Scalpers, people who buy as much of a particular in-demand product as they can (like a PS5 or a graphics card) and resell it for a profit, are making millions this year. Entire organizations exist to be professional scalpers, typically feeding off of the sneaker community, but also branching out to whatever high-end product they can find. With many big releases this year, gray-market resellers have reportedly brought in at least $82 million in the last few months.
In the gaming community, the PS5’s woefully lacking retail stock has made it a particularly juicy target for scalpers and thieves alike. Famously, there were perhaps dozens of PS5 consoles that were replaced with cat food, nerf guns, or kitchen appliances when delivered through Amazon. Gangs in the UK have been taking to the streets to steal consoles and computer hardware as well.
Even though these pieces of hardware will be in production for several years, it’s not stopping excited buyers from turning to scalpers for the products that they desperately want. An analysis on the website dev.to of eBay’s various listings for actual consoles and hardware has revealed that the gray market has generated $82 million from hardware—on the conservative side.
Michael Driscoll wrote the analysis and discovered that, on average, the Xbox is selling for about 50% more than it would at a store. The PS5, though, is selling for a soul-crushing 300% more than retail. The disparity between consoles likely has to do with how much more in demand the PS5 is. Graphics cards, on the other hand, are selling for 50% more than retail, and high-end cards (like the RTX 3080) are going for 80% more.
The good news is that as supply increases, prices will go down on the gray market. Such is the case with Driscoll’s analysis of eBay’s marketplace, though the prices are still high, particularly for the PS5. As it is, it probably doesn’t help that—with supply being low—people are taking their PS5 consoles and destroying them in industrial shredders on video.
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