Understanding the eBay Hot List - Hot Items by Category

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Every month, eBay publishes a Hot Items by Category list - called the Hot List.  It shows the categories where the most action is taking place on eBay.  It's available in the Seller Central section of the site (along with other good info you can use).  If you're not a real numbers person, it can be a little weird to figure out.

What It's About

The Hot List is a monthly snapshot of the best supply & demand subcategories.  It focuses on showing Buyer interest by looking at the number of bids made (demand), as compared to the number of listings offered (supply).  When there's lots of bidding going on for fewer listings, it's a chance for Sellers to make some money!

As good as that sounds, there's a bazillion things for sale on eBay and a giant list would be a nightmare for everybody.  So the list is limited to something more useful by only showing

  1. Bids (demand) increased from last month
  2. Bids (demand) grew faster than the number of listings (supply) by at least 50%
  3. The lowest subcategory has more bids per item than the higher, more general category.  This sounds tricky, so let's look at this real quick...
    • Categories are a tree with branches, referred to as 'levels'.  For example
      •  Baby (Level 1)
        •  Diapering (Level 2)
          • Diaper Bags (Level 3)
            • Eddie Bauer (Level 4)
    • There have to be more bids for Eddie Bauer (L4) items than there are on average for Diaper Bags (L3) items to make it to the list.
    • This tells you what kind (L4 - Eddie Bauer) of thing (L3 - Diaper Bags) people are buying more of.  If there's nothing special (L4 is not selling more than an average L3 item), then things are just pretty average... nothing is particularly "hot" right now.
  4. At least half of the items listed had winning bids.
  5. The L4 category received at least 100 bids per week.
  6. No L4 categories called "Other" are included.

That narrows things down to a "best of the best" view that makes more sense,  that you can really use.

There's Hot, and then there's Hot

So now you're looking at the list, and you're thinking "Okay, I get this much, but what's the real difference between 'super hot' and 'hot'?"  Well, it's more numbers, of course!  The list is broken down into three categories.  Remember, the list shows the difference in Supply and Demand growth, so the more demand for less supply, the hotter the item category!

  • Super Hot - there's at least a 35% difference.  Demand is significantly outgrowing supply.
  • Very Hot - there's at least a 15% difference.  Demand is moderately outpacing supply.
  • Hot - there's up to a 15% difference.  Demand is growing faster than supply.

Putting It All Together

Let's say the Hot List shows that Baby/Diapering/Diaper Bags/Eddie Bauer is Super Hot, and  Baby/Diapering/Diaper Bags/Petunia Picklebottom is Hot.  Both brands of diaper bag are in demand.  In both cases, you know that

  • at least half of the listings for both brands have sold in the previous month
  • at least 100 bids per week have been received for both brands
  • there were more bids last month than the previous month and
  • bidding for these brands grew at least 50% faster than the number of listings

You also know that

  • the difference in supply and demand growth for Eddie Bauer diaper bags was at least 35%
  • the difference in supply and demand growth for P.Picklebottom diaper bags was up to 15%

You don't know exactly which EB diaper bags are the super sellers from the Hot List, but you can look at recent sales history in Advanced Search to fill in those blanks. 

Happy Selling!

Uncle Joe Adamson is a PowerSeller, Trading Assistant, eBay Volunteer and Mentor, and an Education Specialist trained by eBay.  He's been enjoying eBay for fun and profit since 2001.  He's mostly involved with selling tie dye shirts and clothing in his Silver Dollar Outpost eBay store (you can find savings in his blog).  If you have any comments, please click on his feedback profile and send a note.  You may also enjoy joining his Mentoring group

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