Of all the major ecommerce marketplaces, eBay has always had a unique buying and selling culture. The marketplace's inherent differences are due in part to its founding as a means of quickly selling used goods in auction style listings, as well as its reimagination and resurgence as an ecommerce one-stop-shop for virtually anything that can be bought and sold online. But with so many products sold on the platform, spread across so many categories and offered in a variety of buying options, sellers oftentimes find themselves at a loss when it comes to deciding what exactly they should be selling on eBay.
In this article, we'll take a look at what sells best on eBay, examine eBay's most popular product categories, and understand what makes the best selling items on eBay as successful on the platform as they are. Keep reading to find out what items sell best on eBay to see if you can incorporate some them into your eBay shop, as well as get proven selling tips and strategies to help you get the most sales on these eBay buyer favorites.
An Overview of eBay and Its Most Popular Items
eBay is one of the oldest and most well-established ecommerce marketplaces, with a dedicated base of buyers and sellers who put their trust and money into the platform. The secret to eBay's success is its variety and versatility – sellers can sell practically anything that can be bought online, and can do it through several different purchasing models. This has shaped a distinct buying and selling culture, which has in turn created an entirely unique selection of popular products sold on the site. While customers may flock to Amazon for the latest home gadget and to Walmart for the cheapest way to restock their pantry, they'll sign into their eBay account to look for completely different things.
What Are the Most Popular Categories on eBay?
When looking at the most popular categories on eBay, it's important to understand that what sells best on eBay in 2023 can be very different than what the top selling categories and items were just a few years back. As a good rule of thumb, looking at the previous year's top eBay categories is a good way to gauge what the current year's favorites will be. Looking at 2022, a clear trend emerges – entertainment tech categories are consistently a hit with eBay buyers. Under the main Electronics category, we see that the Cell Phones, Smartwatches & Accessories, Computers, Tablets & Network Hardware, and Video Games & Consoles subcategories are clear favorites among eBay shoppers. Other popular eBay categories include Health & Beauty, Home & Garden, Fashion, and Art & Craft Supplies.
What Are the Most Popular Brands on eBay?
The best-selling brands on eBay all have two things in common: they're well known outside of eBay, and they are a brand that buyers feel confident purchasing. We'll start by taking a look at popular brands in the leading eBay product categories, which we've outlined above.
In the Cell Phones, Smartwatches & Accessories category, the leading brands include Apple, Sony, and Samsung. In the Accessories subcategory, Kate Spade and Anker are popular with buyers. In the Computers, Tablets & Network Hardware subcategory, Acer, HP, Lenovo, Dell, and Microsoft are leading brands, along with Apple and Alienware for more specialized buyer interests and needs. Finally, in the Video Games & Consoles subcategory, leading brands such as Nintendo, Xbox, and PlayStation are always a hit with buyers.
Health & Beauty
In this category, leading brands will vary significantly by subcategories. In the Fragrances for Women subcategory, for instance, Chanel and Victoria's Secret are always in high demand, while in the Fragrances for Men subcategory, Creed, Paco Rabanne, and Calvin Klein are the best sellers. In the Skincare subcategory, well-known brands such as Estée Lauder, Lancôme, Clinique, and L'Oréal are consistent buyer faves, while the Eye Makeup subcategory is led by Maybelline New York.
Home & Garden
Just like the Health & Beauty category, top selling brands in the Home & Garden category differ between subcategories. In the Furniture subcategory, Herman Miller, Linenspa, and Modway Furniture are ranked among the top brands, while Breville, All-Clad, and KitchenAid consistently rank as the Kitchen, Dining & Bar Supplies subcategory's favorites.
With so many fashion brands to choose from, buyers come to eBay to find deals on brands they already know they can trust. The leading brands include Calvin Klein, Free People, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren, Levi's, and Tommy Hilfiger. Notice that these are upper mid-range to high-end brands with an established reputation.
Art & Craft Supplies
This category is less brand-focused than the former categories, with only a select few leading brands. With the exception of the Sewing category, in which well-known sewing machine brands such as Singer and Brother make up the majority of the big-ticket items, the products sold in this category are oftentimes unbranded.
Top 15 Best Selling Items on eBay
Now that we've reviewed some of the top categories and brands on eBay, we'll zoom in and examine what makes a best-selling item on eBay for each of the marketplace's top categories. Before we dive in, however, we'll go over a few very general rules of thumb for the best types of items to sell on eBay.
First, you'll of course want an item that buyers would look to eBay for, rather than to another ecommerce or brick-and-mortar retailer. Secondly, the items you sell and the geographical location you service should make financial and logistical sense. You may have the most in-demand electric scooter on eBay, but shipping it outside of the contiguous US could turn a sale into a loss. Finally, whatever item you sell must be of high quality, so that you don't incur negative feedbacks and resolution cases that can harm your seller account and ultimately cost you money.
With these general yet important guidelines out of the way, we'll now go over eBay's 15 top item categories, and the best-selling items in each one.
As one of eBay's largest and most varied main product categories, it's difficult to choose a single best selling item for this category. Instead, we'll look at the most popular types of items sold in this category, and try to understand the reason they sell so well on eBay.
Starting at small, low-cost items, the clear winner in both number of listings and sales is cables. Charging cables for phones, HDMI cables, and everything in between, are always in demand with eBay shoppers for one main reason – they know that eBay has them covered if something goes south. The market for more premium cables is virtually nonexistent, yet the other end of the spectrum – cheap goods that may or may not arrive from marketplaces like AliExpress – is simply not attractive to the average buyer either.
For bigger ticket items, computers, cell phones, and smartwatches are always in demand, with Apple products leading the way in most of these categories.
The best selling items on eBay in this category are either unique or one-off items, such as secondhand designer pieces or unique vintage items, or items from trusted popular brands such as Levi's, Nike, Superdry, Gildan, and others. Men's clothing makes up the biggest chunk of clothing sold on eBay, with t-shirts coming in first as the top-selling clothing item on the platform.
In contrast to the clothing category, where the many buyers come looking for a good deal on things they could most likely buy elsewhere, when it comes to shoes, buyers will oftentimes come to eBay to find something they simply cannot get their hands on anywhere else. Collectible, rare, or limited-edition sneakers from popular brands such as Yeezy and Air Jordan can generate a lot of interest and demand. Combined with the right promotion strategies, these types of listings sell out fast.
This category spans many types of items – from trading cards to figurines, glassware to coins – with each subcategory constituting a world of its own. That said, some collectibles are more popular and more in-demand than others. On eBay, the best selling collector's items include sports trading cards, sports memorabilia, collectible game cards, Funko Pop figurines, and comic books/manga and associated memorabilia.
5. Beauty & Health
Yet another expansive category, Beauty and Health is a major product category on eBay with consistently high demand. We'll begin by looking at the beauty part of the category, and note that the best selling items in this category are makeup, skincare, fragrances, and hair styling devices such as hair dryers and curling irons. As mentioned earlier, you should stick to trusted brands such as L'Oréal, Lancôme, Dyson, and others. In the health department, the best selling items include vitamins, supplements, and even oral care products such as electric toothbrushes.
6. Home & Garden
This category is extremely popular with eBay shoppers, and encompasses a good deal of what sells best on eBay. For starters, eBay buyers are always on the hunt for a good deal on mid-size kitchen appliances such as mixers and coffee makers, as well as home décor items such as seasonal décor and wall art. Tools and workshop equipment also fall into this category, and are always in demand with hobbyists and pros alike. Finally, home improvement and cleaning supplies (think robot vacuums or clothes steamers) are top-selling high-value items that buyers are always on the hunt for.
7. Jewelry & Watches
Arguably the poster child of high-value items that are easy and cost-efficient to ship far and wide, jewelry and watches are always a hit with eBay shoppers. From fine jewelry to fashion jewelry, high-end wristwatches to vintage pocket watches and watch accessories, items in this category are consistently best sellers on eBay.
8. Toys & Hobbies
Toys and hobbies include everything from action figures to board games, video games and collectible card games. While these categories are not as big in terms of volume of listings as the other major categories, carving out your niche and making a name for your eBay store with in-demand items in these hobby communities is a great way to ensure you'll consistently have a steady stream of buyers.
9. Sports & Outdoor
From hunting supplies to sports memorabilia, bike parts to fishing gear, this category covers a wide range of specialized hobbies with a devoted following. Make a name for your eBay store by selling quality items in one of these specific niches, and you'll find yourself with a loyal customer base that comes to you any time they need something new for their favorite outdoor hobby.
10. Tools & Home Improvement
These two subcategories of the main Home & Garden category are worthy of a special mention, since they cover such a wide selection of the best selling items on eBay. So many of the items in this category can be sold both new and used, and they are always in demand. Whether it's secondhand power tools for the hobbyist woodworker, or home security equipment for the security-conscious homeowner, tools and home improvement are some of the best selling items on eBay.
11. Video Games & Consoles
As the most common hobby among the younger and more tech-savvy crowd, the growth of the video game market shows no signs of slowing down. Gaming is an entire subcategory of the main Electronics category, with consistently high demand for new items, used items, and collectible items alike. Whether you're selling gaming PC parts or factory sealed vintage console games, you're unlikely to experience a shortage of interested buyers any time soon.
eBay's automotive category, known as eBay Motors, is a specialized category for all things vehicles. Although listing in this category can be somewhat more complex, eBay motors is an active category with always in-demand items. While you can sell anything from cars to boats through this category, by far the best selling items in this eBay category are car parts. Listings for car parts with the widest range of vehicle compatibility (and whose vehicle compatibility lists are kept up to date, of course) are guaranteed a steady flow of sales.
From audio books to textbooks, the Books subcategory is a surprisingly active category on eBay with over 31 million active listings. Though considerably smaller than the majority of the other categories we've covered, the Books category encompasses everything from test prep books to vintage and collectible rare books. You can also sell digital downloads of books, provided you have the rights to sell them as such, and avoid logistics and handling costs altogether.
Another subcategory under the main Books, Movies & Music category, the Music category boasts everything from vintage vinyl to CDs and cassettes. Top selling artists in CDs include Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, and Kendrick Lamar, while classic artists on vinyl range from the Beatles to Elvis Presley, Prince to Pink Floyd. Also sold in this category are specialized audio media accessories such as vinyl record storage sleeves and adaptors.
15. Baby & Kids
Last but certainly not least, the Baby Essentials category consistently ranks at the top of what sells best on eBay. From baby formula to car seats, breast pumps to high tech baby monitors, this category boasts a variety of best-selling eBay items that are always in demand. No matter what you choose to sell, the Baby Essentials category and its subcategories are a great choice for generating a large volume of sales on eBay.
Tips for Selling Popular Items on eBay
Understanding what sells best on eBay is important, but ultimately, it's just the first step towards becoming a successful eBay seller. In this section, we'll go over the other steps you need to take when listing an item on eBay to ensure that your listings sell, not your competitors'. Keep reading for important point, guidelines, and strategies to ensure your best-selling eBay items sell the best they can for you.
Research Popular Products
We’ve done the initial legwork for you in this article, but once you've decided on a product or niche you want to specialize in, you'll want to take the time to do as much research as possible about what you should sell. Market research includes finding where the current supply on eBay is lacking, understanding what buyers don't want to purchase, and knowing what to look for when you purchase stock.
Optimize Your Listings for SEO
No matter how much of a favorite your item is on eBay, if buyers can't find it, it won't sell. That's why it's so important to optimize your eBay listings for SEO. This simply means making your listings as informative and well-organized as possible, so that eBay's search engine, Cassini (as well as external search engines, such as Google), know to match your listings to relevant buyer queries. In practice, this means creating informative titles and product descriptions with any relevant keywords naturally utilized in the text. To help you create optimized eBay listings in bulk, 3Dsellers eBay lister is the perfect tool for ensuring that your eBay listings are always optimized and a step ahead of the competition.
Focus on Quality
No matter how well an item sells, if it's not an item that buyers are happy with, you'll soon feel it in the negative feedbacks and return requests on your eBay selling account. This can not only affect your bottom line, but also your eBay account health. That's why it's so important to ensure that the items you sell are high quality, and that you stand behind them and offer after-sale support to your customers whenever necessary. Ultimately, what sells best on eBay are items that buyers consistently want to spend their money on based on other buyers' positive feedback.
No matter how popular an item is, one best seller is not enough to keep buyers' interest. Even after you've found your best-selling item, you'll want to offer your buyers more variety than just that one item. It's important to stay within the relevant niche, of course, in order to remain offer your buyers a selection of things they'll be interested in purchasing. Note that for these items, too, the same rules of thumb apply – offer quality items and list them on eBay with listings optimized for SEO.
Take Great Photos
As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, and that's especially true when it comes to product pictures on eBay. Quality, informative, and consistently staged photos of the items you sell entice buyers to complete their purchase while also helping them better understand what they're purchasing, thereby cutting down on "buyer's remorse" or "item not as described" returns, which can negatively impact the health of your eBay selling account.
Offer Discounts and Free Shipping
One of the simplest and most reliable ways to get items flying off the virtual shelves is with attractive discounts and free shipping. You can offer free shipping, bundle discounts, category-specific discounts, coupon codes, and more through the Seller Hub promotions (provided you have an eBay store subscription), and encourage buyers to choose you over the competition. You can even enable Offers on your listings to negotiate and close deals with 3Dsellers' Offer Manager for a simple and hands-off way to boost the STR on your listings.
Promote Your Products
eBay offers sellers several methods of promoting their eBay listings both on- and off-site, with promotional programs and tools suited to every level of advertising budget and know-how. From eBay's Promoted Listings Standard, a commission-based promotional tool which offers sellers a way to promote their listings and pay only once they make a sale, to Promoted Listings Advanced, which enables sellers to target and bid on certain keywords in a CPC-type advertising model, promoting your eBay listings is a perfect way to sell even more of your best-selling products.
Whether you're a new eBay seller who's just starting out, or a veteran seller with years of selling experience under your belt, keeping on top of trends and continuously working to understand what sells best on eBay is one of the most important things you can do to ensure success for your eBay business. Understanding market trends, recognizing opportunities, careful listing optimization, and the smart use of advertising and promotional tools all work together towards making your best-selling eBay items sell even better, and keep you two steps ahead of the competition.
FAQs for Selling Popular Items on eBay
Here, we'll go over some of the most frequently asked questions about what items sell best on eBay, the best ways to sell these popular items on eBay, and how to ensure that your sales result in positive transactions that build your eBay account's health. Browse through them to see if they help you better understand how to sell some of eBay's most popular products on your eBay store.
Q: What are the most popular items on eBay?
Some of eBay's most popular items include baby care products and toys, automotive accessories and parts, laptops & laptop replacement parts, smart phones & accessories, video games, men's and women's clothing, home & garden products such as heating and cooling solutions, collectibles, business & industrial equipment, watches & watch accessories, and fragrances.
Q: How do I optimize my eBay listings for SEO?
Optimizing your listings for SEO is one of the most important ways to ensure that your eBay listings are seen by potential buyers. Optimizing eBay listings for SEO entails creating engaging titles that include relevant keywords, incorporating relevant keywords naturally into item descriptions, using high-quality and informative photos, utilizing as many of eBay's unique identifiers as possible, and accurately categorizing your item.
Q: What tips should I follow when selling popular items on eBay?
When selling popular items on eBay, it's important to always do your research and understand marketplace trends so that you can consistently offer your customers what they want. In addition to keeping up with the best-selling items on eBay, always ensure you follow the following tips with your eBay listings and transactions:
Optimize your eBay listings for SEO and take quality pictures
Offer competitive prices and use eBay Ads to promote your products
Provide excellent customer service, both pre- and post-sale
Use a tracked service to fulfill orders and upload tracking to eBay
These tips will help you sell more on eBay, and keep your eBay account health in good standing so you can continue selling on eBay in the future.
Q: How can I make sure my products stand out on eBay?
One of the most important things you can do to ensure that your products stand out from the competition on eBay is taking and uploading plenty of great photos to each listing. Your photos should be high-quality, attractive to buyers, and informative, and should clearly convey what it is you're selling. Another great way to get more visibility for your eBay listings is with eBay Ads' different advertising programs, such as Promoted Listings Standard and Promoted Listings Advanced.
Q: How do I ensure I'm choosing quality items to sell on eBay?
It's important to ensure that the items you sell on eBay are not only popular, but also that they're items that buyers will be happy to spend their money on. This will involve some degree of market and supplier research, as well as listening to buyer feedback (whether it's in the form of actual feedback, buyer messages, or return requests) about your products. No matter what you sell, being there for your buyers after they've made their purchase will be a far easier task when you consistently sell quality items, which is why it's so important to thoroughly research your stock and suppliers, and even personally test out your products whenever possible.
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