eBay Australia’s ‘5 Minute Sales’ Incite Short Bursts of Shopping Activity

By Katherine Gray | 12 Aug 2014

Looking to capitalise on the shrinking attention span of consumers, eBay Australia has announced plans for a different sales technique. Referred to as ‘snack shopping’, the latest sales tactic targets 18-29 year olds.

Online marketplace, eBay recently launched ‘5 Minute Sales’ and plans to make the time-based sale a weekly event. The strategy sees an hour of discounts offered on selected goods between 8pm – 9pm every Sunday night.

With the release of one product every five minutes and each item on sale for only five minutes, the tactic certainly takes the term ‘limited time offer’ to the extreme.

The selected products have been handpicked by retailers to be quickly and easily purchased on any device or screen, further encouraging the sometimes frenzied nature of time-based sales.


eBay’s 5 minute sale experiment, every Sunday.

The latest strategy is the result of research which found that short attention spans, omni-channel consumerism and an always-online presence are the defining characteristics of today’s savvy shopper. With customers shopping in short bursts, using any device and in any location, the ‘5 Minute Sales’ experience is set to suit changing consumer needs and habits when shopping online.

Pertaining to Australian 18-29 year olds, the research also found this demographic were the most eager shoppers. With an increase in multi-channel shopping and the growing use of portable devices, customers now desire the ability to shop online in shorter and more convenient time frames, hence the term ‘snack shopping.’

Other Highlights from the Research:

  • 76% shop online once a week
  • 63% shop in bed, 73% shop in front of the TV and 38% shop while at work
  • One in three shop online on the bus or train on their smartphone or tablet
  • One in five shop online while out socialising with friends/family on their smartphone or tablet
  • One in four shop online on their smartphone or tablet while on the toilet
  • One in five shop online while walking down the street on their smartphone

eBay isn’t the first retailer to explore time-based sales tactics. With online retailers such as Catch of the Day and Mynetsale employing a similar strategy, the short term availability of affordable prices isn’t an entirely new tactic. The move is a first for the retailer and it’s unique spin on the standard strategy is a unique approach.

While there’s no available data indicating any early success of ‘5 Minute Sales’, eBay’s place as one of Australia’s largest online shopping destinations is undeniably a great testing ground. With over 7.3 million unique users, the strategy is reasonably low risk for the retailer and is an appropriate response to the changing retail market.


2 thoughts on “eBay Australia’s ‘5 Minute Sales’ Incite Short Bursts of Shopping Activity”

  1. Matt Bowden says:

    Thanks Katherine – Interesting stuff.

    I don’t suppose you can link to the eBay research or at the very least cite it?

    1. Hi Matt,

      eBay have told us that the results from this particular study were not published as a standalone report, however they may be part of a larger Ipsos report. We’ll be sure to provide a link should this be the case.

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