eBay's 2018 Shopping Report: The Year’s Most Significant Trends, Styles and Moments
By: eBay News Team
New data shows the events that impacted purchase behavior, as people flocked to Fortnite, felt the effect of King James, were ‘Royally’ inspired and filled their closets with logo fashion.
Today, we're announcing our 2018 Shopping Report, taking an in-depth look at the launches, anniversaries and collabs that rose to the top and encouraged people from coast to coast to open up their wallets. In a year marked by superheroes, sought-after sneakers, stress relief and Supreme, some surprising statistics emerged – demonstrating what’s on shoppers’ minds and what trends are here to stay.
“As the world’s largest marketplace, eBay search and sales data provides an interesting look at what’s happening in culture,” said Bradford Shellhammer, eBay’s Vice President of Buyer Experience. “By paying attention to new shopping behaviors over the course of the year – investments in trading cards, the resurgence of vinyl, an affinity for yellow decor and SMEG appliances and kids of all ages digging dinosaurs – we’re able to predict the types of gifts that will bring joy this holiday season.”
Whether it’s driving millions in sales or causing drastic spikes in search, what’s happening on eBay reflects what’s happening in the world. Here are the 18 things that stood out in 2018:
eBay’s 2018 Shopping Report1
1) LOOKS OF THE YEAR:
Cozy Coats: Celebrities like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Kendall Jenner sported faux fur this year, and popular designs emerged from brands like ASOS and TopShop. eBay sales of the “teddy bear” coat nearly quadrupled between September and October. From vests to backpacks, 50,000 faux fur items sold on eBay between July and September - a 105 percent increase in just 90 days.
Bike Shorts: Nearly 110,000 cycling and biker shorts have been sold on eBay in 2018. After celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski were seen wearing the trend, eBay sales for the shorts spiked, with a 27 percent increase in less than 90 days.
Top Prints: In the first week of October, 378 animal print items were sold per day. Looking to compare print trends? eBay Fashion saw stripes beat out polka dots by more than 18,000 items sold, and leopard print edge past snakeskin by 10,000 purchases (in the last 60 days).
Luxury Watches: eBay shoppers picked up one luxury watch every three minutes this year. Rolex watches accounted for 20 percent of total luxury watch sales in 2018, with other top-selling brands for the year including Omega, Tag Heuer, Longines and Breitling.
Denim Boots: In August, eBay saw a 107 percent increase in sales month-over-month for thigh-high denim boots after Jennifer Lopez wore a pair from Versace.
2) LOGOS OF THE YEAR:
Champion & Supreme: There was a 76 percent increase in eBay sales of Champion sweatshirts in the last 90 days, and collab-favorite Supreme racked up 30,000 searches per day.
Gucci: With celebrities like Rihanna, Chrissy Teigen and Mandy Moore rocking Gucci logo looks - 126 Gucci bags were sold on eBay daily and nearly 500 Gucci logo belts were sold every month this year, resulting in one search every 20 seconds.
Dior: Sales of the Dior Saddle Bag climbed nearly 20 percent from July to August on eBay after the French powerhouse Christian Dior had 100 global influencers and celebs re-launch the bag on Instagram on July 19 for the Fall/Winter 2018 season.
Fendi: Fendi’s ‘double F’s’ have experienced a resurgence in popularity - 364,813 searches this year - thanks to the street style endorsements of Gigi and Bella Hadid along with the likes of Priyanka Chopra, Kourtney Kardashian and Olivia Culpo.
3) DESIGNER OF THE YEAR:
Virgil Abloh: In addition to being named Director of Menswear at Louis Vuitton this year, Abloh launched multiple Off-White sneaker styles, a collaboration with Moët & Chandon for Nectar Impérial Rosé and designed the Nike tutu outfit Serena Williams wore at this year’s U.S. Open. eBay sold 38,500 Off-White sneakers in 2018. That’s five pairs per hour at an average of $289 per pair. The most expensive Off-White pair sold on eBay this year was the Off-White x Air Jordan 1 “The Ten” for $3,409.
4) SNEAKERS OF THE YEAR:
In Search of Grails: 40,000 pairs of shoes are sold each day on eBay in the U.S. In fact, half a million Air Jordans were sold this year alone – that’s one pair every minute. Taking the spot for most sought-after styles in 2018 were the Nike Air Max 1/97 Sean Wotherspoon and the Off-White x Converse Chuck Taylor as a trending collab among shoppers.
Cash for Kicks: Collectible sneaker sales show no sign of slowing down – eBay shoppers are purchasing more than 370 pairs of sneakers over $250 every day. Taking the top spot for most expensive pair sold in 2018 is the Nike Air Jordan Kobe PE, which sold for $20,000 and was a player’s exclusive from 2002 in Kobe’s size.
Brand Love: When it comes to sneakers, Nike and adidas continue to lead the pack, with top styles driving sales of collectible sneakers in the tens of thousands. In 2018, the top five brands of men's sneakers sold on eBay were Nike, adidas, Jordan, New Balance and Vans.
5) PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
The LeBron Effect: Los Angeles Lakers fans eagerly welcomed NBA superstar LeBron James to the City of Angels this year.
Fan Love: The week he signed to the team, eBay sales of James’ jersey increased by 5,118 percent, and StubHub demand for Lakers tickets increased 427 percent over the prior season. The Los Angeles Lakers took the number two spot in NBA merchandise sales on eBay during the off-season, with Lakers fan gear sales nearly tripling between June and July after James’ signing.
Collectible Cards: LeBron James trading cards are coveted collectibles - in fact, a 2003-04 LeBron James UD Exquisite Rookie Patch card was sold for $250,000 this year. The next highest LeBron card sold in 2018 was a 2003 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection LeBron James Rookie card for $64,100.
Sneaker Savvy: James’ momentum spills into the sneaker game, as well. Sales of the LeBron 15 signature shoe on eBay doubled that of Kyrie Irving's Kyrie 4 in 2018.
6) RECORD BREAKERS OF THE YEAR:
Some of the most expensive collectible cards sold on eBay this year represented those of OG athletes:
Tom Brady: A 2000 Tom Brady Playoff Contenders card sold for $250,000 (becoming the highest price paid for a collectible tied to the legendary quarterback). The exact same Brady rookie card was bought by a previous owner in 2015 for just $15,000, representing a price increase of more than 1,500 percent in three years.
Derek Jeter: In another example, a 1993 SP Foil Derek Jeter rookie card sold for $54,500 in May of this year, only to go for $99,100 just two weeks later.
Case Break: Another popular trend in cards - ‘Case Breaking’ is when collectors open a box or pack of trading cards during a live broadcast, and sell the cards individually. eBay saw a 50 percent increase year-over-year in case breaks.
Modern Players: While OGs are taking the top spots in collectible card sales, which modern athletes are driving demand? LeBron James leads the NBA, Connor McDavid tops wish lists in the NHL, and Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani are selling hot from an MLB perspective. In fact, a 2011 Topps Update Mike Trout Platinum 1/1 True Rookie card was sold for $100,000 this year, and a 2015 UD The Cup Connor McDavid ROOKIE AUTO PATCH card was sold for $55,655 after going for $34,000 just last year.
7) COMEBACK OF THE YEAR:
Listen Up: Music fans of all ages are embracing vinyl, and eBay sold more than three and a half million records last year. When it comes to genre, classics continue to reign supreme, with albums like Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” Pink Floyd’s “The Wall,” Led Zeppelin’s “IV” and The Beatles “Abbey Road” routinely appearing in eBay’s top 10 best-selling records year-over-year.
8) TECH OF THE YEAR:
Connected Home: This year more than two million smart home products were sold on eBay, as shoppers continued to link their homes to their phones. Industry data cites that household penetration is 32 percent in 2018 and is expected to hit 53 percent by 2022. Updates to smart speakers and new launches like the Apple HomePod also drove growth of 200+ percent on eBay, selling more than 230,490 devices this year – that’s 32 speakers per hour. The smart thermostat category is also growing at a rate of 24 percent, with Nest as a strong brand leader. Products from Philips Hue smart lighting line drove 4,454 purchases in just the last 90 days.
Scooter Surge: With electric scooter rental services like Bird, Lime and Uber’s Jump popping up in dozens of U.S. cities, the latest evolution in scooters is taking over. eBay has sold more than 25,000 electric scooters this year, and they’re already topping holiday lists a top gift for urbanites and adventure lovers.
9) DECOR OF THE YEAR:
Here Comes the Sun: When examining interior design trends, 2018 was a bright spot. Shoppers couldn’t get enough of hues like buttercup, mustard, daisy and canary yellow – from furniture to wall hangings, throw pillows and decor - more than 100,000 yellow home furnishings were sold on eBay this year, that’s one item every four minutes.
Toast for Days: eBay searches for millennial-favorite SMEG home appliances spiked between April and May of this year, directly following the announcement of SMEG and Dolce & Gabbana’s third collection together.
10) GAME OF THE YEAR:
Fortnite Fever: As the breakout star of the gaming world - Fortnite is unmatched. eBay shoppers viewed 1,400 Fortnite items per hour this year, or one item per second. The real story, however, is the demand of gaming accessories driven by Fortnite players. Both headsets and gaming monitors saw sales spike 35 percent year-over-year, as players new to online and community gaming jumped into the game. Top brands like Alienware and HyperX jumped more than 80 percent year-over-year, with a surge in demand for ultra-wide, 4k and high-end gaming monitors.
Retro Gaming: This year brought huge spikes in interest in the Nintendo NES Classic, Nintendo Switch and special edition PS4 bundles, driving up console sales on eBay by 5 percent year-to-date. Demand rose for the Nintendo NES Classic, with 77,000 units sold and 18,000 searches tied to the restock announcement in May 2018. Up next this holiday? Shoppers are already searching for Sony’s PlayStation Classic, a miniature version of the first PlayStation arriving December 3. eBay saw 150 searches per hour for the Classic on the day it was announced to consumers.
11) FRANCHISES OF THE YEAR:
Spidey Sense: There’s no denying that Spider-Man emerged as a key comic hero for this year – continuing to drive excitement among fans leading up to the release of ‘Into the Spider-Verse.’ eBay shoppers purchased more than 67,580 Spider-Man related items from August to September, and 77 percent of those were comic books. That’s 51,866 Spider-Man comics over 30 days - or one per minute.
Exclusive Momentum: Another top event this year was the release of Spider-Man on PS4 – not just because the game has been a massive sales success, but because the platform-exclusive strategy is working.The release of the game immediately and significantly impacted PS4 console sales on eBay. Specifically, there was an 89 percent increase in PS4 sales in the weeks prior to and following the launch of the game, representing the highest three-week period of PS4 sales of 2018. And it wasn’t just PS4 sales, with the Limited Edition Spider-Man PS4, we saw searches and prices surge, as gamers rushed to get their hands on it.
Avengers: In 2018, Infinity War earned over $2 billion worldwide and became the highest-grossing superhero movie of all time. Not just comic book lovers, but fans of the film are collecting these rare comics. Coming off the popularity of the Avengers movie, eBay exclusive comic dealer, Sparkle City Comics, sold a CGC 6.5 graded copy of Captain America Comics #1 for $175,200.
Black Panther: Black Panther was one of the biggest cultural moments of 2018 - king at the box office before Avengers dethroned it in April 2018.The film drove more than 200,000 searches for the franchise since its launch this year. As the franchise gained buzz, purchases of Black Panther items increased dramatically. During the release month of February 2018, eBay’s exclusive Black Panther variant cover with illustrator Sanford Greene sold out, and graded copies of Black Panther’s first appearance in Fantastic Four #52 were listed for upwards of $13,000 on eBay.
Rising From The Ashes: Characters that are traditionally less popular in the mainstream world of collectible comics - like Groot, Star-Lord, Deadpool, Guardians of the Galaxy and Miles Morales - are also resonating with eBay shoppers, showing up with steadily increasing value.
- Some examples include Tales to Astonish #13, ranking as the most expensive Groot comic sold this year for $4,700, or Wolverine Trimpe Wein Liefeld Deadpool Variant Mutants 98 Hulk 181, representing the highest sale for a Deadpool comic at $4,975. These two comics in particular mark the first appearance of those characters in the comics world at large, highlighting the motivation behind obtaining them as part of a collection.
- Another favorite was the year’s top Guardians of the Galaxy comic, a copy of Marvel Super-Heroes #18, which sold for $3,350.
12) COLLECTIBLE OF THE YEAR:
The Gathering Fandom: Familiar to kids of the 90’s, Magic: The Gathering is a trading card game centered on wizardry. Now, 25 years after its creation, millennials are cashing in on their nostalgia. There were more than half a million Magic: The Gathering trading cards sold on eBay in 2018, including 4,877 Mystery Rare Card Lotto, Chance to Win Black Lotus cards. Activity is increasing in this space – with over one million Magic: The Gathering cards available on the site today, representing a five percent increase in listings year-over-year.
- That makes sense when you consider that the most expensive card sold on eBay this year, an Alpha Black Lotus from the original 1993 release, went for $87,672, with only 1,100 total cards in circulation. Interestingly, the same card sold on eBay for just $30,877 a month prior, and today, there’s one currently listed for $100K. The next top sale was for a 1993 Alpha Ancestral Recall card for $28,922.
- Another top category in collectible cards is Pokémon. The Pokémon Japanese Super Secret Battle 3rd Place SSB Trophy Card, PSA 10 Gem Mint was the most expensive Pokémon card sold this year for $60,000.
13) ROYAL OF THE YEAR:
Ring Envy: Meghan wore an aquamarine cocktail ring to her wedding reception, a gift chosen by Prince Harry from the late Princess Diana’s personal collection. eBay searches for aquamarine rings spiked following the wedding, and more than 114,000 were sold this year. Interest also peaked for rings with pink stones following Princess Eugenie’s engagement in January with a pink padparadscha sapphire ring. eBay sold more than 8,000 Morganite rings in the 60 days surrounding the engagement, which is a less expensive alternative.
Royals to Real-Life: Following the wedding (and royal baby announcement!) from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the birth of Prince Louie AND the wedding of Princess Eugenie, the world is watching the Royals. eBay saw over 1,200 searches for tiaras on May 19th, Meghan Markle’s wedding day, an increase of 72 percent from the day prior. Other royal inspired headpieces saw a spike as well, as sales for fascinators and floral crowns rose 47 percent.
Tour Style: Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle often wear accessible brands to public appearances, causing items they’ve worn to sell out in minutes. After the Duchess of Sussex wore trench coats from Martin Grant and Karen Walker on her commonwealth tour in October, trench coat sales on eBay rose 44 percent month-over-month. Similarly, sales of J.Crew black boots rose by 70 percent in the same timeframe, after Meghan rocked the brand’s ‘Sadie’ ankle boot on tour.
14) WEDDING OF THE YEAR:
Markle Effect: One of the most-watched events this year unfolded on May 19, and viewers around the world immediately turned to eBay to get their hands on the coveted designers and styles that Meghan and her A-list guests were wearing. Wedding weekend, eBay saw sales for Meghan Markle related items jump 47 percent and searches spike 146 percent -- more than triple the number of searches for Prince Harry related items. When it comes to Meghan fever, Americans took the cake, as there were nearly five times more Meghan-related searches in the U.S. than in the U.K.
Givenchy won the royal wedding: Meghan captivated Americans and Brits alike as she made her procession down the aisle in a custom Givenchy gown, spiking the fashion label to the top searched list on May 19. Vivienne Westwood, who designed Priyanka Chopra’s celebrated lavender look, was the second most-searched. British label Alexander McQueen, who designed Kate Middleton’s off-white coat dress -- a closet staple of hers, rang in as the third most-searched. Following McQueen was Stella McCartney -- the renowned designer of the bride and mother-of-the-bride’s evening looks as well Oprah and Amal Clooney’s day dresses.
Pippa’s dress designer was the most influential: Perhaps one of the most wearable styles of the day was Pippa Middleton’s floral cocktail dress by The Fold. Searches for the British brand jumped a dramatic 700 percent from May 18 to May 19. As was the case with Will and Kate’s wedding, all eyes were also on Princess Beatrice, as searches for the label Roksanda that created her teal dress rose by 500 percent.
Pretty-in-pink dresses spiked: From pastels to florals, colorful frocks were the main style for this spring wedding. Among Meghan’s celebrity guests, Oprah and Serena Williams’ dresses were fan-favorites, as eBay searches for rose dresses spiked a whopping 95 percent. Amal Clooney’s bright look helped inspire searches for yellow dresses, which rose by 33 percent and Abigail Spencer’s playful frock was reflected in sales for polka dot dresses, that rose 20 percent on eBay.
15) ANNIVERSARY OF THE YEAR:
Magic and Merriment: This year marked the 20th anniversary of the Harry Potter franchise, and Mickey Mouse’s 90th birthday. eBay shoppers picked up one Harry Potter item every minute in 2018, including 47,413 Harry Potter LEGO sets & minifigures, and 37,732 Harry Potter Funko Pops. Mickey merchandise spiked by 24 percent in March when Disney announced they would launch a world-wide celebration honoring Mickey’s 90th year. In fact, there were two Mickey & Minnie items sold every minute on eBay in 2018 - that’s more than 876,000 purchases. The most expensive Mickey item sold this year was a Geralmagicd Genta Fantasy Retro Mickey Mouse Aviator Watch for $10,000.
16) WELLNESS FIX OF THE YEAR:
Diffuse Away Stress: Forget candles, people opened their minds, noses and wallets to aromatherapy. There were 217,456 diffusers sold on eBay this year, with 41 searches per hour - that’s a spike of 58 percent in the last six months alone. A favorite brand among enthusiasts, Young Living oils accounted for 67 percent of total essential oil sales in 2018, and top selling scents overall were Peppermint and Lavender.
High On Believing: Shoppers relied on Cannabidiol (CBD) to help them cope with anxiety symptoms. 39,000 CBD oils and supplements were sold this year on eBay, with more than 284,000 searches. Sales peaked in April for the year, with a 50 percent increase month-over-month.
Filter It Out: Another rising trend is blue-light-blocking glasses - which filter out the active blue light from smartphone screens. After an appearance on ABC’s ‘Shark Tank’ in February, the Gunnar brand’s blue-light-blocking glasses sparked more than 2,700 searches, and 14,000 pairs were sold on eBay this year.
17) VEHICLES OF THE YEAR:
Home on Wheels: Sales of RVs and classic Airstreams are growing, as millennials ditch the concept of ‘forever homes’ for tiny houses that are travel-friendly. There were 39,187 searches on eBay Motors for Airstreams this summer, with the most RV sales occurring in March - May of this year. The top selling brands included Winnebago and Airstream, each accounting for 20 percent and 25 percent of the year’s total RV sales, respectively.
Pickup Trucks: Trucks are the new family car, as they become safer and more comfortable. Ford F-Series brand dominated truck sales on eBay Motors in 2018, followed by Ram, Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra. And shoppers aren’t just buying trucks, they’re personalizing them. The most popular truck accessories include wheels/rims/tires, custom grilles, grille guards, tow hooks and bumper systems. There are almost 120,000 grilles and 16,000 tow hooks currently listed on eBay Motors, with 73 searches an hour for wheel rims.
Luxury Cars: Luxury vehicles and accessories were also huge this year, from Forgiato wheels to Ferraris. One Ferrari sells every day on eBay, with nearly 700 Ferrari models currently for sale. Forty-four Lamborghinis have sold on eBay Motors this year, with an average price of $110,170.94. The most expensive car sold this year on eBay Motors was a 2005 Ford Ford GT Camilo Pardo Signature "SOLAR7" for $449,980.
18) TOYS OF THE YEAR:
Ferocious Friends: Dinosaur toys are having a moment, thanks to the latest ‘Jurassic Park’ installment, the resurgence of classic games like Mario Kart featuring the beloved Yoshi and brands reimagining dino toys. eBay searches for dinosaur toys increased 22 percent year-over-year, spurred by excitement around the trainable Jurassic World Alpha Training Blue, WowWee’s new Untamed T-Rex Fingerlings, FurReal’s Munchin’ Rex and many more.
Disgustingly Awesome: Pimples, poops, farts and slime - this year's toys got silly, gross and sometimes smelly - literally. eBay sales of the ‘Don’t Step In It’ game tripled between September and October, while shoppers picked up 24 ‘Poopsie Surprise Unicorns’ per day in the last 60 days.
Surprise Envy: Excitement around L.O.L. Surprise! continues on eBay this year, with new launches like L.O.L. Surprise! Glam Glitter Series Dolls to L.O.L. Surprise! Pearl Surprise. From March through September 2018, more than 148,000 L.O.L. Surprise! toys were sold on eBay, that’s one surprise every two minutes.
1Data is based on US sold items that included the key terms in the listing title across all categories from January 1, 2017 to November 7, 2018.