What are the hottest selling categories on Trade Me?

Trade Me is a glorious bazaar stuffed full each week with more than 1.3 million items, any one of which would surely look absolutely fabulous on your mantelpiece, in your garage or draped over your shoulders.

And yet, despite the inherent appeal of the items listed on sale, they don’t always sell — at least not right away. In fact, on average only one in four auctions on Trade Me ends in a sale.

Has that ratio changed, especially in these recessionary times?

Not much. If we examine the figures for the most recent month available, June 2009, we find that 23% of auctions closed successfully. In comparison, 22% of auctions in June 2008 were similarly successful; while 24% of June 2007′s auctions resulted in a sale.

Of course, some product categories are more popular than others. If we rank Trade Me’s various sections in terms of popularity, here’s what we find:

  • 41% of items listed in Mobile phones sold successfully in June 2009 (was 38% in June 2008)
  • 37% Baby gear (was 33%)
  • 29% Home & living (27%)
  • 27% Electronics & photography (23%)
  • 26% Toys & models (26%)
  • 25% Sports (25%)
  • 25% Building & renovation (24%)
  • 23% Gaming (23%)
  • 23% Health & beauty (21%)
  • 22% Computers (19%)
  • 20% Antiques & collectables (20%)
  • 20% DVDs & movies (18%)
  • 20% Music & instruments (21%)
  • 19% Clothing (18%)
  • 19% Jewellery & watches (17%)
  • 18% Crafts (18%)
  • 18% Pottery & glass (17%)
  • 17% Art (15%)
  • 17% Books (17%)
  • 17% Business, farming & industry (24%)

If we drill down even deeper, to Trade Me’s sub-categories, we find much more dramatic results. These were the Top Ten best-selling product types on Trade Me for June 2009:

  1. 66% Baby Walkers (59% in June 2008)
  2. 66% Telecom mobile phones (64%)
  3. 65% iPods (not listed separately in June 2008) 
  4. 61% Concert tickets (57%)
  5. 59% Baby Monitors (not listed separately last year)
  6. 55% Laundry items (47%)
  7. 54% Sports event tickets (58%)
  8. 52% Heating & cooling (40%)
  9. 50% Baby Bouncers & jolly jumpers (44%)
  10. 45% Tattoos (not listed separately last year)

And those categories that improved most (in terms of sell-through rate) between June 2008 and June 2009?

  • Up 65% GPS devices (were 23%, now 38%)
  • Up 61% Trampolines (were 18%, now 29%)
  • Up 60% Pottery & ceramics (were 10%, now 16%) 
  • Up 58% Baby Car seats (were 19%, now 30%)
  • Up 55% Domain names (were 11%, now 17%)

And those that fell furthest?

  • Down 40% Crafts: Transfers (were 20%, now 12%)
  • Down 40% Music DVDs (were 15%, now 9%)
  • Down 50% Flags (were 26%, now 13%)
  • Down 50% Businesses for sale (were 8%, now 4%)

And the very worst performer of all?

Carbon credits. This time last year, they enjoyed a sell-through rate of 71%. In June 2009 there were NO sales. Clearly an idea whose time has come – and gone.

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5 thoughts on “What are the hottest selling categories on Trade Me?

  1. Laraine

    Like Anne Freeman, I feel these statistics are hopelessly outdated. What’s the matter with TradeMe that they can’t be bothered to update them?

  2. Michael Carney

    As I noted in my reply to Anne Freeman, I have not updated these statistics for some time; but you can see statistics for the latest month on Trade Me itself, at http://www.trademe.co.nz/Community/SellThroughRates.aspx

    This blog is independent of Trade Me, so what I choose to write about here is my decision.

    Why haven’t I updated the statistics here? Other commitments, frankly. I’ve been writing about Trade Me for most of the last seven years, since the first edition of my TRADE ME SUCCESS SECRETS book was published in late 2005; now the second edition is officially out of print (I have three boxes left, and that’s all), and there are currently no plans for a third edition.

    So, since I work for myself, I need to focus my efforts on projects that generate income — my social media training courses (at http://socialmedia.org.nz) and my new eCommerce course (http://eCommerce.org.nz). That, along with my other commitments, doesn’t leave much time for writing about Trade Me anymore, I’m afraid.

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