Last 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?