It’s already Christmas on Trade Me, with thousands of items listed for the festive season (21,532 as we write this). In this article we’ll attempt to show you how to use Trade Me to make this Christmas wonderful, whether you’re on a budget or just shopping for that very special someone.
Oh yes — and we also have a hot offer [free!] for Trade Me sellers, so keep reading.
So — When Should You Start Shopping For Christmas?
If you have to ask, you’re probably a guy. Three-quarters of those who leave shopping until the last minute are men. Incredibly busy, right fellas? Yeah, us too.
It won’t come as any surprise to mall visitors that retailers have been in Christmas shopping mode for some time. The ubiquitous Cameron Brewer, chief executive of the Newmarket Business Association, warned in late September that “for better or worse consumers can expect to see Christmas decorations and displays popping up in some New Zealand shops over the next few weeks.” Sure enough, tinsel is definitely in the air all over.
Kiwis usually do their shopping somewhat ahead of the Christmas rush anyway. A 2007 study by AMP Capital Shopping Centres found that:
- 25% of Kiwis have begun their Christmas shopping by September 25, three months out from Christmas
- 16% start shopping in October
- 21% hit the malls in November
- 33% wait until the last fortnight before Christmas
- 7% of us (you know who you are, guys) leave Christmas shopping until the last minute
- Meanwhile an impossibly virtuous 3% head to the Boxing Day sales with vim and vigour, buying their gifts for the following year 364 days early.
How Much Should You Spend?
When it comes to holiday spending this year, 36 percent of American consumers expect to spend between $100 and $499, 28 percent plan to spend $500 to $999, and 30 percent anticipate a holiday spend of $1,000 or more.
Fifty-three percent of U.S. consumers are planning to spend less than they did last year. Of those who are planning to spend less this year, 48 percent reveal that one of the reasons that they are spending less is due to an increase in prices (necessities, petrol, etc.), 45 percent cite lack of confidence in the economy, and 38 percent indicate making less money as a reason for spending less.
We don’t have any recent NZ data for Christmas spend levels, but a five-year-old study by UMR Research on behalf of Visa International found that:
- More than 50% of Kiwis expected to spend less than $300 on Christmas gifts
- 16% intended to spend less than $100
- One in twenty said they were planning to “splash out” and spend more than $1000
- Credit card holders were more likely to expect to spend over $500 than non-cardholders (22 percent compared with 12 percent)
- Men generally planned to spend slightly more than women
- The most free-spending age group was 30-44 year-olds
Those numbers will probably be about the same or even lower this Christmas, given the economy — which makes Trade Me a pretty smart place to buy as much of your stuff as you can.
More than 50% of the items up for sale on Trade Me last Christmas were brand-new. We expect that percentage to keep growing this Christmas, so don’t worry that you can only buy something secondhand for your nearest and dearest. Of course, if you’re shopping for collectables or antiques, “new” probably isn’t such a good thing …
TIP: When you search on Trade Me, you can select your options so that only “New” items are displayed. Click on “New” in the yellow bar partway down the page that controls your List options.
CHRISTMAS SHOPPING ON TRADE ME
PART A: IF YOU ALREADY KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT TO BUY
Sometimes we know exactly what sort of gift we want to buy. Gives us a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. So buying that gift is more a matter of knowing exactly where to find it and how much to pay.
Start your quest by searching for the item (let’s be incredibly creative and describe it as a ‘widget’) on Trade Me. Make a note of who’s selling widgets and at what price they’ve listed each widget.
Browse in the widget category for misspellings, products without pictures and other items that won’t show up in searches (for more details, read our earlier article on how to find bargains on Trade Me).
Check out the feedback of the widget sellers. Look for any recent negatives. Cross out any sellers with poor reputations, highlight those with better than sterling customer service. Add the good ones to your “favourite sellers” list to be emailed details of their new listings.
- History Check
Go to the Trade Me Search Box and click on “More Options”. Use the advanced search facility (with “Expired Items” selected) to see at what prices those widgets previously sold (or didn’t sell). That will give you an idea of the actual value of the widget in the Trade Me marketplace. (NB If your widget is rare or obscure, there may be no recent auction listings).
- Real World
Don’t forget the non-virtual world. Check out widget pricing in actual stores or in printed catalogues. And see what the Recommended Retail Pricing is, perhaps by phoning up widget stockists.
- Comparison Shopping
More than ever, comparison shopping is on the forefront of consumers’ minds, with 70 percent of consumers internationally doing more research and comparison shopping online, compared with 38 percent last year. And fifty percent of consumers are planning to shop at discount or outlet stores this year, while only 43 percent did so last year.
Product comparison websites are commonplace overseas, rather less so here in NZ. However there are a few:
Technology Ubersite www.pricespy.co.nz
This is the site to visit for technology products. Has just launched a website makeover, still a bit buggy, but their database is the most comprehensive around.
General product comparison sites
Both these sites offer a limited range of product comparisons, but could be worth a look.
7. The Daily Deal Sites
Air New Zealand’s Grabaseat was the first to hit the headlines in NZ. Now the category has taken off in a big way. The listings are random, but when widgets do come up you’ll get further insight into pricing to help with your homework. Here’s the latest collection of One Day Sale Websites (tip of the hat to Sheldon Nesdale of Marketing First blog for doing the heavy lifting):
And, of course, the newly launched Yahoo!Xtra shopping site (with its own daily deal listings):
Other new 1 Day Sale websites launching soon:
NB: For the past year global auction giant eBay has been offering daily deals at Deals.ebay.com. It’s an unlikely development for Trade Me — eBay ends up competing with its own customer base.
8. Get ready to buy
Having down all your homework, you’ll now know what sort of price to pay for your widget. Identify target auctions, hurry up and wait.
9. Hold your breath – and your bid
As you move into Bidding Mode, may we respectfully point you in the direction of Chapter Six of Trade Me Success Secrets. It reveals the most important secret of buying successfully on Trade Me, and deals with the topic in far more detail than we can address effectively here.
CHRISTMAS SHOPPING ON TRADE ME
B. IF YOU HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHAT TO BUY
Who are you buying for? Christmas gifts can go horribly wrong if you don’t take into account the recipients’ Personality Types.
We’ve found this really cool personality profiler at www.gifts.com that brings demographics alive. You really must go to the site to check it out, but here’s a sneak peek
- Buying for a SENIOR WOMAN? Is she a Country Clubber, Domestic Diva, Thinker, Super Grandma or Active Retiree?
Delicious character details at the site, but here’s a sample definition:
The Super Grandma
- Weekend Plans: Three generations around the table for Sunday dinner.
- Second Career: Spoiling the grandkids.
- Favorite Accessory: Freshly baked chocolate chip cookies and milk.
- Guilty Pleasure: What’s there to feel guilty about — have another cookie!
- Bumper Sticker: If Mom and Dad say no, ask Grandma.
- Famous Examples: Marie from Everybody Loves Raymond.
- The Country Clubber
- The Thinker
- The Devoted Grandad
- The Active Retiree
- The Veteran
- The Guy’s Guy
- The Geek
- The Devoted Dad
- The Achiever
- The Adventurer
- The Super Mom
- The Achiever
- The Hipster
- The Domestic Diva
- The Trendanista
- The All-Star Athlete
- The Creative
- The X-Treme Dude
- The Student Leader
- The Tech Head
- The Class Clown
- The Activist
- The All-Star Athlete
- The Creative Spirit
- The X-Treme Dudette
- The Student Leader
- The Trendanista
- The Smarty Pants
- The Jock
- Mr Imagination
- The Smart Cookie
- Miss Imagination
- The Girly Girl
- The Tomboy
Not sure what personality type your recipient might be? Take the test at http://www.gifts.com/finder
What types of gifts would your family/friends/significant others like to receive this holiday season? This is what American consumers told researchers last month:
- 72% of 18-24 year olds wanted Clothing or Accessories, as did 58% of 25-34s
- 40% of men (just 26% of women) wanted consumer electronics or compter-related accessories
- 55% of 25-34s wanted books, CDs, DVDs, videos or video games
- 26% of men wanted sporting goods or leisure items
- 26% of women wanted home decor or home-related furnishings
- 56% of 35-44s wanted gift cards or gift certificates, as did 53% of 45-54s and 49% of those 65 plus
- And 26% of women but just 7% of men wanted personal care or beauty items
This data from BIGresearch’s Consumer Intention & Actions study (October 2009)
Want more specific advice? Google “most wanted gifts 2009″ and you’ll find a variety of lists of the Most Wanted, for men, women, kids, teens, you name it.
4. Use the Trade Me Christmas Gift Finder
If you’re still at a loss, check out the new and very helpful Trade Me Christmas Gift Finder.
There you’ll find
[Not sure about that last one, especially in tough times!]
5. Go Back To Part A
Once you know exactly what you want, go through the processes described in Part A above.
And another thing
Oh yeah, one last thing. If after going through this process you still can’t find what you want on Trade Me, you could always check out the Neiman Marcus Christmas Catalog. Highlights of the 2009 edition:
- His & Hers Gift Package, $250,000: An ICON A5 sport aircraft with custom trailer and sport pilot license training for two. The ICON A5 is from a world-class team of engineers and designers who helped create the groundbreaking Virgin Global Flyer, and features an amphibious hull and landing gear to take off and land just as easily on water as on land.
- Algonquin Round Table Experience, $200,000: Exclusive dinner party at NYC’s legendary Algonquin Hotel with guests including Christopher Buckley, Roz Chast, Nora Ephron, Malcolm Gladwell, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Adam Gopnik, John Lithgow, Anna Deavere Smith and George Stephanopoulos. Proceeds to benefit First Book, the 2009 Christmas Book Charity.
- 2010 Jaguar XJL Supercharged Neiman Marcus Edition, $105,000: Limited to only 50 examples, the bespoke version of Jag’s new flagship features a supercharged 5-liter V8 that delivering 470 hp, a custom interior of butter-soft navy and ivory leather and Zebrano matte wood accents, and includes a five-piece set of matching Jaguar luggage in navy blue leather.
- Maker’s Mark Master Distiller Experience, $7,500: All-access, VIP experience with Maker’s Mark Master Distiller, Kevin Smith. Spend a day making whiskey, step by step and take home two bottles of the rarest Maker’s Mark – golden bottles etched with your likeness and dipped in gold wax with 24-kt gold flecks. Includes luxury accommodations in Louisville and a gourmet dinner hosted by Bill Samuels, the 7th generation of Maker’s Mark
- HALL Artisan Wine and Art Experience, $20,000: Learn organic, artisan winemaking firsthand, tour the estates in Napa and the art collection, and have the opportunity to create your own personal vintage in a private blending session with HALL’s Winemaker with a custom vintage bottled for you. Includes accommodations at Auberge and a private dinner party with Ambassador Kathryn Hall.
PS We almost forgot — that invitation for Trade Me sellers. If you have suitable Christmas gift items for sale, pimp our traffic. Comment on this blog post, use your seller name as your ID and tell us WHAT product categories you have for sale and TO WHOM they would best appeal. Be specific if you want to be helpful. Items as listed on Trade Me only, please — we do moderate.
PPS Note to buyers: if you’re looking for Christmas inspiration, make sure you read the Comments (and perhaps even come back more than once to do so). Entrepreneurial sellers will be strutting their stuff for your consideration.