The NBA Finals were not even over for a whole two minutes before I saw, “man, Curry One prices are skyrocketing already.” It makes the Curry One the perfect example for something I think people should be talking about.
Curry’s incredible season, championship, regular season MVP award and adorable daughter have made him one of the most admired players in the league. As Dwyane Wade mentioned the other night, every kid wants to be Curry (including Wade’s sons). When it comes to performance basketball footwear the youth are going to drive the market, and as such the Under Armour Curry One has been difficult to pick up – particularly in certain colors.
There are other factors at play however, like the fact that Under Armour is not producing them at the volume consumers are used to seeing from Nike Basketball signature athletes. They are also stocked very thin outside of certain key markets. When you take something a lot of people want and you make it hard to get you create a resale market. That resale market and the prices it demands then become a barometer for a layman’s interpretation of the sneaker’s success.
Okay, so we have painted the picture: great player, great demand, somewhat limited supply, resale market established. Reselling sneakers is like any other business, you want to sell the product at the peak of its demand for as much profit as possible. eBay comes into the fold here in a number of ways. First, while there are better options (like Kixify) eBay is the largest and most recognized marketplace online for sneakers and well, anything you can think of. Listing sneakers on eBay is guaranteeing to put them in front of thousands of possible customers. Listing strategically checks priority one off the list as you are getting the sneakers to the customer at the peak of their demand.
What about the second priority? Getting the largest profit you can? eBay is actually not the best place for this (arguably) more important task. You see, eBay is notoriously expensive, riddled with flake customers who never pay on auctions they win and scammers with a myriad of tricks ready to get your sneakers and keep their money.
Enter Twitter. The intelligent reseller sees an opportunity to turn a following of people who share a hobby in collecting sneakers into a pool of customers. The audience is smaller than eBay’s but there are no fees associated with closing a sale via Twitter. How do you rectify for your smaller customer base? Drive up the demand. How do you do that? eBay.
Here is how it works, when Curry wins the MVP, Under Armour announces that their will be a limited edition MVP Curry One released. BOOM – resellers now have a high demand sneaker coming out in an even more limited number, associated with a large audience event. They acquire the sneaker and immediately they place it on eBay with a significant (or downright huge) markup. The first couple hours after the sneaker releases are pivotal. Those who literally just missed out on the sneaker are rabid for it. They will often purchase at the ridiculous prices on impulse. Once that calms down however, many resellers will begin to reduce their prices in hopes of selling on eBay. The smart resellers do not.
The smart resellers leave the high price on eBay to use as a reference when selling on other platforms. “Curry Ones go for like $650, check eBay – take these for $600 shipped.” It’s an effective tactic. Even more so when that same MVP sneaker is still listed when Curry wins his first championship. Now you hear, “Curry One prices are skyrocketing” or, “the Curry One MVP is on eBay for $800-$1000.”
Here is the thing, an eBay item can be assigned ANY price. The fact of the matter is that even the most common price does not determine the sneakers resale value. It simply creates an impression, an impression the internet eats up:
The real number that matters is the average price at which the sneaker is actually selling. eBay is being used to create a falsely exaggerated market where customers feel pressured to buy before prices continue to “climb.” Media outlets share in the eBay price reporting adding credibility to what is often simply an illusion. The fact is, as a notable reseller once told me, “a sneaker is only worth what an idiot is willing to pay for it.”
Don’t be an idiot. Never use listing pricing as anything more than conversation fodder. Services like ShoeFax can help you get more accurate price expectations by calculating it from average sale prices. In the end it is your wallet and your desire to own the sneaker that is going to drive you to buy. Resellers aren’t breaking arms forcing people to buy at inflated prices – we do so willingly, but being aware and being patient can do a lot of good for our pockets.