Oh, scalpers. The bane of everyone’s life and one of the main forces behind the scarcity of next-generation console and PC hardware. Gamers were frustrated this year not only with the competitive process of getting a standard-priced console from retailers, but also with the sky-high second-hand prices set by scalpers looking to turn a profit.
So exactly how much did scalpers make from this new set of hardware? Data engineer Michael Driscoll made an analysis that tried to answer the question (via Tom’s Hardware). He processed eBay sales for PS5 and Xbox consoles, as well as AMD and Nvidia graphics cards, and noted the average percentage of the manufacturer’s suggested price (MSRP) for which a particular hardware type was sold. Keep in mind that he only picked up US quotes, so it’s not an estimate of the global resale market.
To no surprise, scalpers were killing the PS5, especially the standard version. Since November, more than 250% of the suggested retail price has been consistently sold. When you consider that a standard PS5 edition costs $ 500, it means people were consistently paying over $ 1,250 for a console. Driscoll noted, “More than 32,000 PS5s have been sold on eBay, with the result that scalpers have generated $ 19 million in profit.” The diskless edition sold more than 125% MSRP and with a maximum of 200% MSRP, staying between $ 500 and $ 800.
Interestingly enough, Driscoll noted that the PS5 sold about 13% more units in the eBay resale market than the Xbox Series X and at an 18% higher cost. But if you are concerned about the profit margin of scalpers on the Xbox next-gen consoles, don’t be. The Series X has consistently sold more than 140% MSRP – so more than $ 700 – since its launch date, and sold more than the Series S. In total, Driscoll estimates that scalpers made $ 9 million reselling Xbox Series X and Series S.
Concluding his analysis, Driscoll notes that since September, scalpers have made $ 82 million in sales and $ 39 million in profit from next-gen consoles, as well as new Nvidia and AMD hardware. Although not all of the profits ended up in the pockets of the resellers; eBay and PayPal have cut approximately $ 6.6 million and $ 2.4 million respectively.
The reseller market is likely to be much bigger as people are also selling items on Facebook Marketplace, Twitter DMs, and more casual platforms. Driscoll conservatively assumes that the real scalping market is at least 2-5x bigger. That means, scalpers as a whole have likely made a lot more on top of Driscoll’s eBay analysis.