eBay auctions: 4 clues to what you'll payNovember 06, 2001
MIAMI BEACH, - Researchers studying eBay data for the last three years have identified four trends that explain why auction buyers pay more or less for the same item, according to a paper being delivered at the annual convention of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS®) at the Fontainebleau Hilton Resort.
"What Factors Drive Final Price in Internet Auctions? An Empirical Assessment of Coin Transactions on eBay" is being presented by Charles A. Wood, Assistant Professor of Management, Mendoza School of Business, University of Notre Dame. The author is speaking on Tuesday, November 6 from 8:15-9:45 AM in Room Imperial IV of the Fontainebleau Hilton Resort.
Wood, whose research is done in conjunction with Robert J. Kauffman, Professor and Chair, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota, uses operations research methods to examine 7,362 different rare coin transactions on eBay between 1999 and this year.
Kauffman and Wood find that an increase in market depth in online auctions has changed what seller strategies are successful in online auctions. Market depth of online auctions measures the number of buyers and sellers that participate in online auctions. The authors' results have potential meaning for other auction items, as well.
Although the authors stress that their work is still preliminary, their initial results show several factors that impact price in online auctions.
- Weekend Effect: Items sold in auctions that end on the weekend sell for around 2% higher than auctions ending on a weekday. Furthermore, this result is fairly consistent across the three years of the study, (2.6% in 1999, 2.3% in 2000, and 2.2% in 2001) despite increases in market depth during this period. The observation that items sold on the weekend command a constant increase suggests that the weekend effect is a personal characteristic, not a market characteristic, and may indicate that people are willing to pay more for the same item when they have more time to consider the purchase.
- Picture Effect: Items shown in an accompanying online photograph have been selling for a price premium of 11.3% in 2001, which is over double the effect shown in both 1999 (5.7%) and 2000 (6.8%). The authors speculate that the increase is due to a more demanding consumer who now expects sellers to present all information available using advanced technological capabilities.
- Reputation Score Effect: The authors' results show that experienced sellers have a greater advantage over inexperienced sellers in 2001 than they did in 1999 or 2000. In 2001, sellers with higher eBay reputations scores have over twice the increase in price premium (6.8%) that they had in 2000 (5.3%) and 1999 (4.8%) when compared with sellers who have low reputation scores. Since the reputation score tends to increase with time and activity, the authors contend that this score, in fact, measures experience rather than reputation.
- Auction Length Effect: Auctions that last longer attract more bidders. However, this effect is declining as the online auction market increases in depth. In 1999, longer-length auctions commanded a 5.2% premium. By 2001, this has been reduced to only 1.7%. As online auction market depth increases, more and more buyers search for good deals, thus increasing shorter auctions' ability to attract bidders.
The annual convention of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS®) takes place in Miami Beach from Sunday, November 4 to Wednesday, November 7 at the Fontainebleau Hilton Resort. Operations researchers are little known but indispensable experts who use math and science to improve decision-making, management, and operations in a host of fields.
The convention includes sessions on topics applied to numerous fields, including air safety, the military, e-commerce, information technology, energy, transportation, marketing, telecommunications, and health care. More than 1,800 papers are scheduled to be delivered.
-end-Additional information about the conference is at http://www.informs.org/Conf/Miami2001 and http://www.informs.org/Press.
The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS®) is an international scientific society with 10,000 members, including Nobel Prize laureates, dedicated to applying scientific methods to help improve decision-making, management, and operations. Members of INFORMS work in business, government, and academia. They are represented in fields as diverse as airlines, health care, law enforcement, the military, the stock market, and telecommunications. The INFORMS website is at http://www.informs.org.
Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences
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