LOS ANGELES (Reuters Life!) - Teen star Miley Cyrus, pop diva Madonna, “The Dark Knight,” hi-tech gadgets and Barack Obama were among America’s top pop culture obsessions that turned into possessions in 2008, according to online market place eBay.
“When someone or something excites the American public, you immediately see a surge of related listings pop up on eBay,” said Karen Bard, eBay’s pop culture expert.
Cyrus, the 16-year-old star of Disney’s “Hannah Montana” TV show, beat teen rivals like the Jonas Brothers and the cast of “High School Musical” hands down in terms of items sold on eBay, the Web site said in a survey of hot items in 2008.
Some 223,139 “Hannah Montana” related-items, ranging from buttons, to clothes and posters, exchanged hands on the Web site during the year.
Britney Spears, emerging from another year of personal woes, proved popular with eBay buyers with 32,966 items sold.
But Spears was overshadowed by “Material Girl” Madonna, who turned 50 this year and also divorced second husband Guy Ritchie after months of rumors. Madonna memorabilia, albums and posters saw sales of 96,511 items.
In a historic presidential election year, Barack Obama was the clear front-runner on eBay as well as with U.S. voters, winning the November election and to become the first U.S. black president.
The Web site saw an active trade in Obama posters, coins, action figures and even the odd lunchbox that led to sales of 111,546 Obama-related items.
Months of Obama-fever outstripped sales of Sarah Palin items (20,712) after the Alaska governor was named Republican vice-presidential candidate in September, sparking a rush in buyers for look-alike wigs, Palin’s trademark glasses, autographed photos and even thong underwear.
Fans went batty for “The Dark Knight,” the latest Batman movie, with 60,484 related items sold — 18 times more than those of “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.”
Olympic gold medal swimming champion Michael Phelps broke records in the pool and sparked a buying fever online that saw 13,350 Phelps-related items sold on eBay, the world’s largest online marketplace.
But the hottest of all the pop culture trends was the Nintendo Wii, which saw a whopping 2.05 million related items including accessories and games sold on eBay, outstripping the Microsoft Xbox 360 (1.29 million items), Apple’s new iPod Touch (281,361) and the iPhone 3G (212,837).
The data was based on eBay listings that included key words in the listing title across all categories from Jan 1-Oct 15, 2008.
Reporting by Jill Serjeant, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith