Don’t you love gadgets, especially the new finagled ones. If you are like me and you strive to take ownership of the latest and greatest, then this article is for you – because I will save you a bunch of money which can then be safely applied to … even more gadgets. From satellite receivers to universal remotes, there is a constant barrage of new releases. Now any self respecting gadget addict will understand that yesterdays gizmo’s is destined for the trash heap as soon as release 3.0 hits the streets.
Of course for the savvy shopper release 2.0 offers unique buying opportunities. Purchasing the one generation before often yields even more fun and stimulation. Since bugs have been removed, geeky hacks have been introduced and generally you can have more fun and be rather more ruthless with the little device.
Now a market exists for both state of the generation and one, two and even three back versions. Its eBay of course that I am referring too. With a large volume of most electronics being traded everyday, this is the ideal near efficient market. One can study the dynamics of this micro-market and determine some useful buying rules. With a little more information than the rest of the marketplace, one can almost certainly make some intelligent buying opportunities. This article focuses on how to identify these gaps and often purchase many electronic gadgets for 20-100% below retail.
This article should be read together with my longer piece and a web site, which produces the information required to identify buying nuggets. Find the links and URLs to these two sites at the bottom of this article. There exists a little web site that polls data from eBay throughout the day. Now what makes this different you may ask? Well firstly it only focuses on well know in demand electronic gadgets. On the left panel you will find categories for things like Wide screen Notebooks, Digital Cameras, Simple Surround Sound, XBOX 360, Apple iPOod Tunes Video, HDTV, ESPN Phone, etc. etc.
There is one more aspect that makes this site useful. That is it holds information that is often more difficult for the buyer to obtain. With this information in hand buyers can often make more informed and better decisions and therefore avoid bidding wars and outsmart other bidders to a high degree.
Most information on eBay focuses on the selling element, i.e. how to sell your clubs. I have tended to specialize on the buying end and trying to identify market opportunities and price in-efficiencies to really capture excellent deals. To do this we need to understand the dynamics of the eBay market place. Like any other market it is supply demand driven, and like a large flee-market if a buyer has knowledge of how many items are for sale at what prices and how many other buyers are in the market, then that buyer can capture the upper hand. Lets focus a little more on supply.
The eBay supply dynamic is a little different in that supply of an item must be seen at a point in time. In other words, because auctions end at different times, one needs to grasp the number of auctions ending in close proximity for the same item. This gives you a feel for the supply of items or in our case cameras. What makes this interesting is that today there could be a large amount of auctions ending for a particular model, but next week there could be very few. This is one element driving the price.
The demand side is slightly more complex and hidden from the average eBay buyer. This is where that the web site I refer to at below has some useful data. Demand in eBay terms is measured (by sellers) as a number of factors – how many people view my auction, how many people ask questions, how many people place me on their watch page, and how many people actually bid. Obviously as we progress down this list the data become more reliable as an indication of demand. Page views are not easy to obtain, although some sellers place a publicly viewable counter on their auction pages. Questions and watchers are available to sellers, and the special web site mentioned below will expose this information. Number of bids is available for all to see.
Now if we happened to produce a graph as the auction progresses of the changes in the number of questions, watchers and bids one can easily see how the demand is changing as time progresses. Typically if questions are high and watchers are high, but bids are low, this may indicate some confusion (for example a spelling mistake in a model number) and a possible buy opportunity. If watchers are very high and climbing, but bids are low, this can point to a last minute bidding war, and a stay out indicator.
Armed with this information and also a quick summary of other similar auctions ending soon, plus a quick feel for the skill set of the seller and the current highest bidder, one can see a picture very different from the average eBay buyer. Soon the trained eye will observe some nice buying opportunities.
Electronics gadget nut cases like me, relish the opportunity to get a one up on our fellow buyers. Look carefully at the data presented, after a little practice opportunities will leap out at you. The premise is simple, a buyer with more market information will always pay lower prices than the rest of the market. In stock market terms it caller insider trading, and its illegal. In our case its quite above board and simply assists you in better understanding the supply demand curve for that yummy flat panel TV you had you eye on last Christmas.