DBZ Heat Reactive Mug Trend

Dragon Ball Z Mug eBay Bubble Data Analysis

Dollar Flipper Ebay Research 20 Comments

In August’s profit update, reader Jesse mentioned that he had started a bubble. The item was a limited edition Dragon Ball Z Heat Activated mug and was only available from Hot Topic stores. Jesse had found that a sale at the store made it really profitable! He posted over on Reddit, and the whole thing kind of blew up.

I combed through ~460+ sales and analyzed the data. I compare of sales over time,  auctions vs. BIN, and impact of free shipping or TRS.

First, there are a few caveats on the data:

  • I didn’t include international sales because the shipping got weird. There were only 4 and all were from Canada.
  • I only included the sold price for Best Offers. I didn’t want to think about both prices.
  • I only looked at new mugs that were selling as individuals. There was one broken and a few pairs/sets that sold – these were left out. A lot of 6 did sell for $250!
  • If a listing was an Auction/BIN, I only counted it as a BIN.

I had to use Watch Count to find out the best offer prices for most sales. eBay has really obfuscated this information recently, but I’m not sure why.

One seller had 40 mugs sold! He must have gone to all the Hot Topics within 50 miles of his house!

In total, there’s been over $27,000 in sales on eBay alone for these mugs. That blows my mind!

It’s interesting to see a bubble right as it happens, especially on eBay. I’ve heard of this happening on Amazon all the time. Someone posts a “BOLO” from Rite Aid or Target and 200 people all go out to their local store to grab the item. All of a sudden, the “hot” item becomes routine and the price plummets.

Also interesting to look at the listings that are available on Amazon right now.

DBZ Heat Activated Mugs Amazon

Sometimes, people on Amazon who are the 2nd or 3rd down from the top will buy out all of the first person’s and re-sell those.

Overall Stats

MaxMinAverageStd Dev
 $     208.95 $        30.00 $            60.98 $            17.58

I’d have loved to be the $200+ sale! On average the mugs sold for $64.60 +/- $17.78. When you’re buying them at about $12, you’d be making ~$30 profit (assuming $20 in fees plus shipping). Not too shabby especially for such a quick turnaround. I currently aim for $20 profit, but I also try not to buy things for $12.

Trend Over Time

DBZ Heat Reactive Mug Trend

little drop at the end

It looks like the mugs are starting to dip now. Selling for ~$50 total instead of the original $60. If you can still find them, it probably wouldn’t hurt if you’re into this kind of thing.

Free Shipping?

Free ShippingAverage of Total (Sale + Shipping)Count
No $                   61.98154
Yes $                   60.46292
Grand Total
 $                   60.98446

OK, the free shipping debate is hot and heavy between eBay sellers. For some reason, people get way too emotional about it (myself included). I’m on the free shipping side. eBay claims that you’ll have 11% more sales if you offer Fast n Free. It’s definitely easier to do free shipping if you have routine items or similar sized items (think clothing).

I think the data shows two things. The free shipping people made more sales, but the people who charged shipping made an extra $1.50 per sale.

Honestly, it’s a lot closer than I would have thought. Both seem to work fine.

Can we put this argument to rest now?

One thing that I’d have liked to compare would be whether or not calculated vs. fixed shipping works better. I’m not able to do this after the fact though.

Auction vs. BIN

Auction/BINAverage of Total (Sale + Shipping)Count
Auction $                   58.60210
BIN $                   63.10236
Grand Total $                   60.98446

Take that Auction people! You’d expect a BIN to go a bit higher, but I’m sure they took a little longer to sell. The highest BIN sale was $208.95, and the highest Auction was $119.95. So it just goes to show you, the fast money isn’t always worth it. We’re talking about less than a month of sales!

Free Shipping and Auction/BIN

 Free Shipping?Average of Total (Sale + Shipping)Count
Auction$                   58.60210
No$                   59.65110
Yes$                   57.46100
BIN$                   63.10236
No$                   67.8044
Yes$                   62.02192
Grand Total$                   60.98446

Here’s the breakdown of free shipping in auction listings vs. BIN listings. Within BIN, those listings without free shipping sold for the highest amount (about $5 above the next highest).  However, there were fewer number of sales in this category in comparison to all the other categories.

I’m not sure what is driving this difference.  It’s not possible to tell whether there were just fewer listings that were BIN/free shipping that all sold out or if they actually weren’t selling well. I could look at eBay listings that are still up, but it wouldn’t tell the whole story so I’m not jumping to any conclusions here.

Top Rated Seller Impact

TRS?Average of TotalCount
Auction$                   58.60210
No$                   58.35200
Yes$                   63.6010
BIN$                   63.10236
No$                   63.25206
Yes$                   62.0530
Grand Total$                   60.98446

Well, I’m not sure what to take away from this. TRS sellers did sell for slightly higher for auctions but not for BIN. They also had a higher percentage of BIN sales.  TRS sellers only sold 40 of the 446 mugs that went on eBay. Again, I don’t want to jump to any conclusions about sell through rate for this. It may just be that there are less TRS sellers on eBay?

In the end though, I’m going to be about a month late on this wagon, but I’m going to swing by the local Hot Topic today to see if they have any mugs. It seems like the bubble flattened out to something that’s still profitable. I’m already headed over to the post office, so what do I have to lose?

Worst case, I have a kick ass mug!

Update: I did run to my Hot Topic, and they let me know they ran out right after they went on the shelves.

Overall, this has led me to realize that getting data from eBay is a pain in the ass. I’m looking into figuring out queries on their API, so who knows. Ideally what I would do is create a tool to export search results into a spreadsheet. If I do figure it out, I’ll make sure to talk about it here since I think it could be really helpful for market research!

For anyone interested in the data set, here you go!


Comments 20

  1. Good chart and data, i sold 23 mugs for pretty much an average of $60 each mug. Led me to about 33-35 profit on each mug and they all sold within 1 day of me listing them as the lowest buy it now

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  2. I was able to get 1 at 1 store, 7 at another and another 15 online when they randomly popped back up for 2 hours one night

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      That’s awesome. We only have the one close to us. I’m just wondering who bought them so I could go on a sourcing trip with them!

  3. Wow, you put so much work into this analysis. Thanks for that and for sharing it with the rest of us. Greatly appreciated!

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      Well, I missed out buying them so I was living vicariously through the sellers who made the profits. 🙂

  4. The $25.00 guy on Amazon appeared after Hot Topic’s last stock all sold out. He’s not likely to actually receive any of them. He was not there when I sold mine on there, and he appeared the day after my stock sold out. He started with listing them as coming end of September, now he’s backed it to end of October. It could be possible that he’s just trying to block other people from selling them for significantly more than they were originally sold for .. or perhaps he does have information about stock coming back in at Hot Topic, or perhaps he has a source from the original manufacturer.

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      Appreciate it! I don’t dabble in this kind of merchandise too often, but I find the whole process fascinating.

  5. Great post. But halfway down my eyes were getting crossed. That’s too much analytics for me. My hubby is very analytical, I like things to be simple..maybe it’s a girl thing. I see only the guys posted! 😉

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      Hah! The best part is that my wife read this and said “this isn’t like your usual posts…” And she’s the one who loves doing statistics for her PhD. Even though she’s graduated she still gets requests from her lab to help out with stats. But she didn’t like this post either!

  6. Anybody selling a dragon Ball Z cup? Ill buy it. HAHA. Good bubble, next time let me know before the bubble happens, ill go to Hot topics.

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  8. Since I’m new to your blog, how would I find HOT TOPICS that is mentioned in your post?

    1. Hot Topic is found in most large malls. It specializes in music and pop-culture.

  9. Awesome post!! It all came from a FB post I saw at 8pm and thought I’d get a few since I couldn’t find anywhere they could be sold except for 1 listing on eBay so I ran out the door and hit both my town’s Hot Topics. Posted while out the door and and mugs started selling before I even got to the second Hot Topic. Posted a BOLO on Reddit the next day. I didn’t make as much as some of the people there but my stock went pretty quick. I had 9 mugs (and due to the store’s BOGO 50%) only paid about $10 per mug and sold them for $60+. Totally made my week 😉

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      That’s still a great return when you can list the item once! I’d be happy with that for every one of my sales…

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