Written by, Sandeep Kumar
Updated March, 14, 2023
When it comes to online marketplaces, eBay is a giant in the industry. Founded in 1995 by Pierre Omidyar in California, eBay is one of the biggest successes of the dot-com boom and bubble. They have been in business for a very long time, which makes them a very interesting company to dissect.
These fascinating facts about eBay and its growth statistics show that they truly are a market giant with years of experience and a large chunk of the market share in their pockets. To understand the company better, let’s look at some more facts, statistics, and trends.
We will discuss eBay, trends, statistics, and facts about their usage, sales, revenue, biggest rival (Amazon), and their acquisitions over the years, to learn more about the online auction giant.
But first, let’s look at some fascinating facts about eBay and its long history.
In recent times, shopping trends worldwide have changed because of a shift in buyer behavior due to the spread of the pandemic. That being said, we can accurately depict eBay’s selling trends and eBay’s buying trends by considering the top-selling products on eBay.
These products are spread across their respective categories and include:
While these products hold their own in these categories, over the last 6 months, stamps, perfumes, auto parts, and tuning products, vitamins, and herbal supplements are on the top 20 list of best-selling products on eBay.
In America alone, a sports trading card is purchased every second, a video game every 2 seconds, sneakers every 4 seconds, and a Smartphone every 6 seconds on eBay. Similarly, a car part or car accessory is purchased every second in the UK and Germany as well.
Moreover, eBay price trends have changed a bit since the pandemic. While most eBay sellers do not exploit customers, some took advantage of the pandemic and increased prices on masks, sanitizers, and other pandemic products for increased profits.
eBay has been working hard to stop this as it also affects eBay’s price trends. They actively block or remove listings and suspend accounts of their dishonest sellers.
The most recent analysis on the best selling categories and their subcategories by WebRetailer revealed some interesting facts about eBay’s consumers’ e-shopping carts.
Let’s have a look at the top 3 categories and their subcategories:
Let’s look at some statistics and facts about eBay’s usage.
Prior to the pandemic, eBay had close to 182 million users worldwide in 2019, a 4 percent increase from the previous year. eBay attributed this growth to their improved shopping experiences for both buyers and sellers. Today, they have more than 185 million buyers and 19 million sellers, amounting to around 204 million active users worldwide.
In 2019, more than 33 percent of mobile users downloaded and accessed the eBay App, making it the third most popular shopping app in the U.S. Amazon and Wal-Mart apps took the first and second spots, respectively.
eBay stores allow sellers to get access to tools for brand development and to maximize sales. With more than 800,000 eBay stores, American sellers account for 29 percent of all sellers, making the United States the country with the most eBay sellers and most top eBay sellers.
eBay sells billions of products to their visitors, and here are some interesting facts about eBay sales.
(Source: The Motley Fool)
Free shipping is good for both buyers and sellers because it is cheaper for buyers and gives sellers a competitive edge, which is why it is not surprising that 70 percent of all items sold on eBay have free shipping and typically arrive within 2-3 days.
According to eBay business metrics, there are 19 million active sellers worldwide on the eBay marketplace, which indicates that eBay is probably the primary source of income for many people around the world.
The auction giant generates massive amounts of revenue from all its global operations, with the majority being generated in the U.S.
(Source: Marketplace Pulse)
Hitting all-time-high net transaction revenues of $2,598 million in 2020 was a year-over-year increase of 31 percent from $1,977 million in 2019. This shows incredible growth, probably due to the pandemic, because 2019 was a slight drop from 2018 net transaction revenues of $1,984 million.
These 1.7 billion listings span across eBay’s American, Australian, German, and other international markets around the world. Visitors can spend an eternity going through the sheer number of listings available.
(Source: PR Newswire)
The ratio between new and old items on eBay is 4 to 1, as 80 percent of items listed are new, whereas the remaining 20 percent are used items.
(Source: PR Newswire)
The majority of the items (88 percent) on eBay are fixed-price items with Buy It Now options and the remaining (12 percent) are auction items that require bidding in order to purchase them.
The $2.9 billion revenue generated in 2020 is a healthy increase from almost $2.7 billion from the previous year. The revenue by region ranking is similar from year to year, with the United States and Germany topping the list every year. In 2019 it was:
This revenue by region breakup amounted to a total of $2,687 million in revenue by the end of 2019.
eBay’s biggest competitor is Amazon, which dominates the online marketplace industry in every aspect of the game.
These statistics show that eBay has more than 5 times the number of products available on the Amazon marketplace, making eBay vastly more product rich than its biggest competitor. This is mostly because, unlike Amazon, eBay facilitates auctions and more private sellers on their online marketplace.
This also indicates that average sellers may find more sales potential in eBay as they offer third-party selling, used items sales, and auctions on their platform. It also means that Amazon is a more secure marketplace than eBay because, even though eBay constantly removes bad third-party sellers, Amazon simply offers more regulated sellers to their buyers.
As of the fourth quarter of 2018, the most popular online marketplace in the United States by a number of visitors was Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Target, and Etsy. Amazon dominated this segment with a market share of over 56 percent.
Despite their competitor has a significant lead in most aspects, eBay does very well for itself and retains a healthy market value, year over year.
Apart from year-over-year growth, eBay generated only 90 billion U.S. dollars in the global online marketplace Gross Merchandise Value (GMV). In comparison, Amazon’s GMV amounted to 339 billion U.S. dollars, topping the list of online marketplaces.
As mentioned earlier, eBay’s 185 million active buyers and $2.9 billion in revenue in 2020 indicate a growing, profitable company and a great online market competitor. Only Amazon takes a huge lead in the overall market share and competition of this industry.
(Source: Digital Commerce 360)
eBay reports that almost half of their global GMV results from transactions on the eBay app, and they have had more than 50 million downloads in 2020. This indicates excellent mobile growth for the company as their app purchases continue to grow faster than their overall GMV.
As a continuously expanding company, eBay has made many acquisitions over the years, starting with PayPal in 2002.
After PayPal, an electronic payment system went public in 2002, eBay acquired it for $1.5 billion. They used PayPal as a mode of payment for their online auctions globally. This allows eBay users to make and accept payments without using their credit cards.
(Source: Information Age)
eBay, the online auction giant, bought Skype, an internet phone service provider, for $2.6 billion. This amount was paid in cash and stock. This was a surprising acquisition that eBay took from under the nose of New Corporation, a company owned by Rupert Murdoch.
eBay would later go on to sell Skype to a private investment group at a significant loss. Today, Skype is owned by the Microsoft Corporation, which acquired it for $8.5 billion in 2011.
(Source: The Atlantic)
In a bid to revamp their eCommerce recommendations, eBay bought crowd-sourced search startup Hunch, which raised $20 million in funding for $80 million in late 2011. Today, Hunch is headquartered in New York and is still owned by eBay.
Ticketbis is a Spanish online ticket marketplace based in Bilbao. In 2016, eBay acquired it for $165 million to expand its own online ticket marketplace, StubHub, outside the U.S. and Europe, Latin America, and the Asia Pacific.
Paytm Mall was rapidly growing in the Indian eCommerce market and eBay decided to purchase 5.5 stakes in the company by investing somewhere between $150 million to $200 million. Paytm Mall was evaluated at $3 billion in 2019, with huge growth in the emerging Indian market from $2 billion the previous year.
To summarize, eBay is an excellent company and a major competitor in the online marketplace industry. They have seen many ups and downs, but the last year has been very profitable for them, mostly due to the overall boom in online sales since the pandemic.
Moreover, eBay has a rich history and is still the biggest marketplace for online auctions worldwide. Most of their revenue comes from the U.S, followed by Germany and the UK, and they are constantly aiming to expand their reach.
Amazon is their largest competitor and industry leader, even though eBay is operating in more than twice as many countries as Amazon. All the mentioned statistics and facts indicate that eBay will continue to grow very consistently if they maintain their growth numbers.