Retail

EBay touts sale of rare Air Jordan sneakers as it looks to solidify its place with collectors

Key Points
  • Online marketplace eBay is rolling out 60 Air Jordan sneakers per day through Friday.
  • The secondary sneaker market is valued at $2 billion after rapid growth.
  • Collectors increasingly looking at sneakers as an alternative asset class.
Source: eBay

EBay has dropped one of its largest collections of Air Jordans in the e-commerce company's history, as it looks to broaden its reach in the $2 billion secondary sneaker market, which is seeing rapid growth during the coronavirus pandemic.

In recent days, it has been rolling out 60 sneakers per day from seller "shoezeum," owned by Jordy Geller, the Guinness World Record holder for largest collection of sneakers and owner of the former Las Vegas shoe museum. The auction, which ends Friday, spans Michael Jordan shoes through the ages.

Source: eBay

The collection includes the first-ever Air Jordan Retros from 1994 as well as a pair of OG Air Jordan 14 1998 in the style that Jordan wore when he hit his last shot as a Chicago Bulls player. There also is a pair of OG Jordan 11 XI 1995 in the style that he wore in the 1995-96 playoffs, when Jordan won his fourth championship, and a pair of the OG Columbia Blue Air Jordan 11 1995 like he wore in the 1995-96 All Star Game.

The collection is more than 30 years old and every shoe is brand new in the original boxes, eBay said. This is the first time the inventory has been made available for purchase. Prices for the sneakers listed currently range from $99.99 to $1,625.

Wooing sneaker collectors

For eBay, the auction is part of a larger strategy as sneakers are surging in popularity and remain a top category for the online marketplace. EBay sells millions of sneakers per year, making it one of the largest marketplaces for sneaker sales with more than a half a million sneaker listings alone each day, according to 2019 sales data.

Yet sites like StockX and GOAT continue to take share as the pandemic has left collectors with more free time to browse collections and less availability to shop in person. In October, StockX CEO Scott Cutler told CNBC that his site did three times the sales in their latest quarter compared with last year.

Source: eBay

"EBay sees an opportunity to come into the market here to participate in what is a very hot category, but it's hard for me to see them competing with the user base and network that StockX has built," said John Kernan, a research analyst and managing director covering the retail and consumer brands sector for Cowen.

Authentication is top of mind

One of the key differentiators, up until last month, was StockX's authentication features, which gave buyers and sellers more peace of mind that they weren't dealing with fakes.

To combat that, eBay launched its own authenticity guarantee program last month for all new and preowned collectible sneakers sold valued at more than $100. The third-party service is expected to help attract more top sneaker sellers and bring more inventory to the marketplace.

Nike Two 3
Source: eBay

"Authentication has become an expectation for today's consumers in categories of high passion and high value," said Jordan Sweetnam, senior vice president and general manager of eBay North America, in a statement.

Cowen estimated that the sneaker resale market could reach $30 billion globally by 2030. The rapid growth has been led by that coveted 18- to 24-year-old demographic, but the pandemic has helped the category expand to a new segment of users, including investors.

"The demand is there from a wide range of consumers and I think people are making a lot of money and having a lot of fun doing so," said Kernan.

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StockX sees soaring sales during the pandemic