Zara tulip dresses are selling on eBay for more than double the retail price: WHY?

OK, can someone please explain this to us?

From the Zara website, yesterday:


And from eBay, also yesterday:


Can you spot the difference between these two dresses?

Other than the fact that one is £69.99, and the other is £150, we mean?

That’s right, there isn’t one.

And we wish we could say this was an isolated incident, but the fact is: it’s not. There are dozens of these dresses on eBay, being bid up to extraordinarily high prices considering the fact that:

a) They’re from Zara

b) YOU CAN STILL BUY SOME OF THEM IN STORE FOR £69.99.

Not all of them, granted. Some of these Zara tulip dresses have, in fact, sold out in the store, such as this floral print number, which is no longer available:


In this case, there is another explanation for the high eBay price of the dress. We call it the “Olivia Palermo effect”:

[Image: PRPhotos.com]

Olivia isn’t the only celebrity to show a preference for Zara and its dresses in recent months. Both Kate Middleton and sister Pippa have been spotted in Zara this year, as have a string of other celebs, and this has, if the media is to be believed, sparked a buying frenzy which means that although the dress below, as seen on Pippa Middleton, was last seen on the Zara sale rack, priced at £19.99, certain eBay sellers are offering it for considerably more than that (a little optimistically, it would seem: this dress isn’t quite reaching the giddy heights of the tulip dresses. Sorry, Pippa.).

What is this madness, we want to know? Where does it come from? And don’t get us wrong: we love Zara. We like all of the dresses pictured on this page. But, bearing in mind that the purple dress pictured at the top of the page is still available in all sizes on the Zara website (or was at the time of writing), we just can’t understand why people would pay more than twice the price for it. We realise Zara doesn’t ship to all countries, and that if you don’t have easy access to a store, eBay may be your only option, but even so: we’re perplexed.

Now, we were going to ask why eBay sellers are charging £150 for a dress that is available in-store for £69.00, but the answer to that one is pretty obvious: they’re doing it because they can. Because consumers really are willing to pay that much extra. Which brings us to our next set of questions:

Is the media hype so effective that people will spend almost £100 than the retail price of a garment just because it’s been deemed the next “must have” item? Are we all so desperate to dress like celebrities that we’re willing to buy their clothes at any price? Are these dresses selling for so much A) because certain celebrities have been seen wearing them, B) because the media has hyped the fact that certain celebrities have been seen wearing them, or C) because the people who buy them just really, really like the designs?

Finally: would you pay £150 for a £70 Zara dress?

13 Comments

  • July 19, 2011

    Caroline

    Never in a million years. I see the same thing happening with Primark dresses – £10 in store, £40 on ebay – and it makes the mind boggle!

    BUT, England truly is, as Napoleon said, a nation of shopkeepers, and as entrepreneurs, we’ll always find ways to take money off the stupid. I say well played to the ebay sellers on this occasion!

    View Comment
    • July 19, 2011

      The Fashion Police

      Yeah, I don’t blame the sellers – it’s the idea of people being willing to pay that much more that I don’t really get: and I say that as a huge fan of Zara and its dresses!

      View Comment
  • July 19, 2011

    Zoe

    I don’t know *why* people do it, but the other day I saw someone selling pre-owned Old Navy flip flops on eBay for eight dollars. Now, sure, eight dollars is hardly a fortune, but where I live (and across the US to my knowledge) all summer you can buy two pairs of flip flops for just five dollars at Old Navy. I am glad to say that at least their were no bids.

    View Comment
    • July 19, 2011

      The Fashion Police

      Ah, this would perhaps be part of the “well worn shoes” thing on eBay – they sell for high prices *because* they’ve been used, and there are certain people who, er, enjoy a pair of well-worn shoes. If you can claim that they’ve been well worn by cabin crew, you can get even more for them, apparently. If you have the stomach for it, do an eBay search for “well worn shoes” and you’ll see what I mean 🙂

      View Comment
      • July 20, 2011

        Itzel

        Hahaha, it’s good to know I can make a profit of old shoes! The bin won’t miss them.

        View Comment
  • July 19, 2011

    Ana Zilio

    I hate this kind of thing, it’s not fair. And I would never pay for it, despite Zara here in Brazil sell their itens so expensive as this eBay seller.

    View Comment
  • July 19, 2011

    Kookakicha

    I agree that the buyers are at fault. If there weren’t some idiots who would actually pay for that, the sellers would have to lower it, understanding that nobody is stupid enough to pay that price.
    When the dress is sold out, I could understand it or if the place where the buyer lives has no Zara or whatever.

    View Comment
    • October 17, 2012

      Mulher Fashion

      I know that on Ebay, Zara items are more expensive, but the sellers zara has no discount for the products. They buy for the same price that other people buy, but they need to pay the fee of litsa, Paypal fee, sales tax and profit from the sale.

      View Comment
  • July 19, 2011

    Beth

    I wouldn’t even pay £70 to be honest! As nice as it is, I think I’m missing whatever people seem to see in it.

    View Comment
  • July 20, 2011

    Aline C

    Aren’t I glad I bought the pink tulip dress, and on sale too! 🙂

    View Comment
  • July 31, 2011

    JenV

    If you guys need to understand why, it’s the basics of economics – supply vs demand. While you can buy these items from online store in Europe, in case you haven’t noticed, there are many countries that don’t have online shopping capability on Zara site, and even less stores. Thus the crazy bidding war.

    View Comment
    • August 1, 2011

      The Fashion Police

      In case you hadn’t noticed, that point was actually addressed in the post:

      “We realise Zara doesn’t ship to all countries, and that if you don’t have easy access to a store, eBay may be your only option…”

      View Comment
  • […] clothing becoming super-popular and selling for WAY more than the item’s original retail price: THOSE Zara dresses spring to mind. Of course, something is only worth whatever people are willing to pay for it, and […]

    View Comment