eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) is highlighting its appeal to collectors with special auctions of rare Nike (NYSE:NKE) Air Jordan sneakers. The company has been adding roughly 60 new shoe listings a day since Nov. 4 and will continue to do so through Nov. 13.
While some sneakers in the auctions will likely wind up selling at about $100 a pair, some iconic and much-sought designs have already been bid to much higher prices. The Air Jordan 1 Retro from 1994, for example, has a top bid of $4,100 as of this writing, with roughly seven days of bidding still remaining. Some of the auction action is eye-catching, but the rare sneaker listings are just a small part of a broader e-commerce initiative at eBay.
Online shoe sales are surging, and eBay likely sees an opportunity to help build its position in the space by appealing to enthusiasts. The secondary sneaker market does $2 billion in annual sales, according to a report on eBay's Air Jordan auctions published today by CNBC.
It might surprise some investors to learn there's a sizable industry revolving around the collection of sneakers. High-profile Air Jordan releases attract long lines on drop days and sell out quickly, leading to secondary collectors markets.
eBay is aiming to solidify itself as a go-to destination for secondary footwear and apparel markets and continue capturing the growth happening there, but it's facing competition from more specialized platforms. Auction events like the one it's holding for the lot of rare Air Jordans won't generate meaningful revenue for the company directly, but they will get collectors talking.