Scalping is a big problem. One Data Engineer became so frustrated at being unable to get his hands on some of the latest technology that he decided to analyse eBay’s sold listings to find out just how big a problem it is. As noticed by Tom’s Hardware, Michael Driscoll worked out nearly 33,000 PlayStation 5 consoles had been sold on eBay in November. They’d generated a huge profit of $19 million between them.
Driscoll only analysed sales made in the US. Despite this, there were 7,322 digital-only PlayStation 5 consoles and 25,642 disc consoles sold in November. This is a total of 32,964 consoles, and these were selling at huge prices too. The median price of a digital-only console was $937 over the entire period. For a disc console, the median price was $1,021. With their retail prices standing at $399 and $499 respectively, this meant they were going for more than 200% of their retail price. The result was a profit of nearly $4.3 million on digital-only consoles and $14.7 million on disc consoles, a total of just over $19 million in the US alone.
The story was similar for the Xbox Series consoles too. Nearly 30,000 Xbox Series consoles were sold on eBay during the same period according to the data, and the Xbox Series X outsold the Xbox Series S by a ratio of 3:1. Between them, they made a profit of just over $10 million, although the markup on Xbox consoles was lower at an average of 160% of their retail price.
There seem to be a lot of desperate people trying to get their hands on a PS5 or Xbox console before Christmas. There were already stories circling of prices going as high as $5,000 and individuals making $40,000 in one week, not to mention scalping groups acquiring huge stashes of consoles; these numbers just make it clear how big the problem is becoming. With a willing market pout there, the problem isn’t going away anytime soon either.