In case you've been under a rock, Apple launched their much-hyped iPhone over the weekend. Across the nation local news stations reported on the long lines forming at Apple and AT&T stores up to 12 hours before doors opened. Some just wanted the new toy, others were hoping to take advantage of demand and resell the gadgets on eBay at a hefty profit.
Imagine the surprise of those thriving entrepreneurs when the hordes of people flocking to eBay to pick up an iPhone failed to materialize.
I was curious at how well iPhone sales were doing on eBay after having heard several news stories about people who waited in line all day just to sell an iPhone or two on eBay. After browsing a couple pages on eBay the informal results were about what I expected - many of the overpriced iPhones were not selling. Of course, 1-2 pages of eBay listings represents nothing in the grand scheme of things, maybe 10-20 minutes depending on the frequency of the listings. I needed more data.
So, pleased to present my analysis of eBay iPhone auctions following Apple's hottest new product launch.
Data was compiled on all completed auction listings for the iPhone at eBay from 12:49am EST -- 09:26am EST on Sunday (July 1st). The analysis included 993 auctions and lasted for 8 hours and 37 minutes... just over a third of a day. 'Buy It Now' items were included, and data was compiled for both the 4GB and 8GB versions of the iPhone. Given that all of the devices were purchased from retail stores, an average 7% sales tax was also factored in.
Immediately, some trends were obvious - the most obvious of them being that users were largely selling just the 8GB model, with only 13% of listings being devoted to the 4GB model.
The other obvious (and more substantial trend) was that many of the iPhone auctions weren't selling, slightly over half came and went without a single bidder (52% to be exact).
Among those auctions that did close successfully, few were having the large markup that many expected to see the iPhone go for from third-party sellers... and a significant amount were only making their money back, even closing at a loss. In fact, the average profit on the iPhone (including the ones that didn't sell at all) during the analysis was $54.43; the median profit was even lower at $34.16.
So wait a minute, what's going on here... wasn't the iPhone supposed to be the most anticipated product since the Nintendo Wii?
Of course this isn't to say that iPhone sales aren't going well - far from it. Carl Howe is estimating that sales of the iPhone could have been as high as 30,000 an hour during the peak of the launch.
Those that are still looking to get their iPhone need no longer turn to eBay or a line at the store: Apple just added the gadget to their online store... and with free shipping to boot.
...and just to prove I'm not shitting you on the massive data compilation, here it is in a 620k HTML file along with every corresponding auction number, should you feel like verifying 1,000 eBay listings.