There is a nice fluid market for both new and after market digital cameras on eBay. Digital Camera usage has grown enormously over the past few years. Technology has reduced the old film and developing almost to the archives. Quality cameras ranging in price from well under $500 to over $2000 are available. Professionals, amateur hobbyists and regular households all seem to be acquiring cameras, often more than one per household. The question becomes how can I acquire a digital camera at the best possible price?
With a large volume of most models being traded everyday, this is the ideal efficient market. One can study the dynamics of this micro-market and determine some useful buying rules. With a little more information than the rest of the marketplace, one can almost certainly make some intelligent buying opportunities. This article focuses on how to identify these gaps and often purchase digital camera's for 20-40% below retail.
This article should be read together with my longer piece and a web site, which produces the information required to identify buying nuggets. Find the links and URL's to these two sites at the bottom of this article. The niche site focuses specifically and only on data from the digital camera market.
Most information on eBay focuses on the selling element, i.e. how to sell your stuff. I have tended to specialize on the buying end and trying to identify market opportunities and price in-efficiencies to really capture excellent deals. To do this we need to understand the dynamics of the eBay market place. Like any other market it is supply demand driven, and like a large flee-market if a buyer has knowledge of how many items are for sale at what prices and how many other buyers are in the market, then that buyer can capture the upper hand. Lets focus a little more on supply.
The eBay supply dynamic is a little different in that supply of an item must be seen at a point in time. In other words, because auctions end at different times, one needs to grasp the number of auctions ending in close proximity for the same item. This gives you a feel for the supply of items or in our case cameras. What makes this interesting is that today there could be a large amount of auctions ending for a particular model, but next week there could be very few. This is one element driving the price.
The demand side is slightly more complex and hidden from the average eBay buyer. This is where that the web site I refer to at the bottom has some useful data. Demand in eBay terms is measured (by sellers) as a number of factors - how many people view my auction, how many people ask questions, how many people place me on their watch page, and how many people actually bid. Obviously as we progress down this list the data become more reliable as an indication of demand. Page views are not easy to obtain, although some sellers place a publicly viewable counter on their auction pages. Questions and watchers are available to sellers, and the special web site mentioned below will expose this information. Number of bids is available for all to see.
Now if we happened to produce a graph as the auction progresses of the changes in the number of questions, watchers and bid's one can easily see how the demand is changing as time progresses. Typically if questions are high and watchers are high, but bids are low, this may indicate some confusion and a possible buy opportunity. If watchers are very high and climbing, but bids are low, this can point to a last minute bidding war, and a stay out indicator.
Armed with this information and also a quick summary of other similar auctions ending soon, plus a quick feel for the skill set of the seller and the current highest bidder, once can see a picture very different from the average eBay buyer. Soon the trained eye will observe some nice buying opportunities. For the professional or amateur photographer this will soon bring in a number of digital camera buys that are quite a bit cheaper that retail. For example it is quite possible to find gems at 20-40% of retail prices. Lets face it, most digital camera's perform perfectly years after acquisition. Digital electronics seldom degrade over time, so the aftermarket such as eBay is the idea place to buy camera's cheaply.