Analyst expects more buyers to ditch eBay for Amazon and Google

By Dan Wilson January 7, 2016 - 3:33 pm

Financial analyst Steve Weinstein has revealed in a research note that he expects eBay to have trouble engaging buyers and will see only small increases in revenue in the near future.

He writes: “We continue to view core eBay growth as disappointing when compared to other e-commerce companies. We believe the sustained underperformance reflects confused brand identity and an inability to provide a compelling experience for buyers and sellers.”

Weinstein says he Weinstein expects eBay’s marketplace revenue to rise 0.3% in Q4 vs. Q4 2014 to $1.835 billion. That’s above the Wall Street consensus estimate of $1.833 billion.

In the ecommerce battle between eBay, Amazon and eBay eBay is increasingly being seen as the venue for “bargain hunters”. For my money Weinstein does sum up eBay’s problems succinctly. It’s not entirely clear what eBay is for in the ever more crowded space and there’s work to do on the buyer and seller experience. We’ll see if 2016 is the year that eBay rediscovers its mojo.

  • Gary
    2 years ago

    In an age where online sales growth is 20%+ annually ebay are standing still. Unless you sell niche products that Amazon don’t cover, or can make a decent return from auction sales, or are shifting returns/refurbished items, or committing VAT fraud, or are an overseas seller of Poundland type goods, then why would you sell on ebay?

    Compare ebay search with Amazon search, or even google search, and it is easy to see why shoppers with money who are time poor are deserting ebay. The only two types of ebay buyers left are those who want something for nothing and who have the free time to spend hours surfing ebay to try and save a pound or two, or those looking for a niche hard to find item or collectable.

  • james
    2 years ago

    No not quite right….
    “an inability to provide a compelling experience for buyers and sellers”
    eBay have succeeded magnificently in creating a compelling experience for sellers.
    we’re compelled to leave at the first opportunity.
    you’ll never meet a company that takes £200k of your money every year, then literally speak to you like a moron who just wandered in off the street.
    except at ebay, where its standard practice.

  • tinker
    2 years ago

    yep ebay invite and provide the world a means of kicking
    you in the nuts, then when you object they also kick you in the nuts

    • 2 years ago

      Cricket Umpire to Batsman: “You are out, sir, and you are out with a duck, and you will now also be hit on the head with a bat.”

  • Jono
    2 years ago

    You just need to see the volume of sellers complaining on the forums and the daily ‘that’s it i’m off bye’ posts. I have closed two large eBay stores myself and moved to Amazon, one doing over 2000 orders a day in the run up to Christmas – that was 2014 by the way.

    eBay has been falling apart for many years now and everyone I speak to either doesn’t like using eBay as it doesn’t show the correct search, is buggy, shows thousands of cheap China imports or simply they feel you will get dodgy goods from them.

    You ask anyone who is the more professional or who do you trust more between Amazon and eBay and Amazon win every single time.

    If it wasn’t the only major auction site available it would have closed years ago.

  • Andy
    2 years ago

    We’re investing away from ebay. We find selling on ebay encourages us to downgrade on quality and lower price – otherwise we’re on page 6 in search results. Then there is the impossible battle with Chinese sellers selling brand knock-offs and using obviously false (to professional sellers) descriptions “gold”, “silver”, “leather” etc. Ebay is fast becoming the place to sell mistakes you couldn’t sell elsewhere – the equivalent of the Sunday market.

    • 2 years ago

      Until about 5 years ago, eBay provided many aspiring online merchants with a fairly easy way to start selling online. Some people managed to make a living out of it.

      But in recent years, rapidly changing online shopping habits, and the advances in technology, now require that online merchants have a far greater degree of control over their online functionality.

      By their very nature, these big web portals like eBay and Amazon have to have a “one-size-fits-all” structural model, and they cannot provide the degree of individual flexibility that is now essential in online selling.

      Almost every online merchant – independent sellers as well as portal users – will find that, over time, sales are incentivised by making important changes to the shopping experience, both in line with and in advance of online shopping trends.

      Merchants who use portals are bound by the constraints of the “one-size-fits-all” technologies and at best this stunts business growth and at worst it actually kills the business.

      In my view, any serious online merchant is better off going it alone where the rapid pace of change can be managed according to the needs of the merchant and the shopping habits of their customers.

      We operate independent sites, and we make changes and improvements constantly. Our sites today are nothing like they were three years ago. We’ve kept pace with mobile shopping, fast checkout, website speed, inline structured meta-data, cross-sell and up-sell systems that increase average order values, etc,etc…

      Very little of this can be effectively achieved on a large, generic portal.

  • Mark
    2 years ago

    Can ebay stand still whilst e-commerce booms across the world? Surely not? Take over bid? I suspect something will happen in 2016 – major change ahead.

  • Kyle
    2 years ago

    Amazon may be growing but is it the marketplace or is it just Prime? We have worse problems with Amazon than eBay.

    Yes, Amazon doesn’t have as many “lost” packages and customers are happy to pay up rather than nickle and diming you but that’s about the end of the pros.

    We don’t have many problems with Chinese sellers on eBay but we have major problems with VAT dodging American sellers on Amazon.

    For our items the sizes and model numbers matter a lot and because of the way listings work on Amazon it often happens that other sellers overwrite the listing with incorrect descriptions. If a rogue seller does this to an entire range it can take hours of work to get the photos and file the cases that Amazon requires to fix the listings.

    Then after all that work if the item sells well Amazon will start stocking it themselves and sell it well under RRP with free Prime shipping. Of course whenever this happens they always choose our description and our photos and not the crap other sellers flood the catalogue with. It makes us feel like we’re working for Amazon rather than ourselves.

  • Andy R
    2 years ago

    Will the last seller to leave Ebay please turn out the light?

  • Andy
    2 years ago

    How the mighty have fallen eh!

  • Sam
    2 years ago

    I still do decent trade on eBay, but you tend to stick to low end goods for the site been burned far to many times.
    Time and effort it takes also
    eBay themselves have lost touch with the sellers .
    I started selling seriously on Amazon Via FBA just over a years ago and have doubled my business.
    I do think eBay need to react, it is not just the sellers who are going elsewhere it is the buyers.
    When I am charging nearly 25% more for something on Amazon than on eBay and Selling 10 times as Much on Amazon something is wrong….

    • 2 years ago

      Good to hear that you are managing to both sustain and grow the business- so it seems like you have good business acumen. – and that’s really what online selling is… good business sense.

      If you are a good (or reasonably good) business-person, you should look at going independent. We operate independent sites (have never sold on any of these portals) and while initially it costs a bit with PPC advertising, this diminishes over time. Also, we have complete freedom to manage and control our sites and can tweak them virtually “on-the-fly” to account for the rapidly changing ecommerce environment.

      You should look at going it alone… You’ll make more money that way…

  • 2 years ago

    I sold on ebay for 13 years.

    My seller fees have dwindled from their peak of £1200 pcm to zero. I am a TRS, 14K feedback, 100% positive with 5 out of 5 stars across the board. I cannot make it work for me.

    Too much buyer fraud, constant changes to listings, inconsistent search rankings, advertising for competitors on my own adverts and perpetual meddling with MY customers.

    Websites/Google are harder. But when they’re done they’re done and keep working for you without change unless you want to make the changes yourself. This leaves you free to concentrate your efforts into generating more business.

    My trade suppliers send me nice things at Christmas. They phone me up and a real person engages with me and looks for ways for both of us to make more money. Royal Mail, UPS and DPD all speak to me regularly and look after me as a customer. Worldpay treat me like a god – even though I must be in the bottom 10% of their clients according to turnover. My shopping cart provider cares when it doesn’t work as well as it could and makes improvements based on suggestions from its customers (as opposed to quoting data from some crackpot fantasy survey).

    ebay haven’t noticed that I used to spend 15K a year with them and that now I erm…don’t.

    They do not deserve my business.

    • 2 years ago

      I was at an eCommerce seminar a few months ago and one of the key speakers there said… “The only people who make money on eBay, is eBay. If you want to make money from eBay, buy its shares… don’t even think about trying to run your business there…” (or words to that effect).

      My own view is that eBay is just a race to the bottom. The vast majority of shoppers go their only to find some poor sucker who, desperate for sales, is hawking the desired product(s) at a ridiculously low price.

      eBay cares not a hoot if their merchants are profitable or not. Their objective is to capture eyeballs and hold onto them until some sort of purchase is made. It matters not from whom the purchase is made… so long as it’s via an eBay merchant.

      Many (aspiring) online sellers still think that if they are making sales, they are in business. But you are only in business if you are making profits – and that is very, very difficult on eBay, where there are sometimes hundreds of competitors selling the same item – all chasing down the sale in the misguided belief that any sale is good for business.

      We run (and always have done) our own independent webshops, and while it is more time-consuming and requires a lot more attention, we are at least profitable, and have been for a long time. We are able to configure and operate our webshops in ways that suit us, and our customers’ shopping needs and habits. It must be extremely frustrating for eBay merchants to not have any meaningful control on, or influence over how their webshops actually function. We have learned to use a raft of tools and analyses to tweak and re-structure our sites – almost in real-time. I can’t see how eBay can be an attractive option for any modern online entrepreneur…

  • 2 years ago

    Over the years, eBay has increasingly distanced itseif from its users (both buyers and sellers) in terms of important “personal touch” features that are now returning to the business relationship.

    I don’t sell on eBay… there’s not enough flexibility in its selling structures for my business activities, but I am quite a frequent shopper there, often spending quite a bit of time (like all other eBay shoppers) digging out the poor idiots who are selling what I need at what has to be a loss to them.

    But my visits are diminishing – largely because it is taking far too long to find what one is really after. Merchant after merchant have failed to organise their eBay shops into easily navigable categories, so one spends an inordinate amount of time scrolling through screen after screen of products trying to find the one shown in the Google ad.

    If eBay took a more proactive role in encouraging and helping its merchants organise their stores so that customers could drill down more rapidly through a hierarchy of categories, rather than scroll in a linear fashion, then people like me would visit more often.

    While price is still a significant factor in most people’s purchasing decision, time is becoming more important. Online shoppers want to get to their desired item very quickly, make the purchase, and move on within a minute or two. I don’t actually mind spending a little more, if I find a merchant who facilitates rapid purchase and checkout.

    By comparison – and a lot of it has to do with clever automation and algorithms – Google shopping is much faster – particularly if the merchant to whom one is directed has a fast checkout process.

    We have a dedicated Google representative who calls us about once a month to offer advice and help – and they sometimes spend 20 minutes on the phone with us. We’re certainly not a very large operation and have a “small” adwords budget compared to many adwords users. But for the last 2 – 3 years, we’ve routinely been contracted by a Google rep who has not only taken the trouble to do some homework on our Google account, but who has offered some really helpful advice in squeezing more out of our campaigns, as well as commenting on website issues outside of their control.

    eBay (certainly if you are a shopper there) is well nigh impossible to contact. I don’t know if it’s easier if one is a merchant, but I have the distinct impression that eBay just does not want to be plagued by either its merchants, or their customers.

    • 2 years ago

      I am finding Google Shopping to be very good value for money. I don’t use Adwords at all.

      I still have an ebay presence – people are buying off my website at retail prices and selling my products on ebay to fill the gap that I left. They are more than welcome to that side of the business!

      Contacting ebay is pot luck. Sometimes you get Manilla – occasionally you get through to Ireland. Ireland is better. The people manning the phones in Manilla do speak very good English, but it’s not always enough when you’re trying to get your point across if something isn’t working as it should.

  • Sam F
    2 years ago

    eBay: Yesterday’s Amazon tomorrow….

    • Derek Duval
      2 years ago

      Could not disagree more…We find Ebay easier and sales are 100 fold what amazon is

  • James
    2 years ago

    It does appear that this portal is not so much in palliative care, but someway through the cremation process.

  • Psb
    2 years ago

    All these people moaning that their sales are down on e abay – maybe nobody wants to buy your tat jewellery anymore.

    • Sam O'levski
      2 years ago

      Unless you’re trying to wind someone up, that has to rank as one of the most idiotic comments I’ve read on here – perhaps none of those commenting are jewellery sellers.
      When listings are being hidden, and stuff which is listed at a fraction of the selling prices of a couple of years ago doesn’t get sold (despite demand being strong elsewhere), something’s not quite right.

    • psb
      2 years ago

      How many times do you idiots have to be told – nobody is “hiding listings”. The answer is simple. Nobody wants to buy the cheap tat you are selling. Ebay is rightly moving away from being an “online Poundland”. Our sales on ebay are up month upon month, year upon year. Every month, every year beating the previous equivalent by a great margin. Why? Because customers want to buy high street products from a limited company not from an individual selling cheap junk from their garage or loft.

      The sooner small tat sellers are gone the better. They are the blight of ebay.


    • James
      2 years ago


    • psb
      2 years ago

      If you don’t find ebay useful or profitable anymore – just go. Stop moaning about it day after day, boring us all witless. Nobody will miss you. Leave ebay to the professionals.

    • Derek Duval
      2 years ago

      IS it time for your medication yet 🙂

    • Jason M
      2 years ago

      Just an internet troll, obviously bored of usual trolling grounds.

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