7 eyebrow-raising eBay statistics: what do they mean for your business
If you currently sell or plan to start selling on eBay, this article provides illuminating statistics that can help you make the right decisions for your business. Discover who is shopping on the marketplace, where they’re accessing it, and more to help you hone your marketing and ecommerce strategies for the eBay audience.
In this article, Leigh-Anne Truitt, an ecommerce professional at BigCommerce, shares insights about how eBay is growing and how that will impact the ecommerce industry.
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Selling on eBay & other marketplaces
eBay, one of the original marketplaces, notched $85.5 billion GMV in marketplace transactions in 2019. With online marketplaces generating $1.7 trillion in sales in 2019, comprising half of all digital purchases, an increasing number of established and emerging companies are eyeing this channel as a new way to reach buyers.
Marketplaces bring together buyers and sellers, enabling companies to sell physical goods and accept payments from customers without having to create their own platforms. Consumers can browse a variety of products, usually priced competitively, in one place.
As these sites grow in popularity, Forrester projects marketplace sales to comprise two-thirds of all digital sales by 2022, offering a lucrative opportunity for some businesses to augment existing sales strategies.
“As a third-party seller, I do think it is necessary to participate in marketplaces,” said Bijion Henry, a digital marketer. “But I do not think they should be only your sales channels: I think it is equally important to invest time and effort into marketing assets you are able to better control, for example, your website, social media, and email list.”
Let’s take a closer look at some revealing eBay statistics to see if this platform might fit into your overall ecommerce tactics.
7 eyebrow-raising eBay statistics
Since listing its first item for auction a quarter of a century ago, eBay has evolved into an ecommerce heavyweight. It’s popular not only with buyers but online sellers who rank it as the best marketplace based on several factors, like profitability and ease of use.
#1 eBay stat: Over 170 million active buyers
One of the biggest reasons to consider eBay as a sales channel is its built-in customer base of 174 million active buyers. Fueled by the shift to online shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic, another 6 million new and reactivated buyers were added in April and May 2020, with eBay anticipating second-quarter growth exceeding its original projections.
Most of the site’s revenue is generated in the United States, but eBay buyers are located around the world, which can help you tap into a ready-made market of global consumers.
eBay reports that 96% of small businesses using eBay in the United States export to an average of 17 countries.
Six out of 10 eBay entrepreneurs sell to customers across at least 4 continents. By comparison, 1% of traditional businesses in the U.S. sell to an average of 4 countries.
With an astounding number of buyers searching for goods on eBay, businesses that can strategically introduce their products on the site have an excellent opportunity to expand their customer reach, also on international markets with cross-border ecommerce on the rise.
#2 eBay stat: 1.5 billion eBay listings
Customers are drawn to eBay because of the wide range of products available on a single platform. The site boasts about 1.5 billion different marketplace listings, including clothing, household goods, collectibles, and cars. But the vast number of listings also means immense competition for customers.
Optimizing your eBay listings helps your product to stand out:
- Take time to develop product descriptions with relevant keywords so buyers can locate your items.
- Make sure your copy is professional and well-written with detailed specifications, and includes a selection of high-resolution images.
- Product videos, testimonials, and positive reviews can also help customers get a better sense of your product.
- Consider advertising or promote listings to help catch the eye of customers.
- Because there’s significant variation among sellers for delivery options, consider free shipping or building the cost of delivery into your prices as an extra enticement for customers to choose your product over others.
#3 eBay stat: $21.3 billion GMV in Q1 of 2020
$21.3 billion in transactions flowed through the eBay marketplace in the first quarter of 2020. Defined as gross merchandise volume (GMV), it’s the value of all successfully closed transactions between buyers and sellers during the period.
Based on GMV, eBay ranks as the second-best performing marketplace in the United States behind Amazon. Globally, it ranks fifth.
Continued growth is expected due to an increase in organic traffic and higher conversion rates in April and May. eBay projects a GMV growth rate of 23% to 26% in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the prior year.
Simply put, consumers are spending considerable dollars on eBay. There’s an opportunity for companies to connect with buyers on the platform and harness some of this revenue.
#4 eBay stat: 33.3% of U.S. mobile users have the eBay app
eBay is the third most popular shopping app in the United States after Amazon and Walmart, reaching one-third of U.S. mobile users. More than 62.15 million U.S. consumers use the app each month.
The popularity of the eBay app gives sellers access to the growing number of online consumers who are tapping and purchasing goods on their smartphones. Digital shoppers are expected to spend more than $345 billion on smartphone retail ecommerce sales in 2021, up from $148 billion in 2018.
Smartphone users in the United States also prefer purchasing on an app rather than a mobile website. Marketplace apps tend to be more popular than individual retail apps.
“Consumers don’t like using apps from single retailers. They are much more likely to download an app that offers product ranges broader than one store can offer. That’s one of the major appeals of a marketplace,” explained Richard Kestenbaum, a founding partner at Triangle Capital LLC, said.
#5 eBay stat: 80% of products sold on eBay are new
In its early days, eBay was an auction site for used items and collectibles. Today, nearly 80% of items sold are new, creating opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs to develop additional markets for their inventory. While some products are still auctioned, most are sold at a fixed price.
Established companies can use eBay to complement existing online and brick-and-mortar storefronts.
Some ecommerce platforms offer native integration with marketplaces, like eBay, providing a streamlined process to upload product information and manage inventory.
Emerging businesses can launch their ventures on eBay. Pink Lily, a successful fashion brand, first began selling on eBay and Etsy, eventually moving from the marketplaces to their own ecommerce platform to handle their growing sales.
#6 eBay stat: Electronics, Clothing, and Automotive are top-selling categories
Some products sell better on eBay than others. These categories rank the highest:
- Electronics & Accessories: 17%.
- Clothing & Accessories: 16%.
- Automotive: 11%.
However, all major verticals on eBay are showing accelerated growth for the second quarter of 2020 compared to previous quarters, including Home and Garden, Electronics, Fashion, Auto Parts, and Collectibles.
As buyers turn to eBay to shop in these categories, companies with suitable products may have potential new sales opportunities.
#7 eBay stat: 35 to 64-year-olds make up 61% of eBay’s audience
Gen X and Baby Boomers comprise the largest demographic on eBay, with 32% of the site’s buyers aged 35 to 49 and 29% aged 50 to 64.
If your target customer falls into this range, eBay may be a profitable option for your business, especially considering that 44% of Americans between 30 and 44 are planning to increase their spending in online marketplaces because of the pandemic.
While you may be more likely to find millennials buying on Amazon, this demographic is still present on eBay, with 18% of the platform’s shoppers aged 25 to 34 and 14% aged 18 to 24. eBay suggests a variety of strategies to help reach these customers, like mobile-friendly listings, a social media presence, discounts, and promotions.
Many consumers are opting to buy goods through online marketplaces, lured by diverse product offerings and competitive prices. eBay is helping to lead the way, fueled by dramatic growth in the number of buyers, volume of transactions, and mobile app reach.
Some established and emerging companies may find that selling on eBay provides access to more buyers, including a broader global market.
While eBay may not be the right fit for all businesses, those who sell the kinds of products that eBay users are looking for may find it to be a valuable channel.
Leigh-Anne Truitt is a part of the Content & SEO Team at BigCommerce where she researches and discovers strategies to increase organic traffic. Prior to joining the ecommerce industry, Leigh-Anne perfected her marketing skills at The University of Texas at Austin and CanIRank.
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