One Sunday afternoon, you decided to do a bit of reorganizing and got rid of some junk from around the house on eBay – your house was that much cleaner and it was nice to have a few extra bucks in your pocket. So good, in fact, that you started sourcing items:
- At local wholesalers
- From thrift shops
- At garage sales
- Maybe you even started producing your own items
But, somewhere between 2018 and 2019, you found yourself stuck with some items which weren’t converting at the rate and pace you would have liked or maybe not at all. Not only is your garage packed to the hilt with dust-collecting junk, but that junk is hindering your cash flow.
It is time for a new eCommerce resolution! I know that those usually happen on December 31st, but I promise that if you reaffirm your resolutions seasonally, you will have a much healthier and more profitable business.
A second before I reveal the best eBay categories to dabble in during 2019, here is an outline of what I want you to do:
- Go over your listings and identify the white elephants which aren’t selling.
- Reduce prices drastically – anywhere north of 20%.
- Promote your new-found summer sale and get rid of the dead weight holding you back. Yes, you probably sold at a loss, but now you have liquid cash to invest in products which actually convert.
- Choose a category from the list below and start selling items shoppers actually want.
- Build a brand identity around that category.
- Repeat this process often as humanly possible.
Top eBay categories
As with eBay’s algorithm, Cassini, the marketplace tries to hold the top converting categories a state secret. Why? I assume they don’t want supply to outpace demand with prices being devalued beyond control, while their other selling categories take a nosedive. If eBay won’t fork over this information, don’t worry about it. That is why I am here.
So, without further ado, the best categories to sell in which I identified through speaking with sellers and doing research on sites like shelftrend (I am not affiliated with them in any way) are:
Best Selling eBay Category: Home décor
“If the statistics are boring, then you’ve got the wrong numbers.”
Edward R. Tufte had the right idea, which is why we are going to look at the numbers for each of these top converting categories in 2019 and see what insights we can garner. As far as ‘Home Decor’ is concerned, here are the most interesting numbers:
- Category price range: $0.74 – $115
- Postage range: $0.00 – $4.50
- Quantity: 1,651,355
- Sellers: 259
- Brands: 113
- Items sold: 255,111
Category Insights: Just by looking at this data, we can determine that:
- This is an excellent category for sellers who want to offer free shipping while keeping their expenses to a minimum, as $4.50 is the highest in terms of shipping expenses for the category as a whole.
- There are 259, sellers which means that there is a fair amount of competition but it is not impossible to break into this category.
- We also see 113 brands but 259 sellers, meaning each seller maintains between 2-3 brands, which is a selling strategy you can consider as well (retail stores like Gap use this same approach with Banana Republic being the upscale entity of the franchise).
- Most products cost under $10, meaning you will need to focus on selling larger quantities with smaller profit margins rather than smaller quantities with higher margins.
- In terms of quantity sold by sellers, it seems like there is one category leader, with a few smaller sellers coming in second place. On a positive note, a good 60-70% of this category is dominated by sales made by smaller sellers, meaning that even though bigger sellers are involved in this category, the little guy still has a fighting chance!
Best Selling eBay Category: Garden Accessories
As far as ‘Garden Accessories’ is concerned, here are the most interesting numbers:
- Category price range: $0.06 – $31.99
- Postage range: $0.00 – $13.00
- Quantity: 122,248
- Sellers: 59
- Brands: 16
- Items sold: 52, 664
Category Insights: Just by looking at this data, a few very interesting things come to light:
- First of all, there are only 59 sellers currently in this category, which means competition is low and this makes for an ideal category to try to make a name for yourself in.
- There are also only 16 brands, meaning the brand-to-seller ratio is 1:4, i.e. many sellers are selling the same brand. The opportunity here is to introduce a new brand to this market.
- The graph below shows 2 sellers who are dominating the sales in this category, which is never good, but the small fish do seem to be getting at least 30% market share and you can always be an exception!
Best Selling eBay Category: Fitness
As far as ‘Fitness’ is concerned, here are the most interesting numbers:
- Category price range: $0.00 – $177.13
- Postage range: $0.00 – $9.99
- Quantity: 1,584, 221
- Sellers: 363
- Brands: 164
- Items sold: 714, 550
Category Insights: The story the data tells is as follows –
- Items in ‘Fitness’ command higher prices so you can potentially focus on selling fewer items at higher prices.
- Approximately one out of every seller in this category sells the same brand, and the same is true of the other half. Consider carrying both brands as well as a third or fourth to set yourself apart.
- Non-data related insight: Summer is the time when people remember that they want to be in shape and get a ‘beach body’. Take advantage of the season and sentiments, and then board the ‘fitness’ train.
- ‘Fitness’ is a fantastic category for small sellers as it is dominated by a good 70% small- to medium-sized retailers.
Best Selling eBay Category: Consumer Electronics
As far as ‘Consumer Electronics’ is concerned, here are the most interesting numbers:
- Category price range: $1.79 – $334.20
- Postage range: $0.00 – $8.95
- Quantity: 744,358
- Sellers: 300
- Brands: 181
- Items sold: 392,075
Category Insights: Here is what we can learn from the numbers:
- ‘Consumer Electronics’ as a category is very uniquely positioned, commanding high prices on the one hand, yet having relatively low shipping costs. Use these to your advantage by offering ‘free shipping’ and just adding that cost to the initial product price.
- Also look out for items which can be bought wholesale or through drop shipping at great prices yet have a very high margin in terms of retail.
- This category has a few strong sellers, yet no one who is dominating the market in terms of sales, which is a good thing. Also, small sellers comprise a good 55% of market share.
Best Selling eBay Category: Women’s Clothing
As far as ‘Women’s Clothing’ is concerned, here are the most interesting numbers:
- Category price range: $0.99 – $65.00
- Postage range: $0.00 – $7.28
- Quantity: 1,236, 272
- Sellers: 246
- Brands: 89
- Items sold: 562,060
Category Insights: Here is what we can learn about ‘Women’s Clothing’:
- A nice amount of sellers yet a smaller number of brands, which means many sellers are carrying the same items.
- Tip – consider following fashion blogs or buying some fashion magazines and try sourcing items based on those.
A great example of a fashion blogger who can provide you with some great retail inspiration is ‘Slip Into Style’. She is an Instagram influencer who loves haute-couture mixed in with some of that street grunge. Of late, she loves denim, which is a great example of a fashion item she can help you decide to carry.
- Yet again, ‘Women’s Clothing’ presents an ideal opportunity for small sellers to get their piece of market share.
Summing it up
It is not for naught that people say, “Being in the right place at the right time is of the utmost importance”. As in life, so too with eCommerce you need to strategically situate yourself in the right product categories so that your business has a better chance of prospering. Be sure to choose categories:
- You know, love and understand
- You have a deep knowledge of
- With low competition
- Which are largely dominated by small and medium-sized sellers
- Categories with low shipping costs and high-profit margins
Wishing you high conversion and sell-through rates 🙂
Have some follow-up questions?
Do you know of a category with a crazy high sell-through rate?
Leave a comment below, and I’d be happy to start a discussion!