Box of Twinkies

Box of Twinkies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hostess announced that they were going out of business a few days ago and, as you’d expect, it had a huge impact on the marketplace. Hostess related collectibles such as Wonder Bread, Twinkies and Ding Dongs (even though, as we all know, the only Hostess snack cake worth eating was Drake’s Funny Bones) got a huge boost in price almost immediately as you’d expect. And, of course, people immediately rushed their local grocery stores, stocked up on Hostess related products, especially cult favorite Twinkies, and starting selling them for exorbitant prices on eBay.


Put another way, any Hostess related product got a huge boost in price as soon as the news hit making them trend. In a similar way, in a few days when people either forget this story or the inevitable other company steps in, buys these iconic products and starts making them again, the prices you’re seeing now will plummet. While these items will always still hold a value (especially the collectibles), the value of the products will go down significantly once grocery stores have them in stock again or people forget. If you’re a seller and you don’t take advantage of this trend now, there will most certainly be a point when you’ll be too late.

In a similar but on a much larger scale way, let’s talk about vampires. Vampires are clearly still popular especially with The Vampire Diaries and True Blood both television cult favorites and the Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part 2 leading the box office this weekend. But they’re already nowhere as popular as they were a few years ago when anything vampire related was a huge seller from teeth necklaces to True Blood, a real drink based off the bottled blood from the series. Vampire stuff still sells, but most of those products are sitting in clearance. Vampires are clearly on the way out, just ask any literary agent. Books about vampires are publisher poison right now.

I could give you thousands of examples of this. Think about the huge price increases on Princess Di, Steve Irwin and Micheal Jackson related items after their deaths, the flurry of generator sales in the wake of the recent hurricanes or the wild bidding wars for newspapers reporting the historic election of Barack Obama. All of those items rode on the wave of a trend and reached prices the like of which they never saw before or after. If you’re a seller who’s been burned by these trends, you know the agony of selling an item a day before you could have tripled the price or the frustration of having a buyer back out, only to be unable to sell the item for that same price even days later because the trend was already waning.

My point here is: When it comes to selling, especially online, sometimes timing is everything.

Or is it? Check out the counterpoint.

But, in the meantime, have you ever benefited or been screwed over by a trend that effected your online buying or selling?