Comparing Action Figure Auctions and Fixed Price Listings

Auctions vs. fixed price listings

When most people think of selling action figures online, they think of selling in an auction. The wild popularity of eBay drove a common impression that online marketplaces were online auctions. Over the years though, the popularity of selling action figures in an auction format has declined relative to selling action figures in a fixed price marketplace format.

Nothing beats the thrill of seeing the price of your item for sale keep going higher than you expected. It’s a rush and you feel especially smart for picking the time and method of selling your item. To get buyers into that wonderful “bidding war,” you need to have a “hot” or very rare item. In these situations, an auction format may be your best way to sell. In the other situations though, fixed price marketplace type listings tend to be more effective and successful for both buyers and sellers.

Going, going, going...

As mentioned, when you have a “hot” or rare item, selling the item in an auction may make the best sense. However, most action figures in your collection are neither “hot” nor rare. That’s not to say they aren’t valuable...it’s just that a time-constrained, forced sale format might not be best. While eBay is commonly thought of as an “auction site,” in fact, more than 50% of eBay’s action figure sales occur using a fixed-price format.

Another fact is that in a study of thousands of action figure sales, a third of the auction sales of action figures that did close got only 1 bid. In these situations, often the opening bid is quite low. Sellers can protect themselves from these situations by setting a reserve for the auction, but it’s also true that many buyers do not like auctions with reserves, and if the reserve isn’t met, then the seller hasn’t accomplished anything with putting their item for sale by auction.