How Many Buyers and Sellers for My Product?

By Steve Nye, eBay Certified Consultant and Research
Education Specialist

I’m sure you can relate. It’s been raining for weeks and finally, that perfect sunny day comes along. You throw your pole in the boat and head to the lake. The problem is that everyone else and their dog have the same idea.

With only so many fish in the lake, your chances of catching anything is slim with too many fishermen. That’s why so many people have their “secret spots” that they often don’t even tell friends and family about.

Why? It’s their niche. Their spot. Somewhere they can go where they are sure to catch something and not see another boat on the water.

But what does this have to do with your eBay sales?

How many Fish are in the Sea?

This fishing principle is easily applied to your eBay sales. There are only so many fish in the sea (buyers), as well as the other fishermen you are competing against (sellers).

Let’s explore the first aspect – how many fish are in the sea. In other words, how many buyers are there for your product?

“How on earth should I know?” right? Something that is impossible to know because you never know how many people are looking for your specific product. But, there is a way to know with a little insight from a research tool.

How Many Buyers are Out There Buying Your Product?

I used HammerTap to research a product, and you can do the same with your product. In this example, we are looking at the sales of 18 volt DeWalt cordless drills for the past 60 days. I want to know how many buyers there were for these drills during this timeframe.

Figure 1: Number of Buyers.

During the past 60 days on eBay, 15,347 drills listed for sale. Out of all listings, 10,378 ended with a sale. This is the number of buyers you had for this specific product over the last two months.

To look at it more simply, for every three listings there was two buyers. This is the same as saying that for every three hooks, two fish were biting.

I know what you are thinking. “Great, but what does this do for my sales?” Well, this number is helpful only if you know how many sellers are out there as well. In other words, what is your competition looking like?

How Many Sellers are Out There Selling Your Product?

How do we know how many sellers had the same idea we did to sell the same product we are selling? We can look at the exact same research to find the answer to this, and I’ve highlighted it below.

Figure 2: Number of Sellers.

We can see in figure 2 above that there are 2,068 sellers for this product. Each seller had an average of 5.34 sales, averaging revenues of $507.87.

Again, how does this help you right?

Let’s compare the number of sellers to the number of buyers. If there are 10,378 buyers and 2,068 sellers, then we have roughly five buyers to every one seller.

This is the same as saying there are five fish to every single fisherman. This is pretty good odds when you are fishing. Growing up the limit was six fish, so this is close to the limit.

But, I didn’t always catch my limit. I usually caught one or two fish, while my dad caught his limit, and the rest of my limit.

Again, the same principle applies to your eBay sales. There are many sellers who are selling one or two drills, but there are only a few who making up the difference.

How Many Top Sellers are Selling My Product?

Who is picking up the sales you aren’t making? If the average sales per seller is 5.34, and you are only making 2 sales, then who is making the other three?

I’ll give you a clue. The same person that is picking up your slack is also picking up the slack of everyone in the market. Who is this seller?

We call these sellers the top sellers in the market. In this case, the market is 18 volt DeWalt cordless drills, and you can guarantee there is a top seller, or even a handful of them.

Something that is impossible to figure out right? Wrong. Like I mentioned earlier, a research tool like HammerTap can help.

Figure 3: Top Sellers.

Figure 3 shows us the top 27 sellers, each of which is listing more than 100 drills in the past 60 days. Just how much of the pie of this market are they eating up?

The total number of listings is 15,347. The top 27 sellers are eating up 7,584 or nearly 50% of all auctions.

In terms of actual sales, these top sellers are making 4,695 or 45% of total sales.

So, while there originally were 5.34 sales per seller, that number has dropped significantly. After the top sellers have picked up all the slack of the casual sellers, that leaves about 2.5 sales per seller.

Isn’t that amazing? Only 27 of the top sellers are eating up nearly half the market. You could compare these sellers to the pros out there in the speedy bass boats and fancy lures (neither of which I ever had growing up).

I’ve highlighted a couple of these speedy-boat sellers in figure 3. Especially seller 10. He or she has much fewer listings than seller 3, and is making the same amount in total sales. This person is truly a top seller!

How Does This Affect Your Sales?

Now for the kicker – How does know this affect your sales?

Well, you know what the fisherman say, “If your ‘secret’ fishing spot gets discovered, then you need to find a new spot.”

In other words, if everyone and their dog has the same idea you do for selling a product on eBay, you might want to start looking for a new “secret” product to sell.

However, you can also use this information to become a top seller. With research like this, you can follow the movements and sales of these top sellers. At first, use this information to mimic their sales, just like copying a great fisherman.

Once you’ve got the hang of it, branch out on your own and turn from mimicking to competing and before you know it, you will be one of those top sellers within your market!

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