To this day I wonder how many people shop using eBay versus more blisteringly immense outlets like Walmart and Amazon. Every year I continue to be surprised. For 2019, we get to see another edition of eBay Most Wanted and the most-coveted and popular items it contains.

As it turns out, eBay has a lot of sales data to work with. I might seem surprised by this, but it’s mostly in jest. These numbers kind of blow me away:

  1. eBay is a massive retail establishment with over 1.4 billion listings…
  2. and 183 million active buyers worldwide. What really sets them up as a big player is that…
  3. 80% of the goods sold on eBay are new, and…
  4. 63% of eBay sales happen on mobile devices.

For 2020, one of my goals is to write more eBay-specific content. I started by covering Sendle, a carbon-neutral shipping service that partners with several carriers including the USPS, but that’s about it. For article number two, talking about what eBay customers are drawn to the most seemed like a good fit. An easy way to wade into the eBay depths, if you will.

Every year, eBay drops its Most Wanted list and most of what’s on it should come as a surprise to exactly zero people. To be clear, this isn’t a list of most wanted criminals. This is a list of the top shopping and gift-giving trends for the holiday season.

If you’re a smart seller (on eBay, Amazon, whatever), take note of these items. Be on the lookout for them from your distributors or as you’re moving through thrift stores to fill your Poshmark coffers.

The eBay Most Wanted holiday shopping season guide breakdown

A lot of these trends change from year to year, but a few always seem to persist. Specifically, electronics, Apple devices, and boutique apparel always seem to make the list. Here’s what’s on it this year:

Apple products

It is no surprise that we see the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro on this list. The three-camera system on the iPhone 11 Pro definitely attracted some new buyers, and the lower price point of the iPhone 11 made it an appealing proposition for those holding out on upgrading.

Additionally, we see things like the Apple AirPods 2 make the list. While they came out a little bit later in the year, the Apple AirPods Pro are likely also contenders for the hottest apple products because of their somewhat-reasonable pricepoint and overall incredibly high review scores from tech critics. At $250, they keep pace with the price points for other mid-to-high-end active noise-canceling headphones from Bose and Sony.

Apple Computer Sneakers
Vintage 90s Apple sneakers. (source:  Heritage Auctions)

Lastly, it’s no surprise that vintage Apple gear is on the list. What is old is new again, and that statement is especially true when it comes to now-rate and oft-coveted apple swag and accessories (like these rare 1990s Apple shoes).

Gaming consoles going retro

Continuing with the “what’s old is new again” theme, retro-inspired gaming consoles are peaking on the list this holiday season. Back in September, Nintendo celebrated its 130th(!!) anniversary and saw sales for the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo 64 occur on average once every 30 seconds. The Switch retails for $199 and used Nintendo 64 consoles can run anywhere from $80-$150. Provided that 30-second interval persisted for a 24 hour period, that’s estimated gross revenue of almost $25 Million in sales just from eBay, just for the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo 64.

Not just base Nintendo Switch consoles are flying off the shelves, either. eBay says gift packs are quite popular this year, too, including the Pokemon Sword and Shield bundles.

Cooking with air

The 4-quart Ninja air fryer in black with safety basket sitting next to it.
Four quarts of greaseless frying means tasty snacks minus the extra fat. (source: Ninja)

Last year’s hot kitchen gadget trend was the Instant Pot. This year, the eBay most wanted list says to expect air fryers to make the rounds and the must-have and often-gifted kitchen counter appliance. The statistics say air fryers now formally outsell the Instant Pot by as much as 61% (as of October of this year). Specifically, they say the Ninja Air Fryer 4 Quart is the model to beat this holiday season.

Give no hands for these handbags

Prince Harry And Meghan Markle Visit Edinburgh
That small blue thing hanging off her right shoulder is all the craze right now, apparently. (source: Andrew Milligan – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

It doesn’t make sense at first, but the concept of a hands-free handbag is blowing up the boutique apparel and accessories scene. These are really just mini cross-body bags, but they’ve seen sales spikes of upwards of 65% year over year. eBay points to the Strathberry brand as being the kingpin and saw sales rise 300% thanks to the Meghan Markle effect.

Additionally, pearls are big this year, especially in the forms of chunky jewelry and hair accessories. Mizuki earrings are living proof of that.

The Space Jam nostalgia is probably strong

Air Jordan 1 Hi FlyEase Shoe
They don’t look like it, but these shoes are high-flying off the shelves right now. (source: Nike)

Our favorite early-90s cartoon basketball star (and real basketball star) Michael Jordan takes the top spot when it comes to the most popular jersey and shoe sales. Compare to everyone else, his likeness sees an alley-oop of increased sales by more than 170%. Everyone’s flocking to the Air Jordan 1 to the tune of over 20 pairs sold per hour.

Not your style? Gucci bags and Celine Small C bags are cleaning house in the luxury accessories space.

Friends forever

A photo of the assembled Lego set number 21319, Friends Central Park
Set 21319, the LEGO Friends Central Park set. (source: LEGO)

Also back in September, the Friends 25 year anniversary hit. eBay saw a 44 percent jump in Friends merch and memorabilia, including and especially t-shirts. What are dead friends may never die.

Additionally, the LEGO Friends Central Park set and Friends: The Complete Series flew off the shelves faster than a New York pigeon.

The force will always be strong, it seems

A screenshot of The Mandalorian from Disney+'s series The Mandalorian.
Sufficiently moody, this guy knows how to drive sales… probably. (source: Disney)

Star Wars merchandise is huge on the list this year, with over two million items purchased on eBay so far. I’d expect to see a massive influx as we near Christmas and the release of the final Star Wars film of this current nine-piece saga. Follow that up with Disney’s release of The Mandalorian via its Disney+ streaming service, and you have an influx of Boba Fett interest without lifting a finger.

There’s something for everyone

Playing off of this season’s hottest trends, eBay put together a list of helpful lists of what’s hot this season (PDF, or scroll through the gallery below):