Playstation 5 – PS5 Scalpers Don’t Understand Why You’re Giving Them So Much Money
Adam is a student and a prolific reseller of any in-demand product like sneakers, collectable cards and Disney dolls, but Sony’s hard-to-get PlayStation 5 console has been his sole focus for the last three months. His highest sale was for the digital version of the PS5 in January, which went for £720. The recommended retail price is £359.
But, in an interview, Adam admitted to me that customers paying that high mark-up has baffled him. “I personally don’t understand why anyone would pay over the odds for a console that will sit on shelves in a few months but that’s me.
“People are just being children because they can’t get something they want. It’s funny because in some of these groups there are chat rooms where people post their interactions with angry customers and it’s hilarious.”
Adam is referring to cook groups, which are private communities that advise paying members on how to scalp. It’s via these groups that he gets advance information on upcoming PS5 stock drops, which he claims has earned him £1500 profit from five sales. Adam also told me that members of his cook group have received “death threats and horrible, racist, homophobic comments” from customers.
Adam isn’t the only one who doesn’t understand why people are clambering to pay marked-up prices. Another seller I spoke with called Rak, also a student making some extra cash, told me that they are “not sure why people are paying those amounts for a console that within six months I believe will be readily available.” Continuing: “I don’t understand why people are so angry about ‘scalpers’ because many people do it in all forms.”
Rak went on to explain that they bought their PS5 from Amazon but didn’t respond to a question about how many consoles they had sold. Their listing history on eBay showed at least four PlayStation 5 units – both disc and digital – and two Xbox Series X consoles sold, alongside expensive handbags and in-demand sneakers.
But PS5 buyers may be fighting back against resellers. Rak claimed that some bidders have won his auctions and then cancelled the order. “Sadly there are many jealous people around so they decided to cancel my order today,” he said.
Another eBay seller called Sean told me this has happened several times to him. “I’ve sold the item three times this weekend all to zero-feedback bidders who have bid more than the average price for a PS5 and then not paid.”
Although Sean suspects this is other scalpers trying to artificially inflate the price of the console on eBay, some Redditors I spoke with on a PS5 sub admitted to doing this as an act of revenge, whilst others praised the activity. I also went through 10 imminently-ending auctions on eBay, clicked on bids, and found three listings with either zero-feedback bidders winning or competing.
Sean says this only happens with the PS5. “So these zero bidders have also wasted my time by buying and not paying, which means if I relist it now I will have to pay eBay 10% final value fee as opposed to just £1 if I had sold it over the weekend.
“I legitimately believe there is something fishy going on. I’ve sold other music equipment and have never experienced zero feedback, no-paying buyers to this extent.”
The tide is turning
Outside of revenge bids on eBay, the resell market appears to be cooling down. PS5 resellers might be living on borrowed time as more consoles become available according to data from secondary market site StockX.
The website, which is famed for selling sneakers, shared in-depth data with me that reveals prices are dropping from a peak just after the console launch in November.
“PS5 prices were at their highest during Cyber Weekend in November, but in the days following, we saw prices adjust back to their pre-Black Friday levels. Prices continued to fall over the next months, and today, PS5 console prices are at their lowest point to date. The average resale price of PS5s on StockX has decreased by 20% since Nov.” Jesse Einhorn, StockX senior economist, told me over email.
There’s also disparity in resell prices and popularity between disc, digital and the new Xbox Series X. Here are some key data points from StockX.
- The PS5 consoles have seen a steeper resale price decline than the Xbox consoles, which have fallen between 10% and 15% since November. When they first released, the PS5 Digital Edition was reselling for nearly $100 more than the Xbox Series X, whereas today, they are reselling for roughly the same price (~$670).
- Over the last month (February 8th – March 8th) the average resale price of the PS5 on StockX has decreased by $70.
- The PlayStation 5 consoles are currently selling at 40-70% above retail. At their peak on Cyber Weekend, the PS5 consoles were selling at 100% – 150% above retail.
- The best-selling PS5 model is the PS5 Blu-Ray edition (US Plug), and StockX has sold over 60,000 units since launch.
The overall trend suggests that resell prices will continue to fall, which could be bad news for scalpers who have failed to shift their units so far, either because of fake bidders or the impending over-supply. Adam tells me he’s not concerned about resell prices dropping – “I will keep reselling them until they are constantly available as it is just free money at this point.” Sean, however, has given up and decided to keep the PS5 he failed to shift. “I thought I would sell it due to the inflated prices and maybe pick one up again when the consoles were more readily available. As the prices are dropping, I thought I might as well keep it.”