Evan enjoys writing on a variety of topics including selling online, SEO, online marketing, and consumer advice.
When Is the Best Time to Sell on eBay?
When you are listing on eBay, you need to consider a number of things that affect your profit: eBay fees, whether you should sell single items or bundle for a number of reasons, and what your starting price should be. But this article addresses another important eBay issue. Something that is severely neglected by the average online seller is the timing of the listing. As an eBay seller, you need to be aware of the time of year for your listing, the time of the month, the time of the week, and even the time of day.
The Best Time of Year
A buyer can easily see that different times of the year are more productive when it comes to buying and selling. During the holidays, retailers see a huge number of sales. When you are selling on eBay, you need to be thinking in seasonal terms as well. Even though it may be tempting to do some spring cleaning and clear out all of your items as fast as possible, you could be selling at the wrong time. If you find yourself with inventory that will be viewed as a Christmas gift, then you might want to wait to sell until holiday buying heats up. If you have a seasonal item it can be much easier to sell when it is "in season" from a buyer perspective. If you have been attempting to sell Christmas lights during July, this could be the problem. It definitely comes down to common sense when you are deciding when to sell during the year.
The Best Time of the Month
A fair amount of eBay buyers are hunting for extreme bargains on a budget. This means that some of your potential customers may be operating on a paycheck to paycheck situation. The reality is that people will spend their money on what they really want, even if it may not be a good financial decision. Because of this reality, would-be bidders will have more money closer to payday. Where I am going with this is that you may want to consider timing auctions with the general pay schedule. There is no universal time for this, but you may want to consider listing at the end of two-week periods in order to coincide with the time people get paid. Finally, and this may sound harsh, but support checks (Welfare, Social Security, etc.) are sent out at the beginning of the month, so selling early in the month means that you may have more potential buyers who have not used their discretionary income. Budgets usually get tighter later in the month. If you can sell on eBay during a looser-wallet period, your sales could increase.
The Best Day of the Week
There is great debate relating to which day of the week is best to list on eBay. Here is a list of all seven days of the week, and their positive and negative aspects for listing.
- Sunday: Sunday is thought of as one of the best listing days. People are usually home and able to browse the web, which increases bidding potential. However, people may be getting ready for work, and planning financial commitments for the week, which can limit potential.
- Monday: A buyer might try to cure a case of the Monday blues by splurging online. Also, people may be back at work and able to browse since the workweek hasn't heated up. A negative side is that Monday can be very hectic for many, and buyers can be too busy.
- Tuesday: Tuesday is commonly thought of as a dog day for listing, since items ending on a Tuesday may just float in the digital world. I don't mind Tuesday from the standpoint that many DVDs and video games are released on Tuesday, so depending on your item category, you could ride a huge demand wave for a new product.
- Wednesday: Hump day can be just that. Bidders who just made it over the bubble may be willing to splurge and start the weekend extra early. Unfortunately the opposite may also be true.
- Thursday: Since it is nearly the weekend, this can be a rough listing day. This is another potential floating day where many bargains can be found, much to the dismay of sellers looking to maximize profit. Although you could end up seeing less listing competition, which can be a great help when listing some items.
- Friday: Finally Friday! It's time to get off work, gear up for the weekend, and...buy on eBay? Friday is a party day for many reasons, but online selling is not always one of them. Bidders may be too distracted by upcoming weekend events to bid, but since work will be over based on your day timing (I'll explain in a second), you could have many more potential buyers.
- Saturday: This can be a very busy day for social bugs, and it can also be a busy eBay day. Many bidders will be at home relaxing and browsing the internet, which can help your cause greatly. Tread lightly though: an eBay auction can hit the wall when put up against a picnic, amusement park, or mini-vacation.
The Best Time of Day
The final timing to consider is the time of day that you create your eBay listing. Remember that the time you make an auction go live is the exact time that your auction will end on the final day of the listing. If you are an early riser and start your listing at 7 a.m., then your auction will finish at the same time. Conversely, a night owl may prefer to list at 2 in the morning. Both of these options are fine, but you must consider your buyers.
The most important opponents to your eBay bids are sleep and work. If your potential buyer is unconscious, you will not be getting a bid. When selling an antique targeted towards older individuals, they will likely not be awake to bid in the dead of night. But, if you are listing a movie set geared towards a college student, they may not be able to bid at 11 am if they are in class. eBaying is even possible during working hours, but it may not always be an option. Put yourself in the shoes of your desired buyer to see when is the best time to list. I prefer the evening just because it seems like a cleaner time with fewer potential commitments that are otherwise set in stone.
P.S.: Make sure that you pay extra close attention to time zones when listing! I live in PA, and I sell plenty of items to CA. You had better believe that I account for time differences when listing. I could set items to end at 6 PM my time, which would make perfect sense. However, I would be ending it at 3 PM their time, which means many would-be bidders are at work or picking kids up from school. Always know the outlook for all of your potential buyers. Thanks and happy selling!
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This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.