Timing is Money

Oct 19, 2015

A good question was asked of me the other day, "What's the best day to have an auction end?". Until then the thought had never crossed my mind, does any particular day matter or will a good item sell for a good price no matter the day or time? Nonetheless, the question inspired me to do some research considering the amount of data we have here at BottleBlueBook thanks to our great user base, not to mention we all have the vast knowledge of the internet at our fingertips. So I spent some time digging through data and research, and now I'm here to share with you what I found.

Researching The Days of the Week

Of the research I looked over one of the most common sales trends pointed towards Monday, and the common held theory behind this is that "Online shopping can be an indulgent way to ease back into the workweek"1. As it makes sense to me I'm sure it rings true to you all as well. When I get in front of the computer on Monday morning I am a bit sluggish to jump right into work, so I spend a little time perusing the internet in the most un-productive manner possible.

From research by a startup named SumAll2 I found a report that also shows Monday as being the day where consumers were more likely to buy expensive items online. It shows that with an average daily online spending of $37.95, Monday held the weekly high average of $41.13 while Friday held the low of $34.74. This data is presented with the slightly obvious explanation that people typically aren't sitting in front of a computer on the weekend as they're spending their time doing less technology involved activities. This information is also backed by the fact that weekends during the summer months suffer in sales compared to the rest of the year as people tend to spend more time outdoors during the warmer months.

There were a couple other research articles and reports I looked over, but they all pointed toward the same conclusion. All of the research tends to rank the days of e-commerce sales in the following order: Monday, Wednesday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday, and then Saturday. Remember, we're talking about online shopping here as I'm sure Saturday brings the most traffic for brick and mortar stores. But, for the online world the first few weekdays reign supreme in shopping habits.

I then turned to the information held in BottleBlueBook's database to see how the above information compared to collectible bottle sales in the past year. At first I used all the data for reported sales and found that Wednesday held the title for the most number of sales with 833, followed by Monday with 806. Tuesday & Thursday tied with 675 then we had Sunday with 651, followed by Friday and Saturday with 598 and 597, respectively. This is interesting, but at the moment doesn't mean too much until we average out the sales on those days. The averages broke down in order as follows: Tuesday ($383.20), Wednesday ($364.94), Thursday ($355.86), Monday ($355.12), Sunday ($351.02), Friday ($339.01), Saturday ($337.58). Now, while this does somewhat follow the e-commerce research results the numbers could still be influenced considering something like one ORVW 23 Year Decanter sale could skew a day's average very easily.

In order to look past the problem mentioned just above, I decided to pull data for 3 bottles that are highly sold/traded. These bottles are the 2014 Pappy Van Winkle 15 Year, Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year, and then the 2014 George T. Stagg. Now both Van Winkles have retained a steady value throughout the past year while the Stagg has risen throughout, but all three are highly sold bottles which helps us gather a better sample size for data comparison.

As for the number of sales, Wednesday came out on top for all three bottles with Monday following in second and Friday through Sunday showing the lowest numbers. But, when you view the graphic below you'll notice a particular trend when it comes to the average sale price.

As you see above, Wednesday and Thursday seem to be drawing a higher closing price on these items. In opposition to the e-commerce research Monday does not appear to be bringing in any significant rise in sale value. But, given what we're dealing with here it's typically sold in an auction style format, whereas, the e-commerce data deals with items that can be purchased right away. Wednesday and Thursday may be the days people start to mentally prepare themselves for the weekend and the craving for some good bottles is starting to reach it's peak. The results are pretty staggering though as you can clearly see the middle of the work week has a higher average sale price compared to the rest of the week, and the weekend shows quite a significant drop in the average sale price. Since the optimal sales condition is presented when you have the most eyes on your product, given that more people are spending time online and shopping during the work week this would be the obvious answer to the reason these items tend to sell at a higher price during these days.

Finding the Right Time to End a Sale

There is no timestamp data on BBB for when an item sold so I had to turn toward basic research. One report I looked at dealt with Facebook usage and went to show that the three biggest usage spikes occur on weekdays at 11AM, 3PM, and 8PM with 3PM showing the biggest surge3. Another set of research based on email marketing shows that more emails are opened between 8AM and Noon, but an average order sale from email marketing peaks between 8PM and Midnight4. Based on all the data (not all presented here for sake of brevity) it shows that there are internet traffic spikes first thing in the morning when everyone is getting to work, then another spike around mid-afternoon most likely when people are losing focus on work and gearing towards leaving the office. Then, the last spike occurs after 8PM when people have finished eating dinner and are settling down from the day's activities. For the sake of the topic at hand, it would seem to appear that having a sale end time between 9PM and Midnight may serve best as it increases more coverage for both coasts.

In Conclusion

So if I had to give a suggestion based on all the aforementioned data it would be this. List your item on Sunday night so it's there for the Monday morning crew to take notice. If it is an auction have it scheduled to close on a Wednesday or Thursday. It appears that this will help with circulating your item so you can get as much exposure to it as possible. Then you will have those people that are ready to step into the auction on Wednesday or Thursday night as there appears to be another peak in online traffic on those days. If at all possible, make sure you are not ending an auction on the weekend, as you won't have the most attention to your item. I'd also have to say listing an item on a Friday, Saturday, or before Sunday evening does not serve you best as it will likely end up being buried by other items and harder to see on all sales platforms.

If you have any other trends you have noticed please feel free to mention it in the comments section below.

1 Why Monday is E-Retailers Favorite Day of the Week
2 SumAll
3 Facebook Activity Study
4 Email Marketing Time of Day Performance