Black Friday can be a zoo if you are looking for deals on toys. eBay sellers have become more savvy over the years and are stockpiling the hot Christmas toys in their homes or a storage unit. When retailers like WalMart, Target, and Toys R Us experience a shortage, eBay sellers will be waiting for frustrated shoppers with all the hot toys in stock - but expect to pay a premium.
This phenomenon, known as retail arbitrage is becoming more and more common as a way for some sellers to earn a living. They research what the hot toys for Christmas, buy out local retailers when the items go on sale or they can get discounts with store rewards or coupons, and sell the toys online at an inflated price. This is totally legal, and may be why shoppers have trouble finding that special toy - an eBay seller has been there and swiped the shelves clean so they can sell toys on what has become known as the "eBay Black Market." In years past some of the hot toys that sold out in stores but were available on eBay were Tickle Me Elmo, Zhu Zhu pets, rare Monster High dolls, and collectible Barbies.
The hot toy list is different each year, but the game remains the same when it comes to retail arbitrage. Below is a list of 10 toys predicted to be popular for Christmas 2013. If you can't find these locally, or don't have the time or energy to look, try shopping for them on eBay.
Playskool Sesame Street Big Hugs Elmo
- Hug Elmo and toy moves its arms to hug back
- 4 imagination scenarios: astronauts, rabbits, frogs and horses
- Plays 3 songs
- Lay Elmo down to play a lullaby with sleeping sound effects
- Toy measures approximately 20 inches long
- For ages 18M – 4Y
- Requires x4 1.5V AA alkaline batteries (not included)
- Retail price $59.99
- Currently 146 listings on eBay starting at $40.99
- Interactive toy
- Pet, tickle tummy and pull tail
- Pull and hold tail for 10 seconds to make Furby sleep
- Play games, get eggs and raise virtual Furblings with the free Furby Boom app
- Retail price $59.99
- Currently 756 listings, auctions start at 99 cents
Doc McStuffins Check Up Center
- Tabletop and X-rays talk and light up
- Talking Big Book of Boo Boos provides interactive play
- Electronic cell phone, height checker, play scale, turning sink faucet, flipping sign, bandage sticker dispenser and colorful eye chart for realism
- Dress lab coat lets you dress the part
- Includes a Doc's First Aid Kit box with accessories, tools and sticker sheets
- Retail price $89.99, no listings currently on eBay
LeapFrog LeapPad Ultra
- 7" backlit touch screen is specially designed for a kid’s touch
- Access to over 800 educator-approved apps, games, videos, e-books, music
- Front-and-back cameras and video recorders provide quick and easy photo and video taking
- Built-in Wi-Fi lets children connect to the Internet without the need for wires
- Stores up to 8 GB of memory internally, so your little one can save his or her favorite songs, apps and more
- Retail price $149.99, 68 listings on eBay starting at $79.99 on auction
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Shellraiser Vehicle
- Full Function Radio Control Steering (forward-reverse, left-right)
- Remote Firing Sewer Cover Cannon - Fires up to 10 sewer covers at a time!
- Compatible with all Basic Figures!
- Easy-To-Use IR Controller
- Retail price $49.99, 104 listings on eBay starting at $29 on auction
Nerf Rebelle Heartbreaker Bow
- Heartbreaker Bow blaster has real bow action
- Blaster fires darts up to 75 feet
- Accessory rail lets you add accessories (sold separately)
- Adjustable sight and removable dart storage accessory
- Includes 5 collectible darts
- Retail price $19.99, 112 listings on eBay starting at $22 on auction
Flutterbye Flying Fairy Doll
- Let your imagination soar with Flutterbye Flying Fairy as she magically flies above your hand!
- Watch her spread her wings and magically twirl and dance through the air.
- Dressed in a beautiful molded dress and glittery wings, variety of colors
- Made for young girls ages 5-9 and require 6 AA batteries for operation.
- Includes: 1 Flutterbye Flying Fairy, 1 Base, 1 Instruction Guide
- Retail price $34.99, 5 listings on eBay starting at $49.75
Monster High 13 Wishes Gigi Grant Doll
- Gigi Grant is the daughter of a Genie
- Gigi must grant the wishes of her finder - whether good or bad!
- Dressed in a cute outfit with ruffled skirt and a bow at her neck
- Doll come with pet scorpion, diary, brush, doll stand and character-specific accessories
- Retail price $21.99, 4 listings on eBay starting at $28
- Players can destroy various types of blocks in a three dimensional environment
- Inspired by Infiniminer, Dwarf Fortress and Dungeon Keeper
- Player can form fantastic structures, creations and artwork acrosss various multiplayer servers in multiple game modes
- Minecraft promotes essential creative play building with virtual cubes
- Retail price $34.99, hundreds of listings, starting at $32.99
Cards Against Humanity
- Game for adults
- 550 cards (460 White cards and 90 Black cards)
- Over 13 duodecillion possible rounds (10^40) with 6 players
- Retails for $25 or more, 200+ listings starting at $24.95
So when the stores are sold out on Black Friday, or you have been trampled, pushed, shoved, and can't even get a cart, remember eBay. Sometimes it is worth paying a little extra to have someone else do your shopping for you.
More ways to conveniently use eBay: