Study Says Shoppers "Save" Money On eBay

EBay doesn’t share data on bidders’ maximum bid amounts, so it’s always been difficult to quantify whether or not buyers are actually saving money, but a new study has attempted to put hard numbers behind the transactions. The study’s authors use data from bidders who used a specific sniping agent—by measuring what those bidders were willing to pay versus actual winning amounts, they’ve determined that the average winning bid comes in about 30% lower than the maximum amount the buyer was willing to spend.

However, the study focuses on winning bids of $14 and found that on these bids, buyers were on average willing to pay about $4 more to win. We wonder two things: does this scale to big-ticket purchases on eBay, where presumably shoppers have a greater incentive to seek out the best deal? ($14 is awfully close to an impulse or emotional purchase for a lot of eBay shoppers, we’d imagine.) And does this prove that eBay is a good deal, or that eBay shoppers tend to err on the side of willing to spend too much for the goods they’re buying, especially at lower price points?

One of the authors suggests eBay make similar data more transparent to shoppers in order to “reignite its auctions business.” EBay has said it’s going to start shifting away from auctions in order to focus more on fixed-price goods, which already account for 40% of eBay’s marketplace revenue.

“Tracking Consumer Savings on eBay” [NYT Bits blog]

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“New Research Finds Consumers Save More Than $7B by Shopping on eBay “ [Robert H. Smith School of Business]
“EBay’s New Leader Moves Swiftly on a Revamping” [New York Times]
(Photo: Getty)