The eBay website is nothing if not an incredible body of statistical information. With millions of auctions running in parallel at any chosen moment, all managed through a massive database that can be tied to particular users' accounts, names, and addresses; it is easy to understand that eBay might have access to rather a lot of empirical data about the online buying and selling market.
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.
eBay 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."
It 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.
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. As 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 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 the number of items listed, number of items sold, and the 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 visualize eBay trends in your own particular selling market quickly.