selling toys during christmas season on amazon

How fast does a top 5 ranked toy sell in December?

Have you ever wondered how fast one you can sell a popular toy on Amazon during the holiday season?

Selling a Toy in December

In today’s post I will be showing exactly how successful you can be when you sell a popular toy during the holiday season. The game Pie Face was an extremely popular item this past Christmas. It was sold out in many retail stores and the demand online was huge. It was consistently ranked in the top 5 for the entire toys and games category. Take a look at a graph showing the sales rank history below:

Sales rank chart from
Sales rank chart from

As you can see the rank ranged from a rank of 2 and 12 in the toys and games category on Amazon for most of December. This is an ideal situation for selling a toy during the holiday season.

My team and I were sourcing these primarily from retail stores. Wal-mart is where we were able to find the most. In total we sold a little over 150 units in Q4 of 2015. In this post, we’re going to take a look at a single day in December. That day is December 10th of 2015.

Here’s a screenshot showing that there were 33 unique orders for Pie Face on 12/10/2015:

It is also worth noting that the last sale was at 3:24PM PT.

Now, let’s take a look at when the first order for the day was:Last Sale


The first sale of the day for Pie Face was at 2:03PM. The final sale of the day for Pie Face was at 3:24PM on the 10th. In an hour and 21 minutes there were 33 unique orders for this game. There were two orders where the buyers ordered 2 units. In total 35 copies of this game sold in 81 minutes. That’s a pace of more than one unit for every 2.5 minutes.

These were selling for some pretty solid sales prices too. The game retails for $19.99. We were buying copies between $15 and $25 depending on the store we were finding them at. On December 10th we sold all of the units we had in stock at that point between $44.99 and $49.99. Here’s an example sale from the 10th:    

Selling Price


At this price point we were making between $10 and $20 per unit depending on what price we purchased them at.  In total I sold 157 copies of Pie Face between December and January.  Here’s a screenshot from InventoryLab showing the overall results:

IL sales

On the 157 orders, the total profit was $1,724.74.  Overall this was extremely solid for one item.

The goal of this post is to show what taking advantage of an especially hot item can do in December.  This was over $1700 in profit on a single item.  One other noteworthy item is that at some points there were nearly 700 different sellers on this listing during December.  That number of sellers alone deterred many sellers from jumping in.  On a toy ranked this good in December, I essentially ignore the number of other sellers on the listing.

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From my orders alone we know that 35 units sold in less than an hour and a half.  That’s only my orders though, it’s a virtual guarantee that other sellers were selling through units at this time too.  Next time you see something ranked this well, especially in December, don’t be afraid to buy as many as you can find.

If your sales are a little slower this time of year, hopefully this post serves as a good reminder of some higher sales days in your future.   That’s all I have for today.  Did you sell any Pie Face this past Q4? any questions or comments? Let me know below!

34 thoughts on “How fast does a top 5 ranked toy sell in December?”

  1. Le blogueur masqué

    Mark Davis, I would add that EVERY retailer is buying EVERY goods they sell at a price a lot lower than what we consummers pay for it by doing exactly what Ryan says… They buy for 1-5$ in China, import and resell for 150$ in the US or Canada or whatever.
    They’re buying something at the price someone is willing to sell an item for in one marketplace, and then selling it in another marketplace for a different price that someone is willing / choosing to pay.

    That’s the way capitalism works… wrong or not.

    But I definitely understand and feel the same way you do… buying a high demand toy during Chritmas time to resell it at a premium to their parents… I don’t know… it just feels painful and wrong in my head too. But it is a known fact that retailers (huge ones) used to and are probably still using this simple tactic : they fake the shortage during Christmas… thus parents have to buy something else and suddently after christmas the aisles are filled with that cool toy… so parents can buy it. That way they buy twice!

  2. So this is going to sound negative but I don’t mean to come off that way. I’m legitimately interested in hearing other people’s opinions. I came across your story online and I ended up on this blog because it sounds like something I could do to make some extra cash. I appreciate all of the free advice and knowledge you’re giving out. My main concern in starting a small business like this is that it feels sleazy. I’ve been burned before by having to pay a higher price for an item simply because someone else bought them all up (especially with people selling overpriced tickets to concerts). As a parent of small kids, I hate the idea of having to pay extra due to a fake supply shortage on items they really want for Christmas.
    I’ve always hated being on the paying end of a price mark up due to scarcity. However, I’d also like to make some extra money. You obviously look at this from a different perspective and you’ve been very successful. I get that it’s basically “first come first served” and that it takes a good amount of work in order to find highly sought after items. But buying something I’m not actually interested in just so I can sell it later for a higher price to someone who is genuinely interested in the item seems wrong. Am I thinking about this incorrectly?

    1. Hi Mark,

      Thanks for the comment. There are many ways to look at this, so I won’t try to convince you either way.

      I will say that most of the items we sell are bought at a discount as compared to retail prices, and then sold around retail prices. So this blog post is about something that we only do a small portion of the time.

      In a case like this, the way I look at it is from economic perspective of supply & demand. I’m buying something at the price someone is willing to sell an item for in one marketplace, and then selling it in another marketplace for a different price that someone is willing / choosing to pay.

      So that’s some brief thoughts from me on this. If anyone else reading this wants to share their thoughts, feel free!

      Best Regards,

  3. Hi Ryan,

    I am just getting started in Retail and Online Arbitrage and had a couple of questions. In the past week I have set up my professional seller account with Amazon, learned the gated and restricted categories and found software to automate my deal finding. Are you listing your retail products as new or used like new? Also I noticed that many of these brands won’t let you resell their products on Amazon especially as new. Is there a way to be sure you are not selling something you shouldn’t be or if something is a private label?

    1. We sell most things as “New”, but you have to make sure you are following condition guidelines very closely. If it doesn’t match the guidelines for new, you have to downgrade or sell on another platform.

      In terms of figuring out which things you are allowed to sell, using the scan tool from the Amazon Seller app on the barcode of the product is a good start.

  4. Based on your experience, how quickly would you expect product to move based on the sales ranks of: under 1000, under 10000 and under 100000.
    Thank you, Jared

    1. Hi Jared,

      Thanks for the comment.

      This varies quite a bit by different category, number of sellers, etc. It also takes a lot of experience to figure out exactly how quickly things sell. So I have no problem sharing some general guidelines, but I am unable to share specifics in a free blog post at this time.

      Best Regards,

  5. Hi Ryan, very interesting business model. In your opinion, can this work from Canada also? Thanks for sharing your journey.

    1. Hi Frank,

      I don’t have any personal experience to go from on your question, but I do think you could do something similar in Canada.

      Best Regards,

  6. Hi Ryan

    I just read an article about your success selling items on Amazon and making a six-figure profit per year. I am like you were an Accountant spending 8-9 hours in my office staring at a monitor of my computer preparing journal entries. When I read the article, it gave me a hope to change my life. I do not have experience whatsoever selling items on amazon or other similar internet-based retailers. I will appreciate any recommendation how to start my own business. Thank you


  7. I know it is a long time ago, you don’t care about the other sellers? What was the price of the other sellers? did you have the carte button?

    1. Hi Marc,

      When I sold these items, I was priced competitively with other sellers. I honestly don’t remember if I had the buy box at the time, but I’m thinking probably not as the price was so far above retail.

      Best Regards,

      1. Hi Ryan,
        I read your succes story on a German web page. I am curious, do you sell above retail price most of the time, or only around Christmas? If most of the time, how much to the retail price do you ad on top?

        All the best,

        1. Hi Swen,

          It’s a mix of both. Around Christmas is the most often time for selling above retail.

          In terms of determining the selling price, I determine that based on the current market for the item. So I start off with what it’s currently selling for on Amazon and then see if any adjustments are needed.

          Best Regards,

    1. Hi Matt,

      You can find the sales rank of an item by viewing it on the Amazon Seller App, or by visiting any product page on Amazon and scrolling down to the product information section. It will be displayed as the “best sellers rank.”

      Best Regards,

  8. Great Post Ryan! I remember when I hoped on the Angry Birds hot seller even though I came to the party late and listed it with over 100 sellers and was able to sell out of 10 that I bought in a day. That was amazing rush to double my profits. I just find it hard to come across the next hot thing. I do know this thought the Cheibaka mask I believe is going to be the next hot one. The data says I’m looking at say so.

  9. Roberto Mandanici

    Great article. What a shame that “fakes” ruin the market. I wish the marketplace would do more to deter fakers.

  10. I found Pie Face early on in September and bought it when it was selling on Amazon for $60, had maybe only 3 other Sellers and before Amazon was in stock. So of course, I bought all of them up at the one Walmart that I found them in and made a nice profit.

    Then I made the mistake of not buying anymore because of the hundreds of other Sellers on the listing during Q4. This post really taught me not to shy away from hot-selling, low-ranked items during the busy holiday season.

    1. That’s great you were able to make some profits early on. Glad to hear this post will be helpful when encountering future hot items with many sellers.

      Best Regards,

    2. I know this is a really late comment, but I’m just going through posts now.

      If you are buying from Walmart, or other brick and mortar retailers, keep your receipt and you can just return them. Reduces the risk of buying a ton and getting stuck with inventory. Amazon will likely charge you for returning unsold inventory but you’ll cut some losses by returning them.

    1. Hi William,

      95% plus of the toys I do in Q4 are FBA. On some of the higher dollar toys, or if there is a short window of opportunity, then I will merchant fulfill some of them.

      Best Regards,

        1. Hi Jesse,

          Yes it just means you ship the item directly to the customer yourself. Also for future reference, this page on my site has a list of most acronyms / terms related to selling on Amazon.

          Best Regards,

  11. Great post! I love information like this, because so many times I watch people argue about the merits of jumping in or out of hot items (like Chewbacca mask right now, for instance).

    I am a fan of jumping in and out quickly, if possible, and making the best decisions with the info at hand. This post gives some great insight for the weeks leading to Christmas.

    1. Wow, that’s awesome Jason! The fakes starting to appear definitely took some of the fun out of it.

      Best Regards,

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