From the Editor
By Ina Steiner
The peak of the holiday selling season is upon us. That fact is reflected in the number of listings on eBay. According to Medved's Auction Counts http://www.medved.net/cgi-bin/cal.exe?EIND, the number of listings on eBay is close to 16 million. Looking back over the past 5 years of Medved's data, excluding Free Listing Days (FLDs), eBay hits their high-water mark in listings around the first week in December. This year appears to be no different.
The trend sees listings drop off by mid-December, and spike again at the end of the month, when eBay traditionally offers a Free Listing Day to its sellers. In the last couple of years, FLDs have fallen on December 26th.
Studying the data that Medved has collected is always fascinating. Excluding FLDs, the highest number of listings that eBay achieved on its site in 2003 was approximately 15 million. In 2002 it was approximately 10.5 million and in 2001, 7.5 million. While there might appear to be a slow down in 2004 listing growth, Medved doesn't look at eBay's international sites, where the company is pinning their hopes for future growth.
Another interesting characteristic is the number of "spikes" on this year's graph. Those spikes represent a much more liberal offering of promotions from eBay. Nearly every Tuesday during 2004 there was some kind of discount to motivate sellers to list. Here is a graph that shows the previous 4 years of listing counts superimposed over each other for easy comparison: http://www.auctionbytes.com/auctioncounts.GIF.
This week, eBay introduced a new feature on their site: a "Want it Now" format that allows buyers to post items they are looking for and allowing sellers to respond to buyers with links to their eBay listings (http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abn/y04/m12/i03/s00). Buyers can create free 30-day listings describing the item or items they wish to purchase. Sellers can browse the Want It Now listings by category, and can use the eBay system to send an email to the buyer that includes a link to their eBay listing.
It's an interesting approach, and something many users have been requesting for quite a while. If you have an opinion on this new feature, post a note in the discussion forums http://www.auctionbytes.com/forum/phpBB/viewforum.php?f=3.
Enjoy the holiday season, may your business prosper and may you remain happy and healthy throughout!
Thanks for reading.
About the author:
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). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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