best time to end an eBay auction

Best Time to End an eBay Auction - Maximize Your Profit

June 27, 2023

Knowing how to time your eBay auction listings can go a long way towards making or breaking a sale. An auction's start time, end time, and duration has an effect on buyers' bidding behaviors, which is why it's so important to time your auctions in a way that maximizes buyer engagement. This guide will give you a general overview of eBay auctions, go over the best time to end an eBay auction, give you some expert tips for how to time your eBay auction, and address a few frequently asked questions about timing and ending an eBay auction. Keep reading to find out how to time your eBay auctions for maximum profits.

best time to end eBay auction

Overview of eBay Auctions

Before we discuss what the best time to end an eBay auction is, we'll take a moment to examine what an eBay auction actually is, and what makes it different from other types of eBay listings. A solid understanding of auction style listings on eBay will help you better understand why the time you choose to end them has such a profound effect on your bottom line, and help you better apply the tips for timing your eBay auctions to your specific listings.  

What is an eBay Auction?

Back when eBay started out, all sales on the platform were done through auctions. That is, an item was listed on eBay, and buyers placed bids on it for the duration of the listing's run time. The buyer with the highest bid would win the item, and the seller would have to pack and ship it out to them. For the most part, that's how auctions on eBay work today, too, with a few minor changes.

Today, sellers can include a Buy It Now price in their auction listings, set a reserve price to ensure that they don't end up selling their item at too low a price, and even purchase a variety of listing enhancements to make their auction-style listings stand out.

How to Set Up an eBay Auction

When you set up an auction style listing for an item on eBay, you'll have to define the duration of the auction's run time. You can choose a duration of one day, 3 days, 5 days, one week, or 10 days. Next, you'll need to decide whether you want to automatically relist the item if it doesn't sell. For auctions with a duration of 5 or more days, you'll be able to automatically relist up to 8 times at the original auction's duration, and those with a duration of 3 days or less can be automatically relisted up to 8 times as 7-day auctions. eBay does not charge an extra fee for these automatic relists, with the exception of listings in the vehicles categories. Finally, you'll need to decide whether you want to add a reserve price and a Buy It Now price (which must be at least 30% greater than your starting bid) to your auction, or any other one of eBay's auction upgrades.

Types of eBay Auctions

eBay has three types of auctions on the site, with varying suitability for certain types of products. These are:

Standard Auctions

The auctions described above is a standard eBay auction – set for a given period of 1,3,5,7 or 10 days, with a predetermined starting bid and an optional reserve price.

Private Auctions

Private listings can be either in auction or fixed-price format, and enable a seller to make the bidder and buyer information on a listing private. This means that only the winning bidder and the seller will know who the winning buyer is. Private listings are most often used for listings and auctions selling high-priced items or medical/pharmaceutical products.

Make An Offer

While not strictly a type of auction, the "Make An Offer" button can be added to fixed-price eBay listings to give them more of an auction-style appeal. They give buyers a formal avenue for making an offer on the listed item, and for the seller to accept the offer, reject it, or make a counteroffer.  

what's the best time to end an eBay auction

What is the Best Time to End an eBay Auction

No matter what anyone tells you – the oft-cited best end time for an eBay auction is a blanket 6PM to 10PM EST – the best time to end an eBay auction is not an exact science, and it will vary heavily depend on what you sell and who your target audience is. This section will go over all the factors you need to consider when deciding on an end time for your eBay auction, go over popular end times for eBay auctions, and outline the benefits of choosing the best time to end an eBay auction.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an End Time

There are three main factors to consider when deciding on the best time to end your eBay auction: your target market, the type of item you're selling through the given auction, and the time zone(s) in which your target audience is located.

Your target market will be the people you expect to sell your item to. If you're selling children's clothing, your target market includes parents, grandparents, and possibly aunts/uncles of young children. Of these, mothers of children are more likely to be making the bulk of children's clothing purchases, so you'll want to base your decision on when to end an eBay auction on their shopping habits. You want to time the auction to reach its final hours during the time of day this market is most active. In our example, stay at home moms are more likely to have free time to make purchases on eBay during the late morning/early afternoon hours, so we'll ensure the end time of our eBay auction coincides with these busy shopping hours.

The type of item sold will have a direct influence on your target market and on your potential buyers' shopping behavior. If you were selling gaming accessories, you can expect your target audience to behave differently – and spend different hours shopping – than if you were to sell children's clothing.

Finally, you'll want to take into account the time zone of the biggest chunk of your target market, and adjust to fit their most active shopping hours accordingly. If you notice most of your buyers are from the West Coast, for instance, you'll want to adjust your eBay listing end time to your most active buyers in Pacific Standard Time, even if you're located in a different time zone.  

Popular Times to End an eBay Auction

As mentioned above, the most popular times for sellers to end their eBay auctions is between 6PM to 10PM EST. The reason that this is such a popular time is that it covers your end-of-workday shopping spike from coast to coast, and takes advantage of the time of day when buyers are most active. That said, there are two questions you'll want to ask yourself before setting this as the end time for all your eBay auctions: (1) is this time frame relevant for the product I'm selling, and (2) is my listing/product unique enough to stand out from the sea of ending auctions I'll be competing against? If you answered no to either one of these, make the necessary adjustments to determine the best time to end your eBay auction.

Benefits of Ending Your Auction at the Right Time

The benefits of ending your eBay auction at the right time are manifold. First, you'll be visible to more potential buyers, and in turn could get more bids on your auction. Secondly, added exposure for your auction also means added exposure for your entire eBay store, which could lead to more sales for you in the long run. Finally, a well-timed auction can move stock faster than fixed-price listings or auctions that fail to gain traction due to bad timing, resulting in more sales and more revenue for you.

tips for best time to end an eBay auction

Tips for Timing Your eBay Auction

This section will discuss some helpful tips to help you figure out the best time to end your eBay auctions. These tips will help you create a few rules of thumb that are more tailored to your particular selling needs, as well as to the needs of your target market and potential buyers.

Identify Your Target Market

The importance of accurately identifying and clearly defining your target market cannot be overstated, and it's important for more than just choosing the best end time for an eBay listing. A well-defined target market can help you decide the best end time for your eBay listing based on their most active times on eBay, as well as enable you to more effectively promote your eBay listings for a greater increase in sales and revenue overall.

Research Popular Times

Once you've identified your target market, you'll want to do your research on your market's typical behavior and identify their favorite times to shop and bid on eBay. The commonly cited time frame is between 6PM to 10PM EST, but that's not taking into account your individual target market and their particular shopping habits, it's simply a popular shopping time across eBay for all items, listing types, and product categories.

Choose a Strategically Timed Start Date

Since your eBay auctions run for a predetermined duration, your auction's start time will have a direct effect on its end time. This means that you'll have to take two factors into account – when you want your auction to end and how long it will run for – in order to work out when the best date and time is to launch your auction. Plus, instead of doing this manually, you can easily schedule your auctions to launch at a predetermined start date and time with 3Dsellers' handy eBay listing scheduler.

Use a Reserve Price

Keep buyer interest without losing out on revenue by setting a reserve price on your higher-priced auction listings. A reserve price is a minimum price you define for an item you've listed in an auction-style listing on eBay, and it's visible only to you. On the buyer and bidder end, the only information visible will be a notification of "Reserve Price Not Met" on auctions where the highest bid has not met the reserve price. Setting a reserve price ensures that buyers get a good deal, and that you don't sell something for a fraction of its value.  

Offer a Buy It Now Option

Fixed price listings are a great way to have more control over the price of your item, but they oftentimes come with the risk of alienating buyers that are looking for a bargain right off the bat. Many buyers on eBay will choose to filter out auction-style listings altogether when looking for their next purchase, leading you to miss out on potential sales. The solution? Add a "Buy It Now" option to your auction-style listings to get the best of both worlds – the buyers that want to check out right away, and those looking for the thrill of bidding for a chance to win their next purchase. Note that the Buy It Now option disappears from your listing once a bid has been placed, ensuring that your bidders don't get the raw end of the deal either.

Set Time Limits

Auctions on eBay run for predetermined time frames of 1, 3, 5, 7, or 10 days, and putting a bit of thought into what that means for your eBay auction's end time can go a long way towards attracting more buyers and getting more bids. If, for instance, you are considering launching an auction on a Tuesday, it may be better to run the auction for 5 days rather than 7 days, since your auction will end over the weekend when people are more likely to have free time to bid on eBay.

Avoid Ending Your eBay Auction Early

While it's possible for sellers to end their eBay auctions early in some cases, eBay generally looks down on listings and auctions that are taken down before their predetermined run time/before the item has been sold. It may be tempting to end an eBay auction if you feel like it's not getting the bids you hoped for. But that's exactly why it's so important to define a reasonable starting bid and/or a reserve price when setting up your auction, or utilize the Buy It Now upgrade to enable buyers to snap up your item at a price you're happy with.

best time to end ebay auction

Final Thoughts

The best time to end an eBay auction will depend heavily on what you're selling, who your target market is, and what your selling goals are. If you choose to end your eBay auction at a popular end time, you'll be competing against a larger volume of sellers; if you choose a less popular time, you risk losing potential listing views and bids on your auction. There are many things to consider when deciding on the best time to end an eBay listing, and many sellers will benefit from some trial and error with their auctions to find what works best for them. Remember that the end time of an eBay auction is just one of many factors that affect whether or not you'll make the sale and at what price. Utilizing eBay Ads to promote your listings and choosing the right things to sell will have a much bigger impact on your bottom line and on the overall success of your eBay store.

FAQs About Ending an eBay Auction

In this section, we'll go over a few of the most commonly asked questions about the best time to end an eBay auction. Go over these and see if they answer any questions you may still have about ending an eBay auction!

Q: What is the best time to end an eBay auction?

As a general rule, the best time to end an eBay auction is between 6PM and 10PM EST. This is because this range coincides with the after-work hours for the majority of shoppers in the US, meaning they're more likely to log into their eBay account and make a purchase.

Q: How do I determine the best time to end an eBay auction?

When determining the best time to end an eBay auction, you'll need to consider three things: what you're selling, who you're selling to, and in what time zone your potential customers are located. Knowing what your selling will help you determine your target market, which will in turn enable you to do the necessary research on their buying habits, including their most active buying hours in their relevant time zones. Using this information, you'll be able to determine the best time to end your eBay auction so that it coincides with the ideal buying hours of your target market.  

Q: What factors should I consider when choosing the end time for my eBay auction?

There are three factors to consider when choosing an end time for your eBay auction:

  • The item you're selling: Considering what you're selling will help you determine who your target market is.
  • Who your target market is: Figuring out and clearly defining your target market will help you choose the best time to end your eBay listing.
  • Where your target market is: Understanding where the majority of the active buyers in your target market are located enables you to tailor your auction's optimal end time to their time zone.  

Q: What are the benefits of ending an eBay auction at the right time?

There are multiple benefits to ending your eBay auction at the right time, including increased visibility to potential buyers and bidders, added exposure of both your auction and your eBay store, and an increased likelihood of your auction gaining traction when compared to fixed-price listings.

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