iPad 2 Sold Out, Gray Market Flourishing

Demand for the iPad 2 seems to have far exceeded initial estimates, as most Apple retail locations, as well as Best Buy, Walmart and Target stores are completely sold out. Thousands of customers in line were looking to be the first ones to get a hold of the new tablet, and many came back home empty handed, as most stores ran out of iPad 2s within an hour after its official launch, at 5PM yesterday. As a result, many of the people who couldn’t get an iPad 2 yesterday are now looking at alternate ways to obtain the new device, such as craigslist and eBay. Since the launch of the iPad last year, eBay and craigslist have turned out to be the largest iPad gray markets, fueled by domestic and international buyers looking to get a hold of a device hard to find, and sellers trying to make a quick buck. As soon as the iPad 2 was announced on March 11, eBay was flooded with hundreds of iPad 2 listings, and as of the moment this article was written, a whopping 3,508 units were available for purchase. Unsurprisingly, most of the devices sold thus far carried highly inflated prices, and often sell for over $1,000.

As usual with gray market items, a word of caution: if you decide to buy an iPad 2 on eBay or craigslist, make sure to buy it from a reputable seller, with a flawless track record. When the first generation iPad launched, a slew of scammers used eBay to post fake iPad listings, and disappeared as soon as they were paid by eBayers eager to acquire a new iPad as early as possible.