Is selling in the Wedding category on eBay as magical as the day? Opportunities & challenges.

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Wedding season is kicking off with the most anticipated wedding…ahem…royal wedding…of the year between Prince Harry & Meghan Markle.  With a budget rumoured to be upward of $40M, they will set a high bar for extravagance, delight and incredible gooey gestures of sweet sweet love.  

In the US, the average wedding budget is a fraction of that, but still a hefty fee of more than $30,000.  It’s no wonder that Brides and Grooms search for cost savings. 

In comes eBay and thousands of Professional Sellers who use the marketplace to purvey their wares.

In this article, ShelfTrend looks at several wedding supply categories on eBay.com to assess demand and opportunity, identify (and probably reaffirm known) product trends, and to provide an overview of the competitive environment.  

If you are a Professional eBay Seller that sells in this space, ShelfTrend offers real-time eBay marketplace data that will give you a clearer view of external marketplace movements, such as competitor activity and supply demand trends to help you make more informed decisions for your online business.

Let’s look at a few of these wedding supply categories and what the marketplace activity is telling us.


WEDDING INVITATIONS & STATIONERY
Customisation is key to wedding invitations.  To the couple, it is a glimpse of the wedding day theme but also an insight into their personalities and relationship.  As a result, many couples search high and low for unique embellishments to make their invitations truly their own.

Looking at the Top 500 listings within the Wedding invitations & stationery category, the following stand-out products occupy most of the search results:
1.    Custom seal stamps and wax ($0.78 - $56.99)
2.    Laser cut cards and 3D cards ($1.00 - $172.00)
3.    Wedding themed card embellishments ($1.35 - $20.99)

Although the above products present the best sales velocity and highest sales volumes within the category, in comparison to other eBay categories, they are not strong performers.  Using our Supply Demand report, we were able to identify that: 

  • The top 150 seal stamps & wax listings move 815.7 products at almost $2400 a week.  That’s an average of 5 sales per listing per week at an average price of $3.20 per item sold.
  • The top 150 Invitation listings are moving 733.7 products at almost $5147 a week. That’s an average of 5 sales per listing per week at $7 per item sold.

You get the idea.  These products are the best in a category of slow moving, low priced wedding goods.

Competition is fierce.  Wedding invitations & stationery searches are strongly supplemented by eBay’s gigantic Crafts category of 12.9M listings, which offers an infinite selection of alternatives and adornments.  There is already a high seller participation rate within the Wedding invitations & stationery category.  Throw in the Crafts category and the pie can no longer be divided.  To top it off, China owns almost 40% of listing exposure within the Top 500.  Although they rank much lower than US listings, they sell 14x more product and turn over 3x more in sales revenue.


WEDDING DÉCOR & FAVORS
Despite wedding venues being typically the most expensive outlay to a wedding, they infrequently offer decorating services or supplies.  It is up to the wedding party to build the wedding theme and bring the ambience and atmosphere – or at the least, cover-up and hide the blemishes of the venue.

Best selling products within the Wedding Supplies category include:
1.    Chair decorations/cover ($0.99 - $250.00)
2.    Celebratory balloons ($0.78 - $3.28)
3.    Wedding favour pouches ($1.31 - $57.90)

The above listed products present the best sales velocity and highest sales volume within the Wedding Supplies category, but they also present some interesting category insights.


Opportunity 1: Low supply but good signs of demand for bulk lot offerings.

The top 100 chair decorations & covers sell 807 products at almost $25,000 a week.  That’s an average of 8 sales per listing per week at an average price of $31.25 per transaction.  The most successful listing is a chair cover priced at $3.99 each, selling 74 products a week. It is also the best performing listing within that price range largely because it offers the best value for money.  All other products between $0.99 to $5.00 are chair decorations like bows and buckles.  

Chair decorations and covers can go up to about $100, but selection and supply drops fairly significantly after the $5 mark.  

There are a few stand-out listings.  In the $15 range and the $40-$50 range, bulk lot chair covers (10/20/50/100+)  are making 68 orders and 63 orders a week respectively.  That is not that far off from the high performing $3.99 listing that sells 74 products a week.  Yet there are only a small number of listings offering bulk lots.  

ShelfTrend’s Supply Demand report presents and compares supply data with sales demand metrics to identify potential opportunities. We are discovering many product categories where the current inventory range is saturated and crowded in the lowest price brackets but there is hardly any inventory across middle tier price points where there is still evidence of buyer demand.


Opportunity 2: Product trends in celebratory balloons

The top 500 Best Match ranked wedding balloons can be broken down to the following types:

  • 40% are regular coloured latex/rubber balloons.  They make up 21% of weekly sales.
  • 20% of listings are foil shaped balloons – ex. champagne glasses, hearts, engagement rings.  They make up about 6% of weekly sales.
  • Foil letter balloons are 12% of the top 500 but make more than 40% of weekly sales.
  • Jumbo/Giant balloons are 6% of listings and are 17% of weekly sales.
  • Confetti balloons are 5% of listings and are 6% of weekly sales.

Compared to the other balloon types, the foil letter balloons, giant balloons and confetti balloons have the best weekly sell through at 3.33%, 2.83% and 1.2% respectively.  Although they are the minority of listings on the Top 500, they spend the most time on the first page of Best Match because they are also the most in demand with buyers.

A few additional balloon feature surprises:

  • ‘Hot air’ paper balloon lanterns.  They have a much higher price point than the traditional balloon and are gaining traction as a unique outdoor wedding experience.
  • Balloon frames – no matter how retro – seem to be making a comeback!

Research the Top 500 on ShelfTrend to evaluate other product types in demand or being merchandised by Best Match on eBay.  Search by seller, title or brand and filter by price, search result page or item specifics to drill down into the products that seem to be given the most visibility.


Opportunity 3: Wedding basics demonstrate consistent sales

You would never guess it but the humble fabric pouch dominates the Wedding favor category in both listing availability and sales.  These little pull string bags are 40% of listings in the category and 60% of sales volume.  The top 200 wedding favors bags available on eBay sell more than 1000 units for almost $10,000 a week.  

Consistent to most eBay categories, most listings are in the lower price tranches.  65% of all pouches are under $5.  However, bestselling pouches are in the $6-$10 range, which is only 20% of all listings, but selling more than 50% of the total category sales volume.  There are many factors that drive a buyer to prefer a higher price than what is being offered –  bundle deal/bulk lot, higher quality, better product feature and available options.

It appears that this basic product has a pretty big role in a wedding and, although it is not of particularly high value, there are strong consistent sales.


SUMMARY

Weddings are big ticket events split across many cost items.  Customers are ultra-specific and price sensitive.  Although the industry is enormous and the eBay category is large, it is also a category that exhibits fairly slow sales dominated by low priced products.  Nevertheless, there are opportunities to be found if you invest in the research and extend into the right product range as a complement to your existing online business.  

Use ShelfTrend to research the category before you invest in expansion.  
ShelfTrend is a real time marketplace intelligence tool that presents easy to use and easy to understand eBay data reports to help professional online sellers research competitors and visualise eBay’s merchandising and sales activity.  Search by product, category or competitor across more than 20 eBay countries on three different data reports.  

Try it for free and upgrade for US$14.99 per month when you need more. No commitments or contracts.  Use it when you need it.