Bargain hunters paradise lost – eBay is not always the cheapest

I found an interesting paper called Buying, Bidding, Playing or Competing? Value Assessment and Decision Dynamics in Online Auctions by ariely et al (2003). In this paper, the writers tracked 500 auctions for CDs, books and films and for each auction, spent a maximum of 10 minutes trying to find a better deal that the final price on eBay

The results were very interesting!

  • eBay the cheapest in only 1.2% of cases
  • in 494 (98.8%) eBay did not present the best price
  • in 79.9% of cases they were able to find 2 cheapers onlets on the web within 10 minutes
  • in 44.7% they found 3
  • in 30.5% they found 4
  • In 27.6% they found 5
  • By buying through eBay consumers paid an average of 15.3% more

This data seems to show two things:

  1. Contary to what is normally believe to be the case, eBay does not always present bargain hunters with the best deal
  2. Buyers on eBay are reluctant to move onto other websites to make cheapers purchases

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