Xbox Series X, PS5 help drive surging consumer electronics sales

Consumer electronics sales are surging after the highly anticipated PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles were both released this week.

Just hours after Sony's PS5 was made available, it was selling for close to $2,000 on eBay, which is more than three times its $499 price tag. Xbox Series X by Microsoft, also $499, is no bargain from third-party sellers either: it is listed for well over $1,000.

"Everyone wants to be the first kid on the block with the shiny new toy," Laptop Mag editor in chief Sherri Smith said. "Both systems are using custom AMD processors — you're going to get faster loading, you're going to be able to play games at 4K resolution."

A less expensive Xbox Series S was also just released for $299. Although it is smaller and less powerful, it's just as hard to get a hold of. 

Smith said that people are using bots to buy in bulk, which makes it more challenging for the average person to get in the game.

"You will go to Best Buy, GameStop or Amazon and you think you will get the console, you go to checkout, you're about to pay and it will say you don't have it," Smith said.

Research firm eMarketer estimates that U.S. computer and electronics e-commerce sales will total over $156 billion this year with nearly half of the products purchased online.

Smith said the ongoing pandemic is playing a role in the uptick.

"Gaming has become the de facto pastime as we're spending more time in the house and waiting for a vaccine or waiting for the powers that be to say we can resume normal life," she said.

The boom is expected to continue through the holiday season.

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