Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Sept 5 2021 20:44:09

eBay Goes Retro? 10-Day Auctions Ending on a Sunday

By: Ina Steiner

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Back in the early days of eBay, many sellers would run auctions and would time them to end on a Sunday evening when the most buyers would be shopping the site.

Apparently that's a thing again. 

An eBay UK blog post on Friday advised readers about how to sell second-hand goods, including the following advice:

"eBay's busiest time for buyers is Sunday evenings so schedule your listings to end around that time and choose 10-day auctions to ensure the maximum number of bids. The longer your item is listed, the more chance of people seeing it, so unless it's time-sensitive, pick 10 days."

I had to scroll back up to the top of the page and check the date - yes, it was Friday, September 3, 2021 - because the advice coming from the company sounded so unlike the eBay of recent years.

During the "Donahoe years" (when former management consultant John Donahoe was CEO), eBay aggressively pushed sellers to list in the fixed-price format and boasted to analysts as the format grew as a percentage of sales (GMV), as can be seen with the following statistics we compiled from the EcommerceBytes archives: 

- Auctions made up 70% of eBay GMV in 2007.

- Auctions made up 30% of eBay GMV in 2013.

- Auctions made up 13% of eBay GMV in the last three months of 2016.

We have no more recent data than that because in 2017, eBay stopped reporting the breakdown of fixed-price and auction format listings in its quarterly financial reports.

The Auction Professor Don Heiden recently tackled the issue of which format works best for what types of items in an EcommerceBytes column, and over the years, we've surveyed EcommerceBytes readers about the best day to end an auction. In 2005, 56.8% of readers said they preferred to end auctions on a Sunday; by 2014, that number had grown to 61.5%.

(David's Interactive Auction Calendar takes the guesswork out of figuring out when to list an item to make sure it ends on the best day of the week.)

It would be fascinating to learn what impact auctions have on eBay GMV today and if the latest CEO is prioritizing the auction format.

Do you have a passion (and patience) for auctions as a seller or buyer? Do you find sales tend to be better on a Sunday evening for auctions or otherwise? Are online auctions a thing again? If not, what's holding them back?



Comments (17) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Goes Retro? 10-Day Auctions Ending on a Sunday   eBay Goes Retro? 10-Day Auctions Ending on a Sunday

by: Silver Ice King This user has validated their user name.

Sun Sep 5 21:34:26 2021

Ebay is doing all it can to try and show some type of growth in sales as they continue to become an after thought to more and more buyers and sellers.  So now they are throwing this piece of information out there in an effort to try and entice more sellers to try auctions to sell their items.  

The biggest problem with auctions is if you do not happen to be one of their favorite flavor of the week your items might get shown a couple of times , at least until you get one bid so Ebay can collect some additional revenue but after that you will fall back to an afterthought to Ebay as they continue to promote their favorites.  I'm sure that losing all of the auctions that their former partner PWCC ran every week is hurting them not only on revenue but their GMV as they constantly had items going up for sale.  The closing prices were also well above the norm as the shill bidders went to town while Ebay closed their eyes, at least until they found out that PWCC was creating their own sale site.

Desperation continues to run rampant at the San Jose Mafia who got out-smarted by one of their favorite partners.  Who will be next, the Chinese?

Perminate Link for eBay Goes Retro? 10-Day Auctions Ending on a Sunday   eBay Goes Retro? 10-Day Auctions Ending on a Sunday

This user has validated their user name. by: Carl

Mon Sep 6 00:39:53 2021

I always use BIN format when I can. It is a now, now, now culture and people can't be bothered waiting.
Auctions do have their place for me though.
I have many items (CDs/DVDs) where there is no price guide because there isn't any listed on the internet. I keep checking but eventually they have to be listed.
I have a rough guess and start all those as auction. Many do not sell, but I have found some nice surprises like some £30 CDs I would have listed for about £4.

Perminate Link for eBay Goes Retro? 10-Day Auctions Ending on a Sunday   eBay Goes Retro? 10-Day Auctions Ending on a Sunday

by: Michael in BC This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 6 00:40:44 2021

Almost all my listings are auctions - collectable material, at least for me, does far better than via fixed price, if items are unusual or seldom offered.  

Perminate Link for eBay Goes Retro? 10-Day Auctions Ending on a Sunday   eBay Goes Retro? 10-Day Auctions Ending on a Sunday

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Mon Sep 6 00:41:16 2021

All the CEOs, since Pierre Omidyar was kicked out of top position, have removed the fun.
That factor can not be reinvigorated.
Once the soul leaves, it can not be returned.
Start Over with a new, uninfected venue.
KEEP IT OFF THE STOCK MARKET.
No "board".
Keep it Fun.

Perminate Link for eBay Goes Retro? 10-Day Auctions Ending on a Sunday   eBay Goes Retro? 10-Day Auctions Ending on a Sunday

by: shut1968 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 6 08:07:03 2021

I have always said "Buy It Now" ruined Ebay, and it did.
Before that EVERYTHING was an auction, I watched as collectible items that routinely sold for (in some cases) hundreds of dollars get reduced to $20-$30 over the course of a year.. People were yard saling and thrifting finding things for a few bucks and skipping the auctions because they were happy flipping for double/triple/quadruple etc what they paid instead of just listing them for auction and letting the "buyers" decide what they were willing to pay. From that point forward it stunted the growth of collectibles for at least a decade if not more, some hobbies recovered some never will.

Perminate Link for eBay Goes Retro? 10-Day Auctions Ending on a Sunday   eBay Goes Retro? 10-Day Auctions Ending on a Sunday

by: HappyOne This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 6 08:56:48 2021

Everyone that has been selling on Ebay has their own methods. When I research selling prices on sold items I am amazed how low ending prices are using auctions. Usually with only one or two bids. Yet the same Fixed Price listing has a much higher price. I list a few auctions of OOK items usually 7 days ending Saturday or Sunday with a beginning price of the least I want. My experience has been poor - 75% no sale; 20% opening bid and 5% have some action and a very good ending price. (why I still do auctions). Most my items are Fixed Price - what I want no dancing around (not that it doesn’t keep “potential” buyers from sending offers). I do list a few higher priced items (with an inflated price) using the Best Offer option. Some are sold at good prices - why I occasionally use this option.
As a buyer I do prey on the newer seller using best offer or having actions with low opening price. There are many still opening auctions at $9.99 and getting $9.99; but I am not seeing “free shipping” as much on these any more. I have been reasonable successful obtaining inventory for another site.  

Perminate Link for eBay Goes Retro? 10-Day Auctions Ending on a Sunday   eBay Goes Retro? 10-Day Auctions Ending on a Sunday

by: 1st Armored Div. 1971-1973 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 6 09:24:47 2021

I run auctions 7 days a week and never list an item for a price I am uncomfortable at it selling at.

I start closing at 3 PM every day. I sell world wide and 3 PM is 9 PM in Europe and 3 AM on the opposite side of the world. Europe is getting cranked up to buy and Asians are still awake and I do sell quite a bit to both ends and the time is OK for the USA.

If I do not run auctions my sales tank and most of my sales "normally" are Fixed Price which tells me the auctions are mostly advertisements drawing people in to buy Fixed Price.

Perminate Link for eBay Goes Retro? 10-Day Auctions Ending on a Sunday   eBay Goes Retro? 10-Day Auctions Ending on a Sunday

by: toyman This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 6 09:56:14 2021

We have always used 90% Auctions, with Fixed Price used only on newer, easier to find items (we sell hobby collectibles). All of our auctions end on either Saturday or Sunday nights, with Saturday night (10 PM EST - 7PM PST) being the clear favorite when prices realized are the determining factor. We start our auctions at the low end of what we hope to get for an item. Most times, that works fine.

Perminate Link for eBay Goes Retro? 10-Day Auctions Ending on a Sunday   eBay Goes Retro? 10-Day Auctions Ending on a Sunday

by: MeAgain This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 6 10:10:36 2021

Auctions don't work. We use them as 'ads', occasionally, for our cheapest, almost throw-away products, and make sure they contain all the key search terms for our all our items, in effort to attract followers and sell our other items. Always 10 day, and always end Sunday night.

Perminate Link for eBay Goes Retro? 10-Day Auctions Ending on a Sunday   eBay Goes Retro? 10-Day Auctions Ending on a Sunday

by: Ronn This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 6 11:00:00 2021

I think this might be useful. Had not really thought about the 10 day thing primarily because I always missed when an auction might miss a Sunday. That being so, I would list on a Sunday and it would end the following Sunday. This does provide some flexibility for me since I can now list during midweek and not have to scramble over the weekend with scanning, uploading, etc.

I was one of the few who did well with Fixed Price until eBay implemented the 30 GTC fiasco. If buyers are impatient waiting 7-10 days, I don't think 30 days is a swell option either. The Interactive calendar is useful. Thanks for that.

Perminate Link for eBay Goes Retro? 10-Day Auctions Ending on a Sunday   eBay Goes Retro? 10-Day Auctions Ending on a Sunday

by: Paul W This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 6 11:44:40 2021

Like others, I use auctions to get buyers to click on "See seller's other items."
My FP sales are generally better when I have a bunch of auctions running.

Perminate Link for eBay Goes Retro? 10-Day Auctions Ending on a Sunday   eBay Goes Retro? 10-Day Auctions Ending on a Sunday

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Mon Sep 6 12:53:28 2021

When I used auctions, "the crowd went Wild" !
Keep in mind it was known that I MAKE the items.
So, they knew it was New.
I realized 3X what I was originally asking.
I used the 5 day auctions. Always ending on Sunday.
Just enough to get their attention and give 'em time to bid it up.
People were stalking my stuff at 3 in the morning.
Quite flattering  :o)
So exiting, I'd be up at 3 in the morning just to watch the action !
There was NOTHING Like it.
Cup o' coffee, cat on my lap, CHING CHING CHINGIN' the whole way.
Much as I would definitely do it again under the EXACT same rules as in 2001,
I am really enjoying having my own website.
No 3rd party buttinski. Just me and my clients.

Perminate Link for eBay Goes Retro? 10-Day Auctions Ending on a Sunday   eBay Goes Retro? 10-Day Auctions Ending on a Sunday

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Mon Sep 6 13:46:37 2021

So, Ebay's competition is the Private Client website.
For which there really is No competition.

Perminate Link for eBay Goes Retro? 10-Day Auctions Ending on a Sunday   eBay Goes Retro? 10-Day Auctions Ending on a Sunday

by: zeek6228 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 6 14:32:01 2021

You can't run auctions anymore on eBay. Occasionally it works out if they don't ghost your listings.

People win the auction and then ask stupid questions. Bid with 3 seconds left and then "duhhhh I bid by mistake".

Or use one account to bid $1000 on a 99c item. Then use another account 5 seconds later to drive the bid up to $995. Then with 1 second left retract and the item sells for 99c.

Ebay used to be wonderful. Donahoe and Meg completely destroyed it.  

Perminate Link for eBay Goes Retro? 10-Day Auctions Ending on a Sunday   eBay Goes Retro? 10-Day Auctions Ending on a Sunday

by: terry55 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 6 15:37:08 2021

I end mine on Mondays, hard to deal with when I have a weekend of orders to pack then auctions on top of that. BUT only do 5 days, tried to do 7-10 but bidders tend to forget they bid on something and not pay. Also I only run auctions on OOK items, ebay killed most auction because they allow duplicate auctions. When someone runs auctions on 4-10 of the exact items, prices take a dive. The rule of supply and demand, flood the market and the value is nothing.

Perminate Link for eBay Goes Retro? 10-Day Auctions Ending on a Sunday   eBay Goes Retro? 10-Day Auctions Ending on a Sunday

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 6 22:05:30 2021

New sellers to the eBay of (hard to believe) an actual generation ago joined a wholly new enterprise.  Auctions then were ‘fun’ because they were deals made by people, not algorithms, in an environment that had organically evolved into a community of communities.  The actual ‘market’ was in fact an assembly of disparate and diverse marketplaces, each with it’s own ‘particulars’ regarding customer expectations and intrinsic value as defined by the eye of the be-biddin’.  There was enough flex in the framework to accommodate them all.  eBay had a lock on it, and it’s future.

Until “Store to Core”.  eBay, in it’s infinite wisdom begat by myopic education, decaying boardroom ethics, arrogant overreach, and a dash of foresight envisioning an explosion of commodity eCommerce - albeit nothing more than an awakening to ‘other’ eCom entities already both positioned for and experiencing that environment which they can copy - decided to, log by log, boil it’s current batch of hopping frogs and go all-in on retail.  A retail they could manipulate, then exploit, with minimal investment.  Mass market cookie cutter X-Mart’s the spot ‘stuff’.  

So instead of leveraging their niche, they trashed it.  Because they never really understood it.  Didn’t believe it could be ‘big enough’ to fuel their jets and buy their barstools.  Perhaps not alone, but it’s recent retro reaching is proof enough that trashing that square peg market by their stubborn incompetence trying to coerce it (and it’s corporate experience base) into eBay’s unceasingly contrived round holes of ‘control’, was a fiscal mistake.  Which their lack of corporate courage prevents them from admitting.

New sellers to the eBay of today, have no insight into the evolution of the commerce/technology marriage by experience.  They never tasted the ‘old’ Coke.  Beyond ability to judge for themselves the ‘validity’ of any past ‘concerns’ screamed from the rafters over the past decade plus through research, they likely don’t care.  It is what it is, and who want’s grampa’s dusty old attic stuffers anyway?  

That’s not to disregard the not insignificant population of up and coming eAuction appropriate item sellers that really might succeed - on the kind of eBay that used to work (and could again applying a few tweaks to address lessons learned - and AFTER that market was significantly detached from eBay’s ‘retail colored’ oversight.  

But that’s the real ‘difference’.  And real shame.  ‘Sunday’ works best because it always did.  For the same reason(s).  Sellers today may ‘learn’ this, but most will never be able to experience what can result from applying not only that, but all the other lessons that made sellers successful back then, because eBay killed that.  Ironically, sold it’s soul to the highest bidder.  Self destructed (but ‘innovatively’, don’tcha know).  Disavowed by the Director.  

Perminate Link for eBay Goes Retro? 10-Day Auctions Ending on a Sunday   eBay Goes Retro? 10-Day Auctions Ending on a Sunday

by: Geetar This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 7 18:56:35 2021

Biggest mistake they made was kicking the auctions to the curb. It brought buyers to the site with the lure of getting a really good deal, and if they didnt or they lost the auction they usually would go and BIN from someone ON EBAY.

Also people who cleaned their house and sold their unused, unwanted items had cash to spend......That was gone after kicking the auctions to the curb, and raising fee's. Those same people who did the cleanout sales always went to ebay, to buy and sell. I know several of those people....they all now go to Amazon. I guarantee most of them would still go to ebay to this day if they found it worth their while to sell their stuff on ebay occasionally.

I cant say what this CEO is doing is good. That comes only with hindsight. But the previous CEO's were nothing but dumb sh*t's.



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