THE cost-of-living crisis shows no sign of abating and canny Brits are turning to selling their unwanted items online to make extra money, with eBay revealing the biggest sellers for the last year if you wish to take a tip and do the same.

As Simply Red might say…?

Money’s too tight to mention? Almost. Inflation may have fallen in December for a second month, to 10.5 per cent, according to data from the Office for National Statistics, but it remains at one of the highest levels for the last 40 years, with a near 17% rise in the cost of food keeping pressure heaped on already straining households. 

And so?

Many are doing as much as possible to save and to bring in additional funds to help cope, with new analysis showing many Brits are turning to eBay to boost their coffers. Analysts at Wholesale Clearance UK – a British wholesaler, supplying goods to trade and the public, selling bankrupt and surplus stock, as well as end-of-line clearances - conducted research on eBay's top-grossing categories and brands of the last year to find what is selling best.

In the top spot?

Knocking watches off the top spot, laptops and notebooks in the “electronics” category moved from 28th in 2021 to become the biggest earners for eBay sellers in 2022, with nearly £107 million grossed from the sale of 343,000 items between December 2021 and December 2022. The devices sold for an average of £256. The leap in sales could indicate the sudden urgency for cash or workers selling off devices as they return to offices post-lockdown.

So watches were the second-best seller?

They were, with watches seen as a rising investment category. More than £105.3 million was grossed from the sales of nearly 1 million items, with £64.7 million grossed from Rolex sales alone. On average, watches sold for £86.52 each and the highest-grossing single item was a Richard Mille Boutique Limited Edition of 50 pieces RM055 watch, which sold for £380,000. According to the research, the global pre-owned watch market could surpass the luxury watch segment by 2025 as consumers invest in timeless pieces.

The other big sellers?

Women's dresses in the “fashion" category was the third highest-grossing product type, collectively earning sellers £82 million from 4.4 million individual sales. The dresses sold for an average price of £15. The most expensive dress was a Gucci Kaftan Style Dress that went for more than its original retail price of over £10,000.

What else?

Bikes were the fourth biggest seller – with £70.5 million grossed in the last year from the sale of 207,000 individual items – followed by vinyl records in fifth place, making £55.7 million overall from the sale of 2.36 million individual sales at an average price of £19.35. Books grossed £46 million on the online marketplace from over five million individual sales at an average price of £6.72 – also the most sold product on eBay.

The most expensive sales?

Aside from the top spot Mille watch, a 2018 Battle of Hastings 1066 50p coin sold for £70,000 and a Case Puma 215 Tractor 2014 made £60,000. Meanwhile the top-grossing brands are the same as the previous year, with Apple and Samsung first and second with £425 million and £124 million grossed overall. However, Rolex beat Lego to the third position with £64.7 million grossing over £53.6 million. The most sold brands on eBay last year were Apple with 15 million sales, Huawei at 2.7 million and Lego at 2.1 million. Other big brands were Samsung, Pandora and Hornby.


Wholesale Clearance say for businesses looking to flog inventory, or individuals looking to make some quick cash, “you might already be sitting on items that have a surprisingly high value”, adding: “For example, the sudden boom in coin collecting has caused rare editions to become a commodity. And because they’re everywhere, there’s a likelihood individuals are harbouring rare coins without them even knowing, so it’s worth checking behind the sofa and using rare coin sites to see if you have any matches.”

A spokeswoman added: “With art also growing to be a trending commodity – especially online – vinyl records are proving lucrative. The percentage of new vinyl records is low at 33%, exposing a growing market for trading vintage items. Because vinyl records hold their value, and specific artwork and musical artists are highly desirable, trading them is easy and profitable if you can find the right products.


Wristwatches are also surprisingly profitable. Because high-end watches diminish very little in value and retail value is high, you don’t have to sell many of them to gross highly. With 1.5 million wristwatch sales on eBay – and a grossing figure ten times that – keeping an eye on this market can turn over sizeable profits.”