Amazon bucks trend : Q4 sales up 18%

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amazonAmazon have released their Q4 2008 figures today. Sales for the quarter were up 18% (to $6.7 billion) compared to the same quarter in 2007. Sales from Amazon’s international sites did even better, up 19%. Business was up across all segments of Amazon’s business, with media sales up 9% and electronics up an impressive 31%. Jeff Bezos said that the company is “particularly grateful for the unusually strong demand for Kindle” over the fourth quarter.

Amazon bucks the general trend, which saw a drop in online sales over the holiday shopping season (November – December 24th 2008). eBay’s Q4 results announced last week saw a fall of 16% in revenue of their marketplace businesses.

There’s no breakdown of sales into those made by Amazon themselves and those made by their third party sellers, though the press release does mention 3 million items shipped by FBA.

After last week’s news that Facebook’s traffic has overtaken that of eBay in the UK, this is another blow to eBay’s online position.

32 Responses

  1. No surpise really.

    On one hand you have Amazon, who are good at being Amazon

    On the other you have ebay, who are discovering they are rubbish at being Amazon

  2. In the ‘alice in wonderland’ world of eBay the Amazon results will only re-inforce the view of the barmy bainite and his followers that they must pedal even harder towards the cliff edge!
    Expect more disruptive innovation for sellers and buyers alike before JD finally gets the sack – having comprehensively ruined eBay for the next 12-18 months.
    They will also have to start selling off parts of the business real soon – watch out for the u turn anytime soon.
    Funny ha ha it is not.

  3. here we go then another round of ebay bashing
    not a lot said about amazon or amazons methods just negative comments about ebay,

  4. I find two things very interesting about Amazon’s performance last year. One that I don’t know is just how much growth there was for third party sellers on the platform and did it increase or decrease as a percentage of Amazons business as a whole.

    The second is that last year Amazon flogged off it’s EU DVD business for some ยฃ53m. Indigostarfish are now Amazon’s “preferred partner” as far as DVD sales go and operate out of the Channel Islands thus avoiding VAT.

  5. For the sake of balance { and to stay on norfs good side}, ebay are excellent at doing what ebay do best…Auctions.I wouldnt list my stuff any where else.

  6. 6 Exactly!

    I fail to see what facebook has to do with ebay is beyond me its a social networking site in general for under 30s,

    if it sold more than ebay then I would start taking notice of its traffic figures

  7. @ # 7

    That’s an interesting point. I’ve always wondered what FaceBook would look like as an online marketplace. People don’t hide there behind aliases. You actually see the person you are dealing with.

  8. @Norf #7
    “what Facebook traffic has to do with eBay” –
    for one thing, because “looking at eBay” used to be a thing that people did. If those people are now playing on Facebook instead of browsing eBay, that’s an awful lot of impulse buys lost.

    As for “for under 30s”: though approximately 50% of Fb’s traffic is 18-25, that means 50% of it isn’t. You might not sell much to people in their 20s, but plenty of us do. I wouldn’t want to dismiss either side of the big 3-0 divide.

  9. Sue I want to sell to anyone who has money I dont care if they are an Embryo or Dead ,
    though as yet I have not manged to sell a thing to anyone on Facebook, so I dont agree that Facebook has any relevancy to online selling

  10. Norf

    It has a big relevancy to online selling as it can be used for just that!

    I stuck one of our brands on there, did no work to the page really but stuck some pics on it and within a few weeks it had fans!!! lol so I could email them and say.. hey look at this blah blah blah

    It’s just another avenue to use and it costs nothing!

    Plus Sue is right about people using that instead of mooching around ebay, infact I havent been on ebay in months, probably coz I can’t use it, but went on there the other day just to see what is what and can’t believe how much it has changed and how much bloody advertising there is now!!

    Ebay are just becoming another brand thats lost their way a bit and like everything it go’s around Amazon this year, ebay the next and so on just like it does with brands on the high street.


  11. People mooch about the porno sites too but I have no intention of advertising or selling there

  12. This may cause Ebay to desire to become even more Amazonesque.

    I would like to see more emphasis on auctions again. That is indeed a strength that Ebay has over everyone.

    They should play to that strength.

    I love what they have done to the BIN system, but still feel it needs to come down in price.

    I think if they slashed auction listing fees primarily, it would bring back the small seller, who would also be the small buyer.

    Many perceive Ebay to be expensive these days.

    It is easier to get fees out of a happy seller who has just made some money than it is to get fees out of someone who has a genuine fear their item will not sell, and all they will do is give Ebay money.

    Ebay need to bring down Auction insertion fees and create traffic on the site again.

    Overall, I am please with Ebay as a venue however.


  13. How about a revolution Ebay?

    A 10p/15c listing flat fee for auctions (no dupes of course).

    Then watch traffic as cash starved sellers start to use Ebay to bring some money in again.

    Try it and see…


  14. Just read in Retail Week Amazon are planning to launch food onto the site as they have done in US!

    Should be intresting to see what happens there, hopefully bring more buyers to the site again!


  15. In my mind amazon stills has much more potential for growth than eBay but the potential to share in that growth is not really there for many micro size business.

    eBay’s figures may not be as good as Amazon’s if you are an investor but there is still a lot of sales to be made if you go about things in the right way + much more potential to create and move forward your own brand.

  16. This is not good and there is absolutely no reason why this should have happened. If eBay carry on treating sellers the same way, then these numbers will only get worse. EBay need to take a good look at their actions in Q4. Sellers pay 100% of eBayโ€™s revenue, so they need to be looked after just as much as the buyers, otherwise sellers will carry on cutting back and looking at other channels.

    EBay have dropped the ball here by forcing their best sellers away to Amazon by promoting low cost, low quality products and sellers.

  17. I have to agree with Norf, I dont get the comparsion between traffic for eBay UK and Facebook..

    More than twice as many people look at than look at ebay UK..Facebook and (never looked btw, alexa told me ๐Ÿ˜† ) both use adwords, but I can’t imagine you go to either of them to buy anything…?

    although thats got me thinking..get a couple of busty babes sat in a bath tub with my web address at the bottom, that could work,,

  18. there are only a finite number of people whirly

    i would be interested in ebays page retention numbers, I bet those are down too

    the busty babes may alienate some of your female punters though

  19. If I were Amazon I would be a little miffed ,
    great trading figures posted ,all anyone can talk about is eBAY
    there is little interest on
    how do I get a slice of this action ,or how well amazon works for me,
    it just shows
    that Ebay is far from Dead, and still the one to beat,
    though if Amazon or any other site worked better for us , we would not hesitate
    It would be Sod ebay

  20. “we would not hesitate It would be Sod ebay”

    …This is eBays biggest problem by far, forget all the search issues and high fees etc they can all be fixed.

    But when your customers are only using YOUR service because no-one else provides a similar service….That is not so easy to fix.

  21. and rather than facebook subtracting from ebay could it be that many people who would not otherwise log on to the net are attracted by facebook and may then notice ebay

  22. #21 Thats a good point.

    Our sales ratio for eBay/Amazon is 100/3, eBay is ideal for us, tried all the other ones and the results are total rubbish.

    I’ve not even had a question on eBid in 2 years, I dont even bother logging on anymore.

    But if something else came along who knows, I don’t feel any loyalty towards eBay anymore.

    If they stopped mucking around for 5 bloody minutes I might start supporting them a bit more, but as it is I use them purely to drive traffic.

  23. Quite a few of my family and extended family , are nutty professors, Educated fools,
    Politics, Newspaper editors,
    Barristers , Medical researchers etc,
    they buy books from Amazon for fun, they dont even look elsewhere, it never enters their mind to use ebay

  24. #24 It definately suits certain products and certain people, my mum wouldn’t dream of using eBay, Amazon everytime for her.

    And on that note I am off out down to the furniture store to buy some new sofas, every sod on eBay wants to stiff me on the carriage for living in Cornwall, well they can bog off ๐Ÿ˜†

  25. Hi All
    Went to a small business mtg on Thurs.
    I spoke to thirty + small businesses.
    Not one of them had shopped on eBay.
    But most had shopped on Amazon…

    The DC4U brand is on eBay, but I have a little venture on Amazon…
    Amazon is out performing eBay. I for one am saddened, as I love(d) eBay…
    At least on Amazon I can charge P&P, and not be hammered for it,
    The best bit, I only pay when I sell something.
    Suz x

  26. #27 So why does your domain ( point to your ebay shop? And why do you offer free postage on ebay when you don’t have to? Surely if Amazon is doing that well you should at least be directing to your own domain traffic to Amazon? Or am I missing something?

  27. Hi Andy
    Thanks for clicking though,


    Sorry! I am not discussing my marketing strategies on an open forum. Rather than criticize me, why not add to the discussion?

    I would have emailed you directly, but your comment does not seem to link to anywhere. . .

    With kindest wishes
    Suz x

  28. As a (very close to being an ex)ebay seller it is definately time to get away from the sinking ship ebay!!!!!

    ebay & Paypal’s continued support of blatantly obvious fraudulent ‘buyers’/scammers got me looking at other options, and having worked on a project for many months it won’t be long before i hang up my ebay boots for good. There is a better life outside of ebay, you just got to explore other avenues.

    By the time ebay realise it’s the sellers they need to protect rather than dodgy buyers, it’ll be too late. Already sellers are leaving in their droves. May ebay & paypal sink in the poo of their own making.


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