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eBay revenue blamed on UK under-performance

By Chris Dawson April 22, 2013 - 9:44 am

eBay Inc homeThe UK may no longer be the darling in the world of eBay. eBay’s 2013 Q1 results missed analyst expectations although they just about beat revenue expectations by a single cent and the UK is apparently partly to blame.

Revenues were $3.75 billion, an increase of 14% roughly in line with ecommerce, yielding earnings per share of 63 cents, Analysts had expected $3.77 billion and 62 cents per share, eBay’s guidance for Q2 is lower than expected due to the economy.

The FT says that “eBay blamed macroeconomic conditions in Europe for its slight miss on revenues for the first quarter, and lower-than-expected guidance for the second. Sales in the UK, in particular, were lower than the e-commerce platform and payments company had expected.”

Bob Swan, eBay CFO, explained that sales in Europe had been even slower than the company’s assumptions, which were themselves based on a “somewhat lacklustre” year in Europe in 2012, and the company had also been hit by the weakness of the British pound. However the company is expecting growth in PayPal payments and increasing mobile adoption to rescue their forecasts, although in the second half of the year, not today.

Mobile is becoming increasingly important for eBay with 2.8 million new mobile customers last quarter. eBay customers using mobile buy twice as much as those on traditional computers.

How are your eBay sales holding up? Are you seeing sales static, declining or still growing? What about cross border trade which is still the biggest growth opportunity for UK online retailers.

  • 6 years ago

    My sales on eBay were doing just fine last qtr. But, have completely died from start of April. I don’t blame the economy, that didn’t suddenly happen overnight.

    I think eBay has serious technical problems with search (Cassini?), mobile apps, Google visibility etc. etc.

    The site is a mess and sellers are losing sales as buyers are unable to find what they want and buy quickly and easily.

    • 6 years ago

      Don’t believe the rumors. Cassini isn’t launched yet. The only Cassini you should be seeing is on completed search (I would hope noone is using that to buy) and as “related products” when there are no results or few results. Previously eBay showed Adsense ads so I don’t think that is impacting you. Technically issues are certainly a possibility but it isn’t Cassini.

  • davelovesebay
    6 years ago

    Ebay is promoting far and beyond a small number of large sellers, who have massive eccomerce budgets themselves. Driving large volumes of buyers to only these specific sellers.

    Often these sellers don’t offer the best value or. The best price. However they will remain at the top of searches and yet get sales at the same through the volume of traffic through the listing.

    Those brands and ebay are no longer as relevant as they once were.

  • Martin Collins
    6 years ago

    I’m no economist but I sell very little on eBay (I’m a private seller) as it’s too expensive and I would guess they would make more money, from me at least, if the fees were less. By the time my insertion fees, final sellers fees and PayPal fees are taken from my sale I feel robbed. Therefore I always try to sell things first on either gumtree or local sites like cheapcycle. However, cheaper eBay fees would probably mean I would go to eBay first as its always quicker and easier to sell stuff there. Times are hard eBay, you need to adapt, as we are!

  • Gary
    6 years ago

    Interesting that the shares of UK publically quoted bricks and mortar retailers have all risen sharply this morning on the news.

    Has ecomerce that requires shipping plateaued?

    Maybe “buy and collect” is the next big growth story and ebay simply cannot compete with this. Bricks and mortar retailers are wising up to the use of their “showrooms” by those who have no intention to actually shop in the bricks and mortar store and adapting. The “New Jessops” could be the future.

  • davelovesebay
    6 years ago

    Expect some changes via a buyer experience meeting and questionnaire and fee increase for sellers soon. To counter this drastic news.

    I have a leaked copy of some of the questions.

    1) How fast should delivery be on ebay?

    A)within 24 hours
    b)Within 12 Hours
    C) Within 2 hours.

    2) How is ebay doing in terms of product offered?

    A) They should be cheaper and better quality with 1 hour delivery.
    B) They should be cheaper with 1 hour delivery

    My ‘Man or woman’ on the inside said they will leak more questions.. Shortly.

    • davelovesebay
      6 years ago

      News just in……

      Outlets have offered to list more returned, graded, soiled and unwanted goods via ebay next week at higher prices to help drive more buyers to ebay. (or drive away, i cant remember which one)

    • 6 years ago

      Sounds like eBay Now that they are experimenting with over here. I don’t think they honestly expect you to deliver a product within 2 hours.

    • Gerry007
      6 years ago

      .
      Where are you Captain Kirk, when we need you the most….!!??

  • Rich
    6 years ago

    European macro economic outlook. Ebay have also dropped a massive blunder by taking most TRS out the loop. How to p### off your top revenue earners! Not clever that.

  • gutspiller
    6 years ago

    Absolutely not surprised about this.

    I use Ebay UK as a buyer to source stock. Items I could buy in the dozens 1 year ago are no longer to be found.

    As a seller it’s even worse. Ebay is completely dead. Seems to have no more traffic and in my case absolutely no more sales.

    Since I can no longer sell I no longer buy. I used to buy hundres of items each month now I haven’t bought a single item in weeks and I’m not planning to buy anything for the weeks to come.

    Ebay really doesn’t have a clue how they marketplace works. I’m no the only one in this situation. I see a lot of other sellers where sales have completely stopped. From a lot of these sellers I know they buy on Ebay to resell at a higher prices. If they can’t sell they can’t buy.

    All those new policies may work for big sites a the UK and US with a lot of “big boy” sellers. Reality is on a lot of smaller European sites there are no big boy sellers. There are a lot of small sellers, a lot of bedroom sellers and a lot of small/medium sized sellers as me. Ebay is completely loosing those sellers and together with these sellers they are loosing their market place. Ebay’s just completely blind to see it.

    Used to sell a few 100 items a month on Ebay. Now I have harly sold 20 for the last month.

    On the contrary non Ebay sales have never been better. This month the sales I’ve made through my own website and other sites will be at about the same level as last Decembre which was the best month ever of non Ebay sales.

    Just hope it continues this way so I can completely ditch Ebay within a year. 1 year ago I was making a lot of sales and a lot of traffic. 1 year later it has become a site with no sales, appearantly no traffic and when I make a sale there is hardly any profit.

    And it’s 100% sure it’s an Ebay issue. Everywhere you read messages about sellers where sales just stopped beginning of this month. It’s not only in the UK but also on other Ebaysites.

    I have no clue how long Ebay will able to continue the “good news show” with immer rising profits. As a seller I know the truth. Fact is my Ebasales are now less of 10% of what they used to be. When I look at the sea of red I sometimes wonder if within 1 year there will be a single seller left.

  • Cassie
    6 years ago

    The changes to Royal Mail prices have pretty much made me stop listing for the time being. I am a private seller with only a few sales a week, no where near enough to get any sort of business account set up either with Royal Mail or a courier. Most of my items were listed at 99p and due to the size are considered parcels and cost over £5 to post now. Buyers seeing this postage assume I am ripping them off (a couple even emailed to ask why my postage was so high!). I considered upping the price of the item, but will then get clobbered for more FVFs. I have ended all my items and will be taking some time to consider posting strategies and if it is even worth my continuing to trade. I think this will be happening to a lot of private sellers as buyers are so used to “free” postage that they assume £5 is daylight robbery

    • Weeze
      6 years ago

      check out MyHermes for cheaper delivery prices, that’s who I’ve switched too while I am waiting for my Royal Mail account to be set up.

    • JohnR
      6 years ago

      Myhermes are also offering 23% off until 5pm on Friday when you use the code: GEORGE23

  • Darren
    6 years ago

    Since 1st week of April, sales collapsed. Previous quarter was slightly up on last year.

    Something is happening at ebay.

    I am sick of the constant technical problems, and the hours I will have to spend updating photos. Amazon strong and growing, with no tech issues and no hassle….

    • 6 years ago

      Interesting you should say that Darren.
      We found that last 2 weeks very very slow BUT same on Amazon. Then over the weekend it’s become a lot busier on both platforms.
      Why ?
      Who knows!

    • 6 years ago

      The Only issue with Amazon is that they are your biggest competitor.
      They have stated this is not the case, but there are 4 key factors to prove this.

      1: I list an item cheaper than Amazon has it on at. They drop their price within hours to make sure we are not on the top spot

      2: I can be cheaper than they are and have goods in stock ready to ship, they have no stock and a higher price and it will take a month for shipping, yet they have their top spot.

      3: If we are selling a line well, we can be rest assured 100% Amazon will start selling it very soon.

      4: They make their prices so low as they only add the VAT (which we all know they are not paying) to the cost of the goods, we are unable to ever compete with this kind of selling.

      After they have made sure you cant possibly have the top spot, they take huge fees from you for having this golden opportunity to sell via them?

  • Gary
    6 years ago

    ebay should widen the 10p auction start band to £4.99 or even £9.99. This would encourage more sellers to include shipping in their start price and to offer “free” shipping with auctions.

    • Old Hand
      6 years ago

      EBay always go the free listings route. This is from .com:

      By invitation only and applies to (username), do not forward. Limit of 200,000 Auction-style listings. Extra feature fees, selling limits, and Final Value Fees for successful sales apply. See Terms & Conditions for full details.

      Wouldn’t matter much to me, listing fees not that significant, FVF and time the greatest expenses.

    • davelovesebay
      6 years ago

      Yeah but shippings free for ebay. Cause they sit in the middle and collect a nice fat 12-15% all together with paypal.

      If its free for you or not, they dont care. More so because they dont retail themselves. They rely on feedback from outlets to guide them.

  • Hereford United fan
    6 years ago

    Currently my ebay sales are down 50% on last year. Amazon sales are more than double.

    • Ross
      6 years ago

      We’re doing the same, Ebay down, Amazon up. Same products, same prices, some slightly lower on Ebay.

  • JD
    6 years ago

    eBay seems pretty much unusable today. Have they tried to bring something new in overnight? Can’t reach boards either.

    Is it just me?

    Cheers.

    • Matthew
      6 years ago

      Same for us. Can’t do anything and haven’t been able to do so for nearly an hour.

  • bookslayer
    6 years ago

    Im not really bothered these days wether i sell my stock on ebay or not. Im self employed and i sell books for a living but over the last three years all i have got time to do is relist the same old stock over and over again on free listing days only as its no longer viable to list on ebay any other time and by the time i have listed each item one by one as i am not allowed to use listing tools i no longer have time to list new stock.
    Listing on Amazon and other platforms is the way forward as its cheaper to list and theres no need for me to manually list each item one by one every couple of weeks.

  • 6 years ago

    I gathered that eBay sales has gone down generally. There could be various reasons for this.

    However, as we are running business we MUST diversify the risk and start working towards selling on AVAILABLE platforms including global trade (EU, Americas, Australia).

    By the way have you heard of Choiceful.com ?

    Would love to hear what is happening with any business who is already doing MULTICHANNEL SALES ?

  • Rod
    6 years ago

    Ebay is a spent force!!

    We have been selling online for over 10 years now and thanks to Ebay we grew quickly to a revenue from Ebay only of over 1 and half million within the first 18 months. 10 years on working a lot harder we are lucky if we get a quarter of that now. Luckily enough we trade on our own sites and other platforms to more than compensate for this.

    The point is Ebay do not listen to anyone unless they agree with them. Ebay now seems to have turned in to a high street retail discount store which seems to have lost them all sight and direction of what ebay is all about.

    Even when we felt we had some weight with Ebay we could not seem to get our point of view across as everything seems to be in black and white to them. An example of this is me sending emails almost daily embarrassing them by the fact that on average we could have offered them better deals in some cases up to 50% less than they were offering there daily deals at. I just could not understand why we would offer them product a at £10 and it would be declined only to see the same deal run a week later with one of there favoured merchants at £15. How can this make any sense. Having emailed them daily for a good few weeks I gave up as I knew it was like banging my head against a brick wall.

    Anyway we have now decided that we are going to close our ebay account down as it takes to much energy with the constant changes ebay do without a care for there sellers and to top it of sales seem to slump year on year. If they can’t be bothered then why should we just to line there pockets!

  • Weeze
    6 years ago

    It’s funny how Ebay always claim they have more ‘traffic’ to their site than other providers (seeing a similar pattern to everyone else commenting here). If this (traffic claim) is the case why are my sales volumes the same across all the sites I use to sell? If Ebay had more traffic then surely my sales would be higher with them. I think that slowly there are better options emerging for small sellers, Ebay seem to have forgotten who it was that put them in the mighty position they are in today, either that or their business model has changed so rapidly that us small sellers don’t matter to them anymore.

  • absy
    6 years ago

    I agree with first comment, my sales this month just dropped off a cliff, after decent 1st quarter it’s like someone has flicked the off switch.

    I am a UK trs small business seller, I have 100 items listed but sales have just stopped, not even getting best offers or emails this month.

    I will be launching a new website as can no longer rely on eBay

  • Rich
    6 years ago

    I advertise across number of ebay sites. The first 2 weeks of april UK was very quiet, but sales have come back strongly over the last 10 days or so.
    Not nearly as good as last year but still the most vibrant domain.
    Safest site for me to advertise on too.

  • PayPalUser
    6 years ago

    How about a TameBay survey. you know the type where TameBay readers can declare if the sales are up, down or the same for the past few weeks. Hopefully it should finally prove if Cassini is better or worse than the old search program.

    • 6 years ago

      Not a lot of point, Cassini is only rolled out on very small sections on eBay.com…. mainly completed items and null search results.

    • 6 years ago

      Exactly. Cassini hasn’t hurt anyone … yet. Anyone who is seeing their sales down on eBay and blaming Cassini are tilting at windmills. EcommerceBytes had a big deal last week where the editor found an “insightful” video regarding how to better rank in Cassini and it was a completely misguided and deceptive video. The biggest giveaway was that the person who developed the video was using the “completed” listing search and sorting by time ended then finding a poorly ranked item on page 10 and claiming it was because of poor STR when the rank was entirely due to the time the listing ended. And the readers just ate it up declaring Cassini a failure.

  • Andrew
    6 years ago

    Well Search is an absoulte mess this morning on multiple machines and different ip’s and locations, hardly surprising sales are going to take a hit

  • 6 years ago

    my sales this year to early May – overall fairly static and still with marked (and inexplicable) short term variation

    i suspect that one phase of eBay/eCommerce growth is over, and that the trend is far more influenced by disposable income levels generally

    eBay and Amazon remain good ways to advertise products at low cost (ignoring labour), but i’m still not sure that they are more than this

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