Best eBay auction timing?
August 9, 2010 2:28 AM   Subscribe

What are the best days/times to have ebay auctions end? Which are the days/times to absolutely avoid?
posted by lord_yo to Work & Money (10 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I have heard from a number of sources that the prime time for ending auctions is Sunday evenings, around 6pm-8pm. Apparently this is when the peak amount of people are on and looking at the "auctions ending soon" listings.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:34 AM on August 9, 2010

In my experience it is best to have the auction end around late lunch (2-4 PM EST) and around early nighttime (7-9 PM EST). This covers east and west coast buyers and gets them to bid up your item while people are awake and bored at work or relaxed after lunch or dinner.

If others are selling what you're selling, one to find out is to track other people selling the item you plan to sell. Track auctions that end on different days and closing times (morning, afternoon, night) of the week. Calculate the mean end price for each day and each closing time block.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:40 AM on August 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

Avoid holiday weekends completely.
posted by COD at 4:36 AM on August 9, 2010

I lost a couple of auctions tonight because I was busy doing other stuff, like feeding my children and supervising homework. (And I'm pissed off because I really wanted that incredibly cheap stash of cross-stitch fabric that went for $2.25, but dinner was ready to be served then so I wasn't going to be sitting at the computer watching the countdown.)

I'd avoid auctions that end at mealtimes, if they're listed to end on a weekday.

Depends on your target market, though. Aiming towards crafty part-time working mums like me, I'd aim for 4 or 5pm on a weekday. If your items will appeal to geeky working blokes, maybe 10 or 11am would work best.

I think target market research would best answer your question. What do you sell?
posted by malibustacey9999 at 5:30 AM on August 9, 2010

Definitely evenings. Weekend evenings are best. More people are on the site at those times, and are more likely to see your listing about to end.
posted by twblalock at 5:42 AM on August 9, 2010

Sunday evening has been the stock answer to this for a long time, it may be that this has become a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy...a lot of regular buyers now consider Sunday evening a good time to poke through ending auctions, because they know so many sellers use it as an endtime.

Still, I have to say that I don't really notice a drop in prices when I list things on a weekday evening instead (I avoid Friday & Saturday).

I usually end things a bit later in the evening, between 9:00 & 11:00 pm. I figure this gives more folks on the west coast time to get home from work in time to look.

And yes, holiday weekends should be avoided.
posted by the bricabrac man at 5:56 AM on August 9, 2010

Going by my family's ebay business experience, around 10pm sunday-thursday.
posted by d13t_p3ps1 at 7:33 AM on August 9, 2010

Best answer: Auction ending time isn't nearly as important these days as it used to be.

A ridiculously huge proportion of sales are through "Buy It Now" and fixed price listings. Relatively few eBay users have the patience to go through the bidding process. The last statistic I heard was that only about a third of sold items are from auctions that are allowed to complete (i.e. not ended early with BIN or canceled).

Another factor which makes the end time less critical is the rise of sniping tools. I would guess that at least 3/4ths of eBay auction bidders are using a sniping tool, so they don't really care when a listing ends.

Add to that the "self-fulfilling prophecy" aspect of the magic Sunday night time slot. The more listings that end on Sunday night, the more people will be drawn to the site to look for listings. And a surprising number of people will schedule 10 listings to end Sunday and one to end Tuesday, and then turn around and tell you that "listings that end Sunday are more successful." Correlation/causation, etc.

All that being said, if you want to get into it, there's a lot of psychology involved. Look at the other items similar to the one you're selling. When do they end? If everyone's ending their auctions on Sunday evening, maybe you want to be the one person whose listing ends on Thursday afternoon.

I always advised my clients to look at their item, and imagine the person buying it. When will that person be dawdling around without anything better to do than bid on eBay?

For example if you have something that appeals to high tech geeks, weekday evenings are a great time to end your listing. A "stay at home mom" item would do well to end at say 1PM Monday, because the kids are in school, she's finished doing the bulk of the chores, and is taking some time to sit down and catch up on email.

But really my advice is to end the listing whenever you want - and set a BIN!
posted by ErikaB at 9:40 AM on August 9, 2010

Best answer: Unless there is a really compelling reason for an auction style listing, go with fixed price or best offer. Situations like that lot of fabric mentioned up thread happen all the time, and you don't want to be on the wrong end of it. If that seller had put it up for $19.95 or best offer, I'm sure they'd be a lot happier today. The days of unexpectedly high prices on eBay auctions are just about completely gone.

It is silly, but even with fixed price listings, end time and duration still matter a lot. If people think it isn't going to sell for a while, they'll be lazy and wait, or hope that giving it more time will make you take a lower price, or any number of other things. So scheduling the end time and making a short listing are still useful approaches, I think.
posted by Chuckles at 1:58 PM on August 9, 2010

sunday evening 6-8pm EST or PST?
posted by lrodman at 11:22 PM on September 19, 2010

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