By Jordan Malik, MBA/MS & Award-Winning Amazon Pro Merchant & eBay Top Seller


I Reveal My Holiday Sales $. Plus: Hits & Misses on Amazon and eBay

NOTE: This blog has moved to:

Hi, online sellers.

After every Holiday, I give readers a glimpse of which toys were profitable for Amazon/eBay merchants, and which toys were flops. I did pretty well this year, with Nov 1 -December 27 Amazon total sales of $30,000+

The below 'hits' and 'misses' are based on how most Amazon sellers (like me) make sales: by buying discounted products online or in stores (before the Holiday shopping craze) and then selling them for their retail price (or higher) when demand picks up.

Before I continue, I should say that eBay has become, by comparison, nowhere nearly as profitable for sellers of 'mass-appeal' toys. However Amazon can't match eBay for selling one-of-a-kind, vintage and collectible items.

Here we go...
Hits: Traditional Brands (i.e., Barbie, Toy Story, Disney Princes, Batman, Fisher Price) were almost bulletproof (as they are every year). If you sourced such toys at up to 50% off, you likely enjoyed a 50% to 150% ROI during the Holiday buying rush, like I did.

My examples of profitable items (click on each for Profit Proof):

Fisher Price Imaginext Transforming Batmobile
Imaginext Batcycle
Toy Story Plush Bullseye Horse 
Muppets Whatnot Build A Muppet Set (blue)

Hit: Magna-Tiles - This really small company got a runaway hit on its hands that turned an under-$50 toy into a 'must have' trinket that commanded $300 to $500 on eBay and Amazon:  Huge shortage around the holidays = big profit potential for eBay Sellers and Amazon if you were lucky to get some. By the way, there was absolutely NO WAY to predict something like this in advance. (No, I didn't sell them).

(Note: Magna tiles sales are further proof that some of the toys that sell well every year are simple 'building'-type toys that allow children to use their imagination).

Miss: Air Swimmers. Their retail prices were way too high for Amazon merchants like me to profit; plus I believe they had limited appeal for the end consumer. Why? They required too much messing around with helium tanks (for more $). ToysRus' CEO claims they were a hit, but certainly demand wasn't as hot as hyped.

Miss: My Keepon - I 'drank the Kool aid' and believed the media pre-hype about this intelligent 'robot' toy, but it ultimately got lukewarm reviews and it appears that ToysRus stores had plenty in stock.

Miss: The Kindle Fire ('s 1st ballyhooed new e-reader). Both Skip Mcgrath and I predicted this would be like the earlier Kindles from previous Holidays, and become  ultra-hard-to-find. Alas, Amazon did a great job anticipating demand and kept manufacturing them, without missing a step. Thus, margins for resellers like you and me were slim to none.

Miss: LaLaLoopsy dolls: The reason these dolls were a boon for eBay and Amazon sellers last year (2010) is because last year, there were only 8 different dolls, all one size. This year, however, store shelves were full of LaLaloopsy merchandise, from Dolls to figurines to backpacks to accessories. Some consumers paid double or triple the retail price on Amazon or eBay when the craze started earlier in the season, but that was a mere flash in the pan as stock was generally plentiful and prices came back down to earth. 

See the common theme for all the 'Misses' above? They were generally 'brand new to the marketplace' items AND manufacturers released them far ahead of the Xmas season so they could guage demand and control manufacturing accordingly. Lots of Amazon and eBay sellers were hoping for the next 'Zhu Zhu' craze but that was a very unique scenario (in 2009) because they started out very small and grew to epic proportions almost overnight, creating a perceived - and real - shortage that drove prices up to $60.

So for 2012 Holiday Season, stick to finding traditional 'known' brands and characters (see my list of 'hits' above) and purchase that merchandise when it goes on sale for 50% or more (start looking in late October 2012, right through the 2nd week in December).

I am sure you have a lot to add to this (be sure to click 'Comments' below this post and contribute your story.

-Jordan Malik, Founder &


Rich at Total Synergy Fitness. said...

We did really well with the Leapster Leap Pads. Had a small inventory, and managed to sell them off at the peak for 199.99.

Rich Ringer

Rich at Total Synergy Fitness. said...

We did really well with the Leapster Leap Pads. Had a small inventory, and managed to sell them off at the peak for 199.99.

Rich Ringer

Gary Baird said...

We did most of our sourcing locally rather than buying online (there were just so many great sales in our local stores) but we had a phenomenal November and an even better December. Even though I didn't buy a ton of your online FBA finds, I used tips from you and other members in the forums and lessons I'd learned from past purchases to make smart buys.

I was very conservative with rank (tried to stay under 20,000) and ROI (looked for at least 100% unless the item was ranked under 3,000) and bought everything I could get my hands on. I'm fortunate to have multiple stores of almost every chain in my area, so we could hit multiple stores for additional merchandise.

FBA finds was critical to my early success and getting me to the point I am now. I will continue to use the site as one of many tools to build my business. Thank you for all of your time and effort.

Gary Baird

Jordan Malik said...

@Rich - the Leapster pads were a total surprise to me, this is something that was new for this year and took off like a rocket. Folks who got them at sales prices (i.e. $79, etc.) early on must have done extremely well.

Jordan Malik said...

@Gary - thanks for the kind words. Wishing you continued success! - Jordan

jennai said...

we did really love the leapster leap pads thanks for sharing