Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Canned Pumpkin Shortage - Big Money on eBay and Amazon!

The Northeast has had unfavorable weather conditions this year - flooding from Hurricane Irene, a wetter than normal spring, and fungus problems. The South has suffered record heat and drought. This combination of a tough growing season has caused a pumpkin shortage, which in turn, has caused a canned pumpkin shortage and rising prices.

Contrary to a press release by Libby's (the major supplier of canned pumpkin), shelves are bare in many grocery stores across the country. Back in August, Libby's stated,

“While much of the country has been suffering from unusually high temperatures this summer, the weather seems to be perfect for growing pumpkin! That’s right, thanks to Mother Nature and the hard work of the dedicated pumpkin farmers in Morton, Illinois – the pumpkin capital of the world! – Libby’s Pumpkin is happy to report that consumers will be able to find a bountiful supply of their beloved pumpkin on grocer’s shelves in plenty of time for the 2011 holiday season.”

So, you be the judge. I've checked the grocery stores in my area around Atlanta, GA. There are a few straggler cans of pumpkin, but it is far from plentiful. Retail price for a small can of pumpkin is $1.39 and for a large 29 oz can $3.69 at the stores I checked. Here are some completed listings on eBay:

Overall, there are not so many completed listings with sales on eBay.

Amazon prices are even higher and grocery items sell better on Amazon. Check out this listing:

Stats on some Amazon listings:
12 can case of 29 oz cans: SR = 37K in grocery, 9 sellers, 1 FBA, AZ does not have it

24 can case of 15 oz cans: SR= 41K in grocery, 6 sellers, no FBA, AZ does not have it

4 pack of 29 oz cans: SR= 11K in grocery, 6 sellers, no FBA, AZ does not have it

(Please note that prices may vary in different areas of the country.) Whether there is a shortage or not, people are sure paying a premium for canned pumpkin online right now. If they are buying online, the prices are steep. Seasonal products can be very lucrative - timing is everything. Check your stores and see what you can find! Be sure to do your own research on this product before stocking up to sell and understand that market conditions can change quickly.

Related posts:

The Early Bird Gets the Niche Product on eBay

Understanding Niche Markets

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1 comment:

Robert Sammons said...

As for "thinking outside the box" with finding a niche product, this is a great lesson. As for the profit margin, if you subtract the cost of shipping (this listing is offering FREE shipping like most others like it) you are not at all walking away making forty-some-dollars. Perhaps closer to $20, if not less (depending on the location of the buyer).

I would ship via UPS Ground as it would be a heck of a lot cheaper than over-inflated Priority.

Also, if you check the other ended listings similar to this, you will find that the vast majority ended without bids.

My advice, (I've been selling on eBay since 1998) is to stock up now and start selling closer to Thanksgiving. Or, if pumpkin is indeed that scarce this year and your family loves pumpkin pie like mine does, you'll be needing all you can to get you to New Years Day. :)