Thursday, August 07, 2008

Survey Says! New Value in Used Goods

eBay recently commissioned a survey that found:
"U.S. consumers are buying used goods as a way to save money and even
help the environment. Today, 75 percent of adults are purchasing used
(pre-owned) goods to save money and nine in ten adults (88 percent) view buying pre-owned merchandise as a form of recycling
, a new survey released today by Harris Interactive® for
eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY - News) reveals. More than a quarter of adults (27 percent) who have purchased used goods in the past six months say they saved 76 percent or more off the retail price of the last item they purchased." (bold is mine)

Used goods have always been eBay's strength and in this uncertain economy, should be what sets them apart from from the rest of ecommerce. Instead, sites like Amazon are actually making head way in the used market. In fact, I sell my used media items (DVDs, CDs and Video Games) on Amazon because I can get a better price.

Here are two examples: (From the sellers perspective)
  1. The Wizard of Oz (DVD) - This particular version of the film is OOP (Out of Print). It is the original Warner release on DVD and I sold a "Used - Very Good" one this morning on Amazon for $17.97 -- BTW, they just received this item in the Reno FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) warehouse this morning and it sold before 8:00 am.

    On eBay, using Terapeak to research completed sales, I found that over the last 30 days this same Used DVD has an ASP (Average Selling Price) of $12.20.
  2. Seven - 2-Disc DVD - I sold one this morning (again it was just received in Amazon's warehouse this morning) for $5.96. On eBay the 30-day ASP for this title (used) on eBay is $3.42
These are just two examples but I could search on thousands of titles and the results would be similar. How could eBay, the "King of Used" have lost so much ground to Amazon?
  • I usually only have a quantity of 1, with most items, so I'm going to choose the marketplace that gets me the highest price, sells the fastest and is the least hassle. On Amazon I got a higher price, they both sold the same day they arrived in Amazon's warehouse - oh and I won't get any emails from the customer.
  • On eBay I will get a lower price; if I auction the item it will take 7 days to sell and possibly another 2-3 days to get paid - oh and I guarantee I will get a minimum of 2 emails.

According to the survey "The most popular items purchased secondhand within the past six months include consumer electronics and entertainment, which 56 percent of pre-owned shoppers have purchased, and clothing and accessories, which more than half of pre-owned shoppers (54 percent) have purchased."

Amazon is an online leader in Consumer Electronics and Entertainment so they stand to benefit from this trend. eBay still has a lead in clothing and accessories, but the way Amazon is going that may not last.

Now, I know I come across as anti-eBay and pro-Amazon and I certainly lean that way, but it is because eBay has become marginalized. In fact, other than category advantages (breadth of categories) Amazon is besting them at every turn.

Update: One thing I forgot to discuss: If eBay has lower prices why wouldn't the consumer shop there, rather than Amazon?

I forgot to mention S&H in quoting the eBay numbers. The avg. S&H cost to ship both of the DVDs mentioned above on eBay was $5, while on Amazon it is $2.98 and in my case (with FBA) shipping was free.

That makes the Wizard of Oz sale comparable in price between Amazon and eBay (except the customer gets 2-day shipping on Amazon) but the Seven DVD is much more expensive.

Which is the better buying experience?

Who would have thunk it - if you want something used buy it from Amazon.

Just my 12%


ms.pat said...

I'll give you one example of why Ebay will never be up to Amazon's standards.

In all the years I've been buying on Amazon I only had one bad experience (I described this seller more as mentally unbalanced). I bought a used book from the seller and waited 5 weeks before writing to the seller and asking when it was mailed out. I didn't expect what I got in return...the rudest email that stated I was trying to get a refund and had received the book! That prompted me to write an email back and so ended up in this back and forth "war of words". I couldn't believe this seller. So, I fished around and found that to file a complaint you could leave your phone number and Amazon would call you back. I left it, expecting nothing (same as one would get on Ebay). NO, within 5 minutes the call was returned and the first thing the Amazon rep said was "don't worry, if you haven't received your order you'll get a full refund". Words any buyer would LOVE to hear. I went on and told her about the rudeness of the seller and she said he'll be talked to and not to worry because I will get my refund within two weeks. As luck would have it, the book arrived a few days later and I emailed Amazon and told them to cancel the refund. Just try getting THAT kind of service on Ebay!!! That's why Ebay's present scheme is doomed to failure and why they need to put policies BACK the way they were because if they're not going to mediate (and we all know they're not) then both buyer and seller need to be able to protect themselves! Its been that way for this very reason!

Anonymous said...

buyers on Amazon think a 'used' item is just that, USED, buyers of the same item on eBay assume it is FAKE and USED.

Whitlow Unique Collectibles said...

Buy Vintage for Christmas a wonderful Gift that has Historical Charm and will increase in Value over time. Think Green and recycle.Alot of Sellers selling used Merchandise have moved to Amazon and Ola Auctions.
Whitlow Unique Collectibles