Where have all eBay’s fixed price listings gone?

There’s an interesting thread on the eBay PowerSeller board postulating that there’s been a change in eBay’s Best Match which is heavily favouring auctions rather than fixed price Buy It Now listings.

Sellers have navigated to certain eBay categories and discovered that very few of the first 100 listings are Fixed price – almost all the first few pages of search results are exclusively auctions.

Dan and I have viewed a few eBay categories and agree there are a fair few auctions in many categories such as Stamps and Clothing which sellers highlighted, we also checked out the Cycle and Smartphone categories and again there are a lot of auctions in the first 100 or so listings.

So what’s changed? Or rather has anything changed?

Having been buying on eBay earlier today I hadn’t noticed a particular preponderance of auction listings, although to be fair I was purchasing in a category where their are very few listings that aren’t Buy It Now. Normally I use a search term to find products on eBay as I suspect do most buyers – it’s pretty much the only way to go on mobile (which accounts for some 60% of eBay sales).

I accept that some buyers will browse categories but that’s probably a dying breed and there are so many products (2.1 million in stamps) so view that any buyer will have to browse to sub categories, narrow their search with Item Specifics or enter a search term.

Equally as a seller I quite like the idea that as my auction gains bids and comes towards the ending time that my listing appear fairly high in (and preferably on the first page of) search results. When you’re browsing a category of 2 million or more listings there are going to be a lot of auctions about to end.

On testing as soon as I entered a search term in the Stamps Category (I picked “1937 Coronation“) a much higher percentage of Buy It Now listings were included in the first 100 search results (69/100).

Has anything changed? Here at Tamebay we’re unable to answer that question as we don’t have any historical data or eBay search screen shots with which we can compare.

Are there a lot of auctions when you browse to a category? Yes there are.

Is this a problem? Not for me as a buyer as I’m almost certainly going to enter a search term and use Item Specifics to refine my search.

Has something changed? Has it affected your sales to an extent that you’re certain it’s due to a preponderance of auctions in category display rather than for instance the lovely weather over the past few weeks? We’re eager to hear your views.