Daily Mail claims consumers are selling less online

By Chris Dawson August 10, 2015 - 9:43 pm

Daily Mail page 5 07082015Last week the Daily Mail published a piece asking if Brits were falling out of love with eBay. The article also appeared online in a longer format with more information.

The print version was a short synopsis saying “The number of us flogging items over the Internet has fallen to its lowest rate for five years, with just one in five of us doing so in the past five months”.

The online article elaborated on this and stated “Only 20% of people sell items online, down from 28% just two years ago” and went on to explain the related study and findings.

The good news is the stats say that “The Office for National Statistics found that three-quarters of adults bought something online in the last three months, compared to around half in 2008”. The bad news is that “Surprisingly, among the youngest age group – 16-24-year-olds – only 23 per cent said they used the internet to sell things”.

There’s a bit of a problem focusing in on 16-24 year olds, to open eBay and PayPal (or Amazon) accounts you have to be 18. Whilst it’s pretty usual to see youngsters using their parents accounts to make online purchase, it’s less common to see people of this age group selling because for starters they have to have their own bank/credit card just to open an account.

The other issue is the time of year – the study only focused on the past three months – late spring and early summer isn’t the typical time of year most consumers think of selling items. We suspect that consumers are much more interested in selling at other times of year for instance in the run up to Christmas. Events such as a new iPhone model coming out also trigger a surge in selling.

eBay traditionally never release sales data and statistics but anecdotal conversations suggest more people than ever are selling online. I was talking to Dan this morning and he was telling me how his mum now sells on eBay. Having been converted to the iPad and started buying online, she’s found it incredibly easy to start selling.

What’s your experience? Are people really less bothered about selling unwanted personal possessions on the Internet or is it simply the wrong time of year to measure consumer online selling activity?

  • ifellow
    2 years ago

    When your buying things for £3 from china, you can hardly sell them on. As an example to my point.

    For example look at the first 5 mp3 players on buy it now on ebay, infact look at the whole first page. Am i really going to sell any of these on ? Or simply lob them in the bin or out the top roof of my house to the concrete below. Its not worth the time and the hassle for the £99p you would sell one of these for.

    Items that sell on ebay are often resold on ebay, but now alot (Not all) but a considerable amount of goods sold on ebay is just that. Really cheap products from Non EU countries. They have no resale value and hence dont get resold.

  • Ian A
    2 years ago

    The 55 comments at the bottom of the article pretty much sum up private sellers attitudes towards ebay
    ‘Fees too expensive. No seller protection. Rather give item to charity. Not worth the hassle’.

    I think the fun has gone out of it with all ebays rules. Plus you used to get ‘money for old rope’ ie. good money for old things. Now you’re lucky if your items get seen at all and you make enough to cover postage costs. – which ebay also now take a fee on – both upsetting and confusing private sellers.

    • ifellow
      2 years ago

      Most are morning about fees but amazon is more expensive.

      Our business is almost 50:50 ebay amazon now. Used to be 100% ebay. I preferred it being all ebay, but you have to move with the times.

      The last ceo pushed non EU sellers so hard, that now as a buyer I choose non EU site directly and not ebay. That will be next penny to drop, I used to shop almost exclusively on eBay. This year I’ve done more purchases in other sites, but a few bigger ones in ebay. Transaction wise I’ve done far less on ebay and I bet I’m not alone.

    • JohnC
      2 years ago

      The occasional private seller won’t be selling on Amazon, will they?

    • ifellow
      2 years ago

      If you read the comments, a few mention selling on amazon. I dont quite get it.

  • radroach
    2 years ago

    I’ve noticed a general trend among friends and relatives to try selling on eBay, but to settle in the end on using local Facebook and similar groups . Fee free and less impersonal (you can often find out a lot about the seller) – in particular eBay taking a cut of the postage charge is seen as both irksome and somewhat bizarre.

  • Roger C
    2 years ago

    For me the factor that can be the biggest deterrent to selling on eBay more frustrating than eBay/PayPal fees is the cost of postage.

    Years ago I used to sell quality books, typically the sort of publication Buyers would turn to eBay to search out a particular need. But as postage costs rose inevitably some of my listings began to look as if the main constituent I was selling was the P&P.

    Almost reactionary I’ve gone back twice a year to doing a big car boot sale with items on my tables that I used to sell on eBay . . . and yes the fun has gone out of eBay too.

  • Tinker
    2 years ago

    I miss the certificate ebay gave you the download link to so to print and colour in

  • steve
    2 years ago

    There is a huge and growing facebook market ; my daughter uses it to buy and sell baby stuff. Its a bit like it used to be in that people seem happy to collect stuff of the doorstep and put the money through the letter box. The local Newspaper I worked for 30 years ago had a thriving classifed section , killed almost overnight by ebay – with a readership of 30,000 its interesting to note that in the same location there are 12000 members of facebook groups.

    I did a small trial of facebook, offering a bike and a patio set – both sold the same day, collected and paid with in hours. Ebay walked away from this , their core business. Its probably too late for them to recover, and I personally doubt they have the competence to do so.

  • paddy
    2 years ago

    I find selling personal stuff on Ebay a pain at the moment. It just doesn’t seem worth it at the moment. I’m finding a lot more success on Gumtree.

    • Chris
      2 years ago

      Gumtree for me is useless.
      Whether I’m not listing the right things or I’m too expensive, I get no interest at all.
      Not a call, message, email nada.

      Any tips?

  • Chris
    2 years ago

    Surely this article can be reversed into being a good thing for Full time sellers on eBay? Less competition, more stock to buy etc.

  • steve
    2 years ago

    Any tips…
    Had no success on Gumtree either – the bike and patio set had been up on Gumtree for a month at the same price it went on facebook. however, in fairness, it wasn’t expensive and both buyers where within 6 miles of me, so very local. Thats the interesting part, facebook groups seem to grow out of a very local nucleus; my daughter though sells stuff all over the country, so it does indeed work nationally .

  • james
    2 years ago

    gumtree is a different market; gumtree customers tend to be looking for

    local services
    free stuff
    used stuff
    fell off a lorry stuff.

    if you dont sell one of those, gumtree probably isnt the right place for it.

    also, if you dont get harassed within the first couple of days, nobody is looking at your advert after that.

    try buying on gumtree first, you’ll tend to find the bargains are all gone within ten seconds of being advertised, so nobody calls a 2-day old advert, cos its usually a waste of time.

    its a double-edged sword though, be prepared for morons calling at 3am asking if you’ll take a fiver and deliver it 30 miles away.

  • paddy
    2 years ago

    Tips for selling on Gumtree?

    I just use it to get rid of some of the kids old stuff. As someone else mentioned stuff tends to be bought straight away or it takes ages. I usually post at the weekend, which seems to help.

  • S
    2 years ago

    The risk of being scammed is now so great that i’d rather have my second-hand stuff lying in a draw than to sell it, only to be well and truly duped.
    The exception is cash on collection, but posting is out of the question.
    eBay was fun when they didn’t interfere in every single transaction. Pretty much everybody has had a terrible experience as a seller and we’re all looking to jump ship

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