leaving

Wed Dec 31 10:09:05 2008

The sell through rate for each seller doesn't lie. If your sell through rate is horrible at one place and picking up steam elsewhere, then you move. There are other viable sites. My ecrater sales have pretty much blown ebay out of the water this month. I'm only still at ebay as I have so much inventory to move and I'm taking the opportunity to tweak each and every listing to add key words to titles etc.

Part of the huge problem with ebay is the search. I've been buying and selling on ebay for close to 10 years and trying to do a search that is meaningful is practically impossible even when you know what you want. Ebay likes to tinker and will continue to tinker. They said things would be totally different in a year than they were last year and they are right. Lots of us will be gone and sellers who don't know better will arrive and wonder why they can't make any money.

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