Holiday Trending Made Simple: What to Look For

By Steve Nye, eBay Certified Consultant

Hello eBay Powerful Sellers!

I love the holiday season, but if you’re like me, you wait until the last minute to do your holiday shopping. It’s not that I can’t find anything to buy, it’s just that Christmas sneaks up on me before I know it. And the truth is that many holiday shoppers follow that same trend.

While it’s usually unfortunate for the shopper, who has to settle for whatever is left on the shelf, it produces a gold mine of sales for the seller.

For example, a few years ago I worked as a salesman at a fine jewelry store. As the holidays approached, I was a little upset that I was scheduled to work on Christmas Eve. But my frustrations were turned to pure joy as I sold more that morning than I did in a whole month. Men who came in were frantic and would buy anything you placed in front of them. So, I always showed them the most expensive items first, which they usually fell in love with and bought.

These same buying trends stream into eBay as many buyers frantically look for that perfect, last-minute gift, and which they are usually willing to pay top-dollar for. In order to maximize your selling potential, it’s important to understand a little bit about holiday trends for your product.

When is the best time to sell? – Utilizing HammerTap’s Trending

So, the big question I am going to answer in this Auctionography is, “How do I use HammerTap to understand market trends?” The answer is found in using Last Year’s Auctions within HammerTap. This allows you to look at the sales trends (changes in the market) leading up to and following Christmas, making holiday trending as easy as pumpkin pie!

Let’s pick an example and I will show you how to find the best time to sell. I want to pick an item that we can see both seasonal and holiday trends. Take humidifiers, for example. In the winter months, the air gets dryer in many places. It makes for rough skin. Not only will these increase because of the season, but most likely they will become great gift ideas.

So, I researched humidifiers for 4 consecutive weeks leading up to Christmas. I did this by selecting Last Year’s Auctions in my search criteria and completed four, one-week searches, starting on December 4. Take a look at the results below. Pay specific attention to the changes in Listing Success Rates and Average Sales Prices.

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Figure 1 - Humidifier sales on eBay December 4 - 10

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Figure 2 - Humidifier sales on eBay December 11 - 17

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Figure 3 - Humidifier sales on eBay December 18 - 24

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Figure 4 - Humidifier sales on eBay December 25 - 31


So, from this we can determine the best time to sell our product, in this case humidifiers. From our research we see that the week of December 4-10 has the highest sales price, with an average of $44.37 per item. However, the week of December 11-17 has the highest success rate, at 63%. But don’t forget to look at the sales price as well, for this week it dropped to $36.77, a difference of $7.50.

Finally, it looks like sales drop off immediately following Christmas. Why do you think this is the case?

Get in the Buyer’s Mindset

Once you have done the research and know when your buyers make their seasonal purchase, you now need to get in the mind of the seller. Think of why they are buying and how they are buying.

Let’s go back to our humidifier example. Who is likely going to buy a humidifier right before Christmas? Some may be buying it as a gift, and are willing to pay a little more for it. Some may even be anticipating company staying with them for the holidays and want to make their stay more comfortable. These shoppers may even be willing to up the price a bit.

This is when you go back and say, “That’s why sales are dropping after Christmas. The gifts have all been given and the company gone home.”

So, how will this effect your sales copy when you put together your auction? You could include a nice blend of what these two shoppers (and there are many other reasons why people will be buying your product before Christmas) are looking for when they read your auction.

“This humidifier makes an excellent holiday gift, as well as makes your guests stay more comfortable.”

Once you know when, why and how your shopper makes their purchase, you can then develop strategies to best present it to them. Let’s go back to HammerTap and see what else we can do to boost our sales.

Going Back to the Results to Boost Your Profits

Okay, so we know when to sell our product, and we have a feel for how and why buyers will make a purchase at that time, but let’s go back to our research results for more ways to increase our profits.

We know that the week of December 4-10 will give us the highest selling price, with an average of $44.37, but how can we make more than the average? Also, how can we increase our selling success rate from the average of 59%?

Figure 1 - Humidifier sales on eBay December 4 - 10

Take a look and see what combination of listing features would increase our selling price and sales rate. In this case, using a Fixed-Price Auction, or BIN, we can make an additional $23. Also, ending on Wednesday greatly increase our sales price. What about success rate? A 5-Day Auction increases our success rate from 57% to almost 71% without taking a hit on the price.

See how slick that is? That’s why at the beginning I said that it was trending made simple. Now that you know what to look for, you can find the best time to sell your product during the holiday season. Then add the key features that will optimize your auctions and you are sure to make the maximum profits for your products.

Remember, every product behaves differently, especially during the holidays. That’s why market research is vital to your selling success.

I wish you good luck ‘til next time and also hope you have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday!).


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