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eBay vs Amazon and their CEO’s war of words

By Chris Dawson April 23, 2019 - 10:00 am

It’s an interesting time as Amazon start to take notice of eBay for the first time. Having previously (for two decades) refused to acknowledge competition and avoided the eBay vs Amazon conversation, instead claiming to obsess about what’s best for their customers, Amazon and their CEO Jeff Bezos called out eBay in their annual letter to shareholders. Amazon purposefully picked the most advantageous time period (20 years) to claim that merchant on Amazon are growing faster than sellers on eBay, it would have been more relevant (but less impressive) to focus on the past few years which is what matters to sellers today.

The truth is that merchants have been more successful in terms of pure turnover on eBay, there was a time when eBay sellers first started to list on Amazon and most saw their businesses double overnight. Hidden behind the top line growth stats is a more important question however, and that is on which marketplace are online retailers more profitable.


eBay CEO, Devin Wenig immediately fired a twitter tweet back at Amazon following the publication of Jeff Bezos’ letter and now in his own letter to share holders has escalated the war of words going even further.

eBay vs Amazon – what eBay CEO Devin Wenig had to say

Devin started off his letter saying that eBay are “fiercely loyal in protecting eBay’s unique advantage as a true marketplace in service of small independent businesses, consumer sellers, and buyers”, and went on to say “we don’t compete with our sellers and we refuse to compromise the shopping experience to push ‘house brands'”.

Not limiting his broadside at Amazon to them competing with merchants on their platform, Devin went on to say that eBay “fundamentally object to unnaturally bundling services” which is a direct poke at Amazon FBA and Amazon Seller Fulfilled Prime which are often key to success on Amazon.

Devin also called out eBay’s progress since the split with PayPal citing that eBay have added 20 million new buyers to a total of 179 million and grew inventory to 1.2 billion listings from 850 million and grown the volume of transactions on eBay to see gross merchandise volume increase to $95 billion, up 16% from $82 billion.

eBay vs Amazon – where are online sellers more profitable?

eBay remains the second biggest marketplace outside of China. Amazon currently is still the biggest but, at least according to many Tamebay readers, eBay is the more profitable for sellers.

  • 4 months ago

    I agree I make way more money on eBay

  • 4 months ago

    Chris, I know you like to generalise with sweeping statements but I disagree, I make far more money on Amazon, 3/4X more, selling the same products.

    That does not mean that there are not people Like Wyatt and others that will make more, it just depends on what you are selling and your set-up.

    I find both portals to be as bad as each other and customer service is poor from both.

  • SAM
    4 months ago

    Amazon is great for sales with no profit frankly. I sold plenty with them via FBA but there is just no margin left, so the only winner is Amazon. So just stopped putting stock in….it is penny chasing.

    eBay is just as bad, hardly anyone I know is using it anymore these days. The site has become a complete shambles in the last two years….Wenig is a complete disaster and I wish they would get shot of the guy and all his Cronies…eBay is a marketplace for small Indy sellers my backside, it is a chop shop full of fakes and high street cast offs, and misold goods.
    It was once the go to market not now however.
    Where we are still turning a trick is with a lot of smaller markets like Game …
    I have to really adapt to keep selling profitably and right now that does not involve either of these two.

    Neither of these tax Dodgers have the merchants Longevity in mind and will squeeze you for every last penny…and the service is a disgrace.

    Any winner however between these two is Amazon however, 1st round knockout, Joe public is totally Amazoned Up….eBay has never evolved or innovated it will still cling on for a few more years but if Jeff has a bee in his bonnet he will take them out…

    • 4 months ago

      @Sam – then increase your prices, why have sales with no profit?

      I have products that do not sell well on Amazon and others I can not stop selling. Most of the items I can not sell on Amazon are also sold by Amazon, even when they are “out of stock” they still hog the Buy Box.

      I also cannot compete with Amazon as they do not include postage & packing in the price, so they always appear cheaper, even if you are not a Prime member. This is the way they manipulate the marketplace.

      Some items I used to not even bother listing, but occasionally you will find you get the buy box and do make sales.

      You also get sales by getting the buy box even though you are more expensive than others. Buy box rules…

  • SAM
    4 months ago

    @tyler

    Increasing prices simply does not work I wish I could , marketplaces like eBay and Amazon are “race to the bottom models”…plus in my sector there are better options available, I do understand a lot of sectors do not have the choices I do. With what you sell Amazon may suit you great, everyone is different.
    Hey I have done very well on both them for 10 years. Still I will use them but much more limited scale and mainly for the UK.
    I walked away from using FBA over a year ago (turnover went clearly down but I started to make money selling in the right places) , now am slowly getting rid of eBay (which is a disaster-zone right now).
    There are a lot of places to sell away from both Amazon and eBay, all be it not UK based.

    Researching my competitors (we seem to follow each other about all the sites) they are all struggling with eBay…most have walked from Amazon PRIME also.

    Right now in my opinion in my “sector” these are not smart places to invest at the present…

    • 4 months ago

      @Sam, increasing prices does work, it means that when and if you make a sale on Amazon you make a profit.

  • 4 months ago

    If I had to have my 15 years of Ebay selling again I would only do one thing differently; buy Amazon shares every month with my profits!

    • SAM
      4 months ago

      So would we all…I stupidly bought RMG ones and loads off them with a lot of mine…, thinking everyone would buy on eBay and RMG would be booming with all those deliveries.
      Both companies are having it handed to them by Amazon….can’t innovate, can’t change with the Times, always want more for less…run by balloons.

      Kids might get a return when am past it.

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