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Utilizing Last Year's Auctions

By Steve Nye, eBay Certified Consultant

Have you ever bought Christmas decorations the week after Christmas? Of course! The seasoned shopper will tell you that’s when to snag those great discounts. But what if you could predict how a product will do before the season approaches? HammerTap’s Last Year’s Auctions can help you track market trends and predict your own success for categories and for specific products.

 

Why use Last Year's Auctions?

 

Let’s face it—we’re creatures of habit. We like the predictable. Believe it or not—so does the market! Seasonal and holiday trends are often consistent and provide a wealth of information for those who know where to look. Last Year’s Auctions is designed to show us what was happing in the coming month one year ago so we can plan our own strategies for the future.

To illustrate, let’s look at the market for portable air conditioners, a must-have during the hot summer months. By using Last Year’s Auctions, we can track the popularity of portable air conditioners one year ago and use that information to plan our own success over the coming month.

 

Trending for Success

 

To begin, I’ll conduct a search for portable air conditioners (category #79624) from July 7 through August 6 2005. I will do four searches—one for each week of my time span.

To complete my first search, I’ll open a Category Search form, enter #79624 in the eBay Category Number field, select the Last Year’s Auctions checkbox, and set the Start Date at 07/07/05 and the End Date at 07/14/05.

Week 1 (July 7-14)
The Results section in the Findings window of my first search:

Total Listings 194
Listings with Sale 106
Listing Success Rate (LSR) 54.64%
Average Sale Price (ASP) $589.65
Total Sales $62,502.69
Sellers with Sale 66
Average Sales Per Seller 1.61
Average Revenue Per Seller $947.01



To complete my second search, I’ll open a Category Search form, enter #79624 in the eBay Category Number field, select Last Year’s Auctions, and set the Start Date at 07/15/05 and the End Date at 07/22/05.

Week 2 (July 15-22)
The Results section in the Findings window of my second search:

Total Listings 232
Listings with Sale 138
Listing Success Rate (LSR) 59.48%
Average Sale Price (ASP) $548.41
Total Sales $75,680.48
Sellers with Sale 88
Average Sales Per Seller 1.57
Average Revenue Per Seller $860.01



To complete my third search, I’ll open a Category Search form, enter #79624 in the eBay Category Number field, select Last Year’s Auctions, and set the Start Date at 07/23/05 and the End Date at 07/31/05.

Week 3 (July 23-30)
The Results section in the Findings window of my third search:

Total Listings 242
Listings with Sale 148
Listing Success Rate (LSR) 61.16%
Average Sale Price (ASP) $560.00
Total Sales $82,879.95
Sellers with Sale 73
Average Sales Per Seller 2.03
Average Revenue Per Seller $1,135.34



To complete my fourth search, I’ll open a Category Search form, enter #79624 in the eBay Category Number field, select Last Year’s Auctions, and set the Start Date at 07/31/05 and the End Date at 08/06/05.

Week 4 (July 31-Aug 6)
The Results section in the Findings window of my fourth search:

Total Listings 186
Listings with Sale 116
Listing Success Rate (LSR) 62.37%
Average Sale Price (ASP) $400.07
Total Sales $46,408.50
Sellers with Sale 71
Average Sales Per Seller 1.63
Average Revenue Per Seller $653.64


Predicting Future Profits

 

Let’s take a closer look at our results. From Week 1 to Week 4, the LSR (Listing Success Rate) rose from 54.64% to 62.37%. Clearly, listings for portable air conditioners grew more successful as the summer progressed. And for a while, prices remained fairly steady, also. However, the ASR (Average Sale Price) went from $560 in Week 3 to $400.07 in Week 4. Even though prices for portable air conditioners were falling as the summer progressed, sellers were seeing more listing success.

Listings with Sale and Total Sales also give us some valuable information. From Week 1 to Week 3, listings with a sale rose from 106 to 148, with total sales rising from $62,502.69 to $82,879.95. Then in Week 4, listings with a sale fell to 106, with total sales equaling $46,408.50. The peak in Week 3 suggests a shift in the market for portable air conditioners that sellers would do well to heed.

So what does this information mean to us? Looking at the market over a one-month stretch, we can see some definite trends in listing success, sales, and profit. Modeling our own listings based on market fluctuation one year ago helps us anticipate likely fluctuations in the future.

To best prepare for future success, be sure to examine both the Results section and the Options section in the Findings window to determine the elements of a successful listing and to predict your potential success. Arming yourself with information from previous auctions can give you an edge in today’s market—you will better be able to anticipate trends, craft the most effective listing, and reap the benefits of success!

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