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eBay UK celebrates 15 years of ecommerce

By Chris Dawson August 19, 2014 - 5:28 pm

15th BirthdayeBay are celebrating 15 years of ecommerce in the UK and in that time have transformed how people shop. Thinking back 15 years the Internet had hardly come to the UK and certainly it wasn’t mainstream with practically everyone having access as they do today.

Early pioneers such as Graham Fosdyke had already registered on eBay.com and a young chap by the name of Dan Wilson had just left Uni and got a job with eBay the day before they started trading on eBay.co.uk in British pounds.

15 years later and Graham is still trading on eBay, Dan hasn’t worked there for years and now writes for Tamebay, and eBay itself has changed enormously. Collectively eBay sellers have sold over three billion items worth a staggering £65bn and in their 15th year eBay have been crowned the most popular UK retail site.

There’s some confusion over eBay UK’s exact birthday, Dan was there on the 29th July when they opened the doors but the official press launch wasn’t until later in the Autumn. The exact date doesn’t matter so much as the opportunities eBay have given thousands of sellers to make their living or supplement their income by selling on the site, not to mention the buyers who have bought each and every one of the three billion items sold on eBay UK.

eBay UK have dug into the archives for 15 fast facts to celebrate their 15th Birthday but what’s your favourite memory from your time on eBay? Is it a memorable sale, something you bought, someone you met? Tell us in comments below

eBay’s UK birthday facts

1.     The first item sold on eBay.co.uk was a three track CD from German rock outfit, The Scorpions, for £2.89

2.     In 15 years eBay has sold three billion items, worth £65bn

3.     last Christmas, 14 gifts were bought on eBay each second

4.     Lady Thatcher’s Handbag sold on eBay for £103,000

5.     Princess Beatrice’s royal wedding hat (aka ‘the pretzel’) fetched more than £80,000 on eBay with proceeds going to Unicef and Children in Crisis

6.     Ahead the Brazil World Cup, 24 football shirts sold every hour

7.     In the UK an item is bought every second via the eBay app

8.     A pair of shoes sells every 7 seconds a handbag every 19 seconds via mobile

9.     9pm is the peak time for tablet shopping

10.    Today, more than 140 UK brands and retailers can be found on eBay

11.    75% of items sold on eBay are sold at fixed price

12.    UK businesses selling on eBay each export to an average of 39 counties – higher than anywhere else

13.    Over 200,000 businesses large and small sell on eBay in the UK

14.    Close to £70 million has been raised from the generosity of Brits buying items through eBay for Charity, raising funds for thousands of charities across the UK

15.    Over 19 million Brits visit eBay every month – that’s well over one third of the UK’s adult population

Final thought (which will undoubtedly get me some frowns from eBay)… on their 10th birthday in 2009 they gave everyone ten days of free listings. Do you think we’ll get 15 days of free listings for their 15th brithday?

  • Richard
    3 years ago

    I remember it well, one lazy Saturday afternoon back in 2000 I stumbled across this site called eBay because someone was selling a hard to find record I was after. So let me get this right you find something you want and place a bid for it, the highest bid at the ending time wins. Then you send your money half way round the world to a complete stranger and they post it to you……. nah it’ll never work I thought. But sure enough about a week later the record arrived, how cool is that, might be something in this eBay lark after all.

  • 3 years ago

    I was buying and selling on the .com site in ’97. For me it peaked around 5 years ago, haven’t really bothered with it for the past 4 years. I think that fact No. 6 says how *busy* ebay is nowadays, 24 shirts an hour…wows! My local Tesco Extra was probably shifting more than that, and is why I switched to Amazon and never looked back.

    • paddy
      3 years ago

      I was thinking that 6 must have been a typo.

    • 3 years ago

      It it’s a typo then they can’t even be bothered to get their hyped up PR statements correct!

    • 3 years ago

      There is an old saying in the Book Business. ‘The average Book Shop(B & M Bookshop) sells of the average Book…3 copies’

      When years ago(before my health problems) I used to Wholesale around the South West. I used to get really annoyed when I called on a Bookshop in say Taunton and showed them a New Book on Railways around Taunton and they ordered 3. Then I would show them a New Book about Railways around Aberdeen and guess what they again ordered…3. Surely they could sell more of the local book than one about an area hundreds of miles away???

      Well my experience on ebay is that for most average Books on ebay I am very lucky to sell more than 3 copies. Often it is very difficult to sell just 1 copy.

      So is ebay really only the equivalent of a good quality High Street Bookshop of 10 years or so ago???

    • paddy
      3 years ago

      Ok, this is a bit sad but I did my own research into Football Sales shirts!

      The sentence mentions the period leading up to the World Cup. I took this to mean the week before hand so using Terapeak I searched for the basic search term “Football Shirt” for the period from the 5th to 12th of June.

      Successful listings = 10,549

      Which would equate to 1500 a day

      or about 62 an hour.

  • northumbrian
    3 years ago

    15years a slave!

    • Gerry007
      3 years ago

      .
      Good dry humour as usual…….!!

  • radroach
    3 years ago

    “Do you think we’ll get 15 days of free listings for their 15th brithday?”

    Turns out it is only five days of free listings – for private sellers only (of course) and starting today.

    • radroach
      3 years ago

      Sorry – it’s actually six days!

      http://pages.ebay.co.uk/promos/1990/

    • 3 years ago

      Yes and I’m not certain what I am doing wrong but every time I try to list anything it still wants to charge me listing fees. So is the Free Listing actually working????

    • paddy
      3 years ago

      It seems to be another one of those “specially invited” free listing promos.

    • radroach
      3 years ago

      If you are eligible it will appear in the “Promotional Offers” section of “My eBay” – and I think the email invites have now gone out also.

  • chrissieboy
    3 years ago

    MSN have an article with the intro “The online auction has shifted a massive £65bn in dodgy merchandise over the years so we’ve divided our selection into 15 convenient categories to help guide you through a truly bizarre and occasionally disturbing collection” Can’t believe ebay haven’t got at least “dodgy” wording removed. Great advert eh?

    • 3 years ago
    • 3 years ago

      Before anybody jumps on me. I am not a gardener. My garden is a wilderness. However I remember that years ago if a horse and rider went through the village and the horse left a deposit on the road the gardeners were all out with their shovels and took it away for their Roses(sorry the few Roses in my garden have to fend for themselves)

      Today if a horse and rider goes through the village(here in deepest darkest Cornwall a fairly regular occurrence) and the horse leaves a deposit on the road it tends to be left there to be spread across the road be various cars and trucks over the next few hours.

      So why would anybody be spending good money on bags of dung from the Zoo for the same purpose??? Unless they are using it for some other purposes…Ideas Please.

  • Gerry007
    3 years ago

    .
    Anyone remember the Millennium Bug at that time…..

  • oldhand
    3 years ago

    eBay peaked around 2004, as a trusted and profitable marketplace. In the early days it was US, Canada, Australia, countries with widely spread populations with long histories of buying by mail order. It really went down the pan when eBay promoted itself at big UK antique markets, giving away thousands/millions of carrier bags. Then the brits came on board and it started going downhill.

    I’m a brit, english, was on eBay before there was .co.uk,. Only just, I got my 15 year anniversary message ‘signed’ by Donahoe in July. I started selling on eBay, stopped after a few years, started again after Lehman went bust and the panic ensued. Now it’s mostly buying, three for every one that I sell, I’d rather buy on eBay than Amazon but for the appropriate goods seek out the sellers’ websites to maybe get a better deal and to put the profits in to the hands of real people rather than faceless bankers and executives.

    As eBay has grown (become fat) the fees have gone up to cover the rogue traders it has encouraged and to stuff the pockets of useless management.

    2 billion items, £65 billion, = just over 20 quid per sale. That’s cheap. My average sale on eBay is well over that and I mostly list junk. My average purchase is well over that too.

    Funny thing, whilst Donahoe etc has stated that he wants to lose the junk image eBay has become more like a car boot, shoddy goods/knock-offs at bargain basement prices. Maggie’s handbag for £103K, anyone wanna calculate how many 99p items it takes to balance it out to the average?

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