The best days to end your eBay listing has been a topic of debate since the early days of the online portal. The theory is, certain days of week or hours of day tend to perform better for the seller. And there have been all kinds of rumors spread, which we'll try to address here.
We invested time to research this in depth, and came up with some surprising results. The quick answer is just that Sunday is best. But really, it depends on what you're trying to accomplish.
Please check below a chart of actual eBay sales summed up across all categories. We also include the average item sales price. Only sold listings are considered here. We'll refer to this chart in the rest of the editorial below.
Actual eBay sales statistics, including average item sales price
I have to admit, I'm extremely proud of the results, and I have never seen a chart like this covering every hour of every weekday. The data-source was 2 months worth of eBay auction sales from top sellers. The most prominent feature here is, Sunday has most sales, and therefore gives you the highest probability that your item will sell. But there's a twist, other days and hours tend to have higher average sales prices, so read on!
Every item can sell on different days
iPhone sales statistics, Sunday has most sales, Wednesday tends to fetch the highest price
And this brings us to a simple conclusion that the best day is really up to you. Do you want to maximize your chance of selling, or maximize your price, or a combination of both? Every day has something about it that's both good and bad for you as a seller.
The lesson here is, you should really recheck every item before selling it. From what I've seen, some items could perform better on any day, and Sunday is really nothing more than just a rule of thumb.
From the example above, I actually like Wednesday the most, because it provides over 10% more in the final sales price than Sunday. In fact, Sunday here has the lowest price, which is good for buyers, not good for sellers!
Best hours of day
By far, 6pm PST (Pacific time) or 9PM EST (Eastern time) is the best hour to end your listing on any given day. This hour seems special somehow. It's like the whole country has finished dinner, and comes online to shop all at once. One thing I see here is, with the exception for Sunday, all days tend to have a slight drop in average sales price at this hour. This tells me that any sales boost normally comes at the expense of the final sales price.
Monday 8pm PST, and Tuesday 2am PST are two hours that have a low sales volume, but a crazy jump in final sales price. The same thing repeats on Wed and Thursday. This doesn't seem like a coincidence to me. Although I'm not sure for the reason, I'd be glad to hear any theories from readers in the comments below.
Strategies to maximize our profits
I propose 2 different strategies based on the kind of item we're selling. Besides item research we should always be doing, let's consider 2 types: a common item vs. a one of a kind item. If you're selling a one of a kind item (like a rare painting, or a product you make with your own hands), then please be advised to just sell on Sunday at 6:30pm PST.
But if you're selling a product like a smartphone, where you have lots of other competing sellers, you actually might do better by selling on another day! For example, from the above charts, if I were selling an iPhone, I'd go with Wednesday 8pm PST.
It also depends on what kind of seller you are. I'm a small-time seller, so I can generally afford to wait and experiment with my listings to get that extra few percent of income. A seller who's in this as a business might not have the same time luxury, and may be better advised to use the hours with most sales.
Other anomalies to notice
After 6pm PST, the number of sales tends to drop, and price tends to rise sharply. Just check the chart again, and you'll notice that 7-9pm PST usually has an 11% upward spike in average price.
11pm PST to 3am PST are normally dead hours. The sales here are so small. BUT, these hours tend to have a huge move up in price - as much as 15% on Monday nights. I think one explanation for this might be that whoever is shopping at this time might want to finalize the purchase now instead of waiting. The buyers know they missed the good sales already, and the next ones will come only next evening. Some of them look like they're willing to close an auction now instead of waiting an extra day.
Saturday is worse than Monday. One thing I notice is, Saturday looks like any other day of the week for eBay. Why is that? Isn't Saturday normally a day off for people, just like Sunday? Maybe I'm a bit too scientific here, but I just don't have a good logical reason for this anomaly.
Lunch hour seems to make no difference on any day. I've read in older posts online that lunch hour was a good time to sell, but according from the data collected here, lunch is not even a blip on any data at all. My feeling is, people don't use lunch hour to shop on eBay anymore. And with Smartphones these days, you can really shop at any time without impacting work.
I think these are extremely useful insights, which could help all kinds of eBay sellers out there. Be on the lookout for these kinds of small inefficiencies, and use them to your advantage.
eBay listing scheduler tool
The good folks at eBay give you the option to list your item for sale on a certain day and time. This option used to cost money, but now it's a free feature. Please check below a screenshot of it, and the basic options you can choose. You have the option to schedule your listing for both auctions and fixed-price listings. If a few days difference really don't matter to you, then you should really pick the best day and hour here.
One thing to note here is, eBay always uses PST (Pacific Standard Time). This is great for California residents, but if you're working out of New York, please subtract 3 hours in your selection from your local time. For example, like the selected time below, it's 6:30pm PST, and 9:30pm EST.
eBay listing "schedule to start on" options
Automated bidding tools
The eBay marketplace is really different now from what it was 20 years ago. With the introduction of automated eBay bidding tools, the game is changing all the time. If certain sellers find a way to sell at a higher price, other sellers come in to fill the empty voids left behind. For example, few sellers would recommend to sell your item at midnight on Tuesday, unless you knew this hour has a major move up in price because all the other auctions are already closed.
And buyers try to gain an edge too, by using auto-bidding robots. To me it all looks like an ever changing environment, where if you look closely, you can always find a market inefficiency to fill. This also means that you have to always stay on top of your game, and research will help you do that.
I hope the charts and insights provided here are helpful for all the eBay sellers (and buyers!) out there. If you notice some other things in the charts that I missed, please be sure to comment below.
Please be sure yo check out our eBay research tools subscription plans, where you can get lots of eBay sales data to help you get an edge ahead of your competition. We also maintain a list of top selling items, which are already proven to be in high demand by eBay buyers. You can use such a list to find products to sell online.
Selling on the optimal day and hour will tend to get you one of two things, either a 10-15% boost in sales price, or 10-15% in chance of selling your item. From what I can see, you can't get both. But again, if you have some experience to share, please do so and you're also welcome to correct my errors if you see any.