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Ask an expert: When is the best time to end an auction?

Q: When is the best and most profitable time to end an auction?

A: The old adage goes, “There is a time and season for all things” - but does this bit of wisdom also hold true for ending eBay auctions?

Many established powersellers claim that auctions are completed at any time of the day or night, with no apparent patterns in the transactions. And with sites and auctions now in different time zones all over the world, eBay can truly claim to be a 24/7 business.

There are many, however, who feel that timing the end of an auction can spell the difference between its success and failure. Studies done by Auction Bytes way back in 1993 seemed to conclude that the best day to end an auction is Sunday.

Ending on a Sunday evening does seem to be very popular with many sellers, who like to list 3-, 7-, and 10-day auctions on Thursday so that they end either on Sunday or Thursday. These are the days, apparently, when many people are online and in the mood to buy.

In my own experience, Sunday and Monday evenings between 7pm and 10pm seemed to be significantly busier than other times. This is similar to what eBay’s own data in the Seller Central area used to say.

But although some people certainly see a spike across these two evenings, it really pays to intimately know the characteristics of your target markets. If your target market is housewives or people living in a different hemisphere, then an evening closing may not be ideal.

Factors you should consider include their timezones, habits and work schedules (including school schedules if you wish to target the student demographic), holidays, and the weather.

At the end of the day, there are no empirical rules backed by volumes of sales data; only the conventional wisdom of those who have been working the business long enough to have that automatic gut-feel for what works and what doesn’t.

Happy listing!

The Auction Expert

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