Readers in the US may have seen ads for the Lilly Pulitzer collection at Target. On Sunday, April 19, this collection launched with many Target stores having queues that resembled those for Black Friday sales. Most products sold out within a few minutes of the store openings. Online was no better, and items lasted as long as they did mainly due to technical difficulties.
With demand far exceeding supply, it’s not surprising that shoppers were upset that a very large number of items have appeared on eBay at a much higher price than retail. You can read plenty of discussion on this if you follow the Twitter hashtag #LillyforTarget or do an Internet search.
Because of the shopping frenzy (and my wife's interest in the brand), I was curious about how close the secondary market prices are to reaching the prices you would pay for items directly from Lilly Pulitzer, which are typically made with different materials, and potentially have a larger variety of prints.
I found 10 different Lilly Pulitzer for Target items that closely resembled items on the Lilly Pulitzer website. I chose a variety of items from the Target collection, and the two sets of items passed my wife’s “close-enough-to-the-same” test. I collected data for 30-50 sold listings on eBay of each item from the evening of April 20, and took the median of the total price (cost + shipping). For most items, this consisted of all listings that had enough of a description in the title so that I didn’t need to go to the item description. The median seemed more a reasonable choice than the mean, since it accounts for people who might have picked up items locally to save on shipping, and also accounts for a few outliers on the high end.
Visualizing data in Graph Builder
I decided to look at a slope graph that showed Target’s original price, the eBay price and the Lilly Pulitzer price. I knew this would be easy to do in Graph Builder, especially if I had my columns set up ahead of time: one for Item, one for “group” (categorical with Target original/eBay and Lilly), and finally price. Double-clicking on the legend in Graph Builder allowed me to quickly change the ordering to the way I wanted it. The resulting graph is below.
Not surprisingly, the eBay prices are higher than the original Target prices, but for the most part, they are not hitting the same prices as buying from Lilly Pulitzer. While the Target dresses are commanding a premium on eBay, they are still cheaper than buying them from Lilly Pulitzer. It’s also interesting to note that the flip flops in the pattern I looked at must be very popular, as they are going for more on eBay versus comparable ones on the Lilly Pulitzer website (unless my comparable just wasn’t very comparable).
Another way to look at this is to consider the Target prices in relation to the Lilly Pulitzer costs, to see if there’s some type of trend -- whether it be outperforming items, or whether items that are cheaper relative to Lilly to begin with see larger increases when sold on eBay.
From this, I found no striking differences. But the flip flops, shorts and scarf are seeing slightly bigger increases, while the tunic and girls maxi dress are not quite as much.
Unless you are desperate for the Target prints, it doesn't make sense to buy many of these items on eBay. There’s not that big of a leap to simply buy the Lilly Pulitzer products (with the exception of the dresses), or wait for one of Lilly Pulitzer’s big sales (where the items sell out within minutes as well).
While I was collecting the data, my wife pointed out that Lilly Pulitzer online doesn’t have items in XXL. Naturally, this begs the question if there’s a difference in the realized prices on eBay. I will look into this for one of the dresses in my next post… .Thanks for reading!