Clothing and electronics remain two of the most popular selling categories on eBay. The competitive nature of these categories, however, mean that they are off putting to many eBay sellers. Fortunately, there are many other alternative niches and categories within this online marketplace that can be used to build a successful eBay selling business.
Keep reading to discover five unusual yet potentially profitable niches for eBay selling. Some of these categories are often overlooked for seemingly more exciting or lucrative items, despite the low inventory cost.
This niche refers to items that most people will have around their house that have seemingly no value or items that are free to obtain. One of the best aspects of this niche is fairly obvious – inventory costs are practically non existent. As long as shipping costs are kept low, there is plenty of potential for profit in this niche.
When selling free items on eBay, look for small, light items that will be cheap to ship in the mail. Be prepared to sell items in bulk quantities to save time and increase profits.
Here are some quick examples of ‘free items’ that can be sold on eBay:
- Wine corks
- Pine cones
- Empty egg cartons
- Product samples
- Empty toilet paper rolls
- Bottle caps
- Empty bottles (perfume bottles particularly)
- Used gift cards
Most eBay sellers would love one of their inventory items to suddenly trend or go viral. Some sellers make trending items their entire niche, jumping from category to category as public demand grows and later dwindles.
Ultimately, this niche is most profitable for sellers who are able to predict trends, or at least notice them and take advantage quickly. The former is riskier as, of course, it is impossible to accurately predict trends correctly all the time. Sellers who try to do this may find themselves overloaded with hard-to-shift inventory if a trend doesn’t pick up or dies down quicker than expected.
The following resources are free for eBay sellers to use to identify trends that are gaining traction:
- Trending on eBay
- eBay completed listings
- Trending topics on Facebook
- Trending hashtags on Twitter
- Amazon Best Sellers
It is also a good idea to keep up to date on new movie and TV show releases that may spawn popular merchandise.
While this niche can incorporate a wide variety of eBay categories, the discontinued items referred to here are of the consumable goods variety e.g. non-perishable food products and beauty products. Consumable goods of this type are discontinued consistently and often, to promote newer and ‘better’ products.
When these new products are released, however, not all consumers prefer the new formulations and recipes. In fact, some are outright hated. For this reason, the remaining stock of these discontinued items can suddenly become hot property and a lucrative product for eBay sellers.
The easiest way to keep an eye out for discontinued items is to stay up to date with social media and news trends. When a popular item is reformulated and intensely disliked, it can quickly go viral.
Before purchasing discontinued food to sell, check the appropriate policy first to make sure it is allowed on eBay.
Broken or defective items
The market for broken or defective items is surprisingly large on eBay. The first item sold on eBay, as unlikely as it may seem with modern hindsight, was actually a broken laser pen. The broken items niche remains popular today and some of the most common reasons why include:
- For parts – To fix another item or complete a collection
- For repair – Fixing broken items can be a great way to save money
- To fix and resell – Repaired items are a lot more valuable
eBay sellers with repair or ‘upcycling’ skills will find this niche particularly interesting and, potentially, also fun. And, of course, with the current popularity and seasonality of electronics, there never seems to be a shortage of broken items of this variety.
Junk drawer lots
Lot sales (multiple items sold together in one listing) are not just popular at traditional auctions, there is demand for them on eBay too. So-called ‘junk drawer lots’, in particular, have their own distinctive following.
Junk drawer lots typically included small, miscellaneous and often unconnected household items of varying value. Think jewelry, coins, stamps, corkscrews, photographs, key rings, small toys and more.
Sellers who enjoy selling items in junk drawer lots may also be interested in purchasing other junk drawer lots to acquire future inventory to sell elsewhere on eBay.
Looking for more ideas?
Here are some more examples of unusual niches that may be surprisingly profitable for the dedicated eBay seller:
- Used glasses
- Puzzles and board games
- Household security items (e.g. electronic doorbells)
- Obsolete blank media storage (cassettes, floppy disks)
- Shipping packaging
- Crafting supplies
- Cords and charges from electronics
- Old kitchen equipment (especially mason jars)