eBay watch

For the toy industry, eBay is both an opportunity and a potential curse, says ToyNews' editor.
Publish date:

I have a confession. I’ve never bought anything on eBay.

I don’t have the patience to cope with the bidding system, to search for a bargain or to go through the rigmarole of delivery or collection.

For the toy industry though, eBay is both an opportunity and a potential curse. On one hand, it’s great for dealers to shift overstocks and act as another revenue stream, but on the other it encourages ‘backroom businesses’ which - some believe - could ultimately harm the trade.

As part of our look at eBay in this month’s issue, we found several toys which have low RRPs, but are being listed for thousands (the Skylanders example on the cover being just one). Many are rare collectables – either discovered naturally in blind bags or hunted out on purpose, or picked up from overseas.

Genuine adult collectors, of course, will be used to digging deep into their pockets for rare figures, but what about your average customer? Children desperate to complete their prized Skylanders or Moshi collections so resort to parent pester power?

This is where eBay could become an issue, as there’s the danger that the toy industry could be seen as the bad guy. There’s also the concern over counterfeit products. While eBay does have procedures in place, these rely on rights owners reporting fakes or copyright infringements to them in the first instance. And there simply aren’t enough man hours for suppliers to be constantly online.

But maybe our report will encourage many more to scour those listings.

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