EBay's Holiday-Season Killer Is Zhu Zhu Pets, but Little Else

EBay (EBAY) said Monday that other than Zhu Zhu pets, it hasn’t seen a breakout hit on its auction sites this holiday season.

At an investors conference, John Donahoe, eBay’s chief executive, declined to give much detail into the company’s performance this holiday season. He said that unlike previous years, where an item like the Nintendo Wii became a must-have gift, eBay isn’t seeing that focused demand this year.

“There’s no killer item this year. There’s no Xbox or item that’s out of stock that everyone has to have,” he said. Zhu Zhu pets, the stuffed hamsters that have become intensely popular in recent months, are an exception and are doing brisk business on the site.

Mr. Donahoe made two other observations on this year’s holiday shopping, the first being that he sees consumer electronics as, increasingly, non-discretionary purchases. “People’s cellphones, smart phones, netbook, laptop, are almost as essential as their car or groceries,” he said. “People may trade down to buy that refurbished one or cheaper one,” but they continue buying them.

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