According to Alexa.com the top ten most popular sites in the UK are made up of search (eg Google, Yahoo, MSN) and community sites (MySpace, YouTube, Wikipedia). Only one ecommerce site appears in the top ten and this, unsurprisingly, is eBay.co.uk, sitting comfortably in position three. The top ten is pretty stable and the next highest ecommerce site is Amazon.co.uk, just missing out at eleventh most popular.
With facts such as one in three UK Internet users visiting eBay.co.uk at least once a month it’s not surprising it’s the most popular auction site for sellers and justifiably so as the competition just don’t have the traffic. Whilst eBay performs consistently the alternative selling venues have varying fortunes.
Ebid saw an upturn in its traffic views in October which is likely attributable to the changes in Shop Inventory Format fees on the eBay site prompting sellers to try an alternative. Now in mid November this upturn has nosedived and looks more like a temporary blip then a permanent change of fortunes.
QXL jogs along with no great changes but with about forty visits per million browsers.
Tazbar, the new kid on the block, looks more hopeful but bear in mind it’s early days. Having ambled along averaging ten views per million browsers it’s skyrocketed to forty in the last month. (TV Advertising effect?) The real question is are all the views from sellers or do they have some buyers yet? Completed listing searches don’t fill you with confidence.
All these sites pale into insignificance when eBay is thrown into the mix though. Alexa shows steady traffic, averaging some seven thousand views per million browsers confirming its status as the granddaddy of the auction sites. If you want to know where you’re most likely to get sales put your money into eBay fees because the other sites added together don’t even register as a blip on the horizon. If you do want an alternative your only hope as a serious seller right now is that your products fit Amazon’s portfolio.
We often wonder what it would take for a serious contender to eBay, and the answer is traffic, and lots of it. Tempting promises of free listing fees simply serve to fill the site with items that eBay largely escapes except on cheap listing days. Sure it bumps up the number of listings on the site but then when a hard won buyer eventually arrives any quality goods are swamped by the dross. It doesn’t matter how great a site looks, what counts is if a site can attract the buyers but currently only eBay is worth a serious seller concentrating on.
Is the marketplace big enough for a serious contender? Almost certainly yes and a monopoly is never healthy. Is there one out there? For the professional online sellers looking at return on time and investment the answer is not yet but maybe soon – only time will tell.