For private buyers and sellers, the question then becomes a simple one of gaining access to such information. Does eBay record and tabulate all of this stuff (given that they so easily could), and more to the point, can it be made accessible at a reasonable cost to interested parties that ask for it?
The answer to these questions, interestingly, is a qualified "yes." There are two prominent tools on the eBay website designed to help buyers and sellers track supply, demand, prices, products, and buyer and seller behavior. One of these tools, called eBay Pulse, is accessible free of charge and is designed primarily to help buyers, though it can also be used by sellers seeking information about the most popular types of auction listings or items at any given moment. The other tool is called eBay Marketplace Research and is much more complete and detailed, providing a complete databank of eBay buying and selling statistics, down to quantities, dates, and individual prices.
eBay PulseeBay Pulse is a simple eBay portal that tracks the "most" on eBay across a number of metrics. Among those things that can be found are the "most searched for," "most watched," and those sellers that are selling "the most." This can be done across the eBay category tree, meaning that whether you're a buyer interested in antiques or a seller interested in soap, you can find out what is being searched for and sold the most on eBay at any given moment for free.
eBay Marketplace ResearchAs a subscription service intended for medium- to high-volume eBay sellers, eBay Marketplace Research is much more advanced than eBay Pulse and provides a wider range and specificity of data about eBay as a a total market. Among those things that can be tracked in eBay Marketplace Research are:
- Pricing information, including average start price, close price, and/or Buy It Now price.
- Quantity and sales volume information, including number of items listed, number of items sold, and average number of bids per listed item.
- Timing information, including last sold time and date for the item or item type.
In addition to textual data, eBay Marketplace Research provides subscribers with charts and graphical data to help you to quickly visualize eBay trends in your own particular selling market.
Non-eBay Market Analysis ProductsIf you're interested in data analysis tools and are willing to expand your horizons to include products not designed by or hosted at eBay itself, there are several other marketplace research and analysis tools and services that you can use to help you to maximize buying or selling power. Among them are
- HammerTap, which provides data similar to the data provided by eBay Marketplace Research.
- Data Unison, who provides both an eBay listings and transaction dataset and also deep API access, resulting in perhaps the most complete eBay market data product.
- Terapeak, another product providing data and research similar to the data provided by eBay Marketplace Research.
- Plunkett's Plunkett's E-Commerce & Internet Industry research, a more broad, trend-based product and dataset.
Have an alternate marketplace research tool or technique that you prefer? Visit the eBay message board and share your ideas!