Can eBay stage a recovery after a dismal August?

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Scot Wingo’s monthly SSS (same stores sales) report is required reading at Tamebay Towers. It’s a useful source and you can find the August report in full here.

The headlines are as expected: Amazon is growing faster than eBay and actually eBay has a real problem in that it is growing not at all. Auctions are in real decline.

Here’s the eBay Graph:

CA graph

(If it’s a bit small for you to read then you can see it bigger here on the Channel Advisor website.)

The key insight for me is that eBay desperately needs to turn itself around in the next few months and have a very good Christmas if it’s to have any real long-term future. It cannot hide behind the PayPal results now it’s a lone entity and these August numbers cannot give us any optimism.

Obviously, any turnaround is a big ask but it is essential and the 2015 Q3 results will be truly required reading to see if there are any signs of an uptick. eBay doesn’t have much time to be circumspect: the sharks are circling. We’ll see if the raft of announcements due later in the week form a reasonable plan for recovery.

(It’s worth noting that these numbers are from a cohort of CA sellers but they are reflective of the entire marketplace. Scot has a full list of caveats and disclaimers about the report in the post.)

19 Responses

  1. August was a rubbish month, we were 30% down on last year so perhaps the eyes have been taken off the ball when the split was happening?

    Ebay need to pull their finger out for Christmas plus sort out their categories. A successful category for me has been suddenly hit with a load of none category products from China, if I was a buyer I would not even both searching through it to find what I was looking for.

  2. Ebay’s problems are too numerous to mention; here’s just a few that come to mind:

    Duplicate listings across multiple ID registered to the same real world address.
    Misrepresentation of location by international sellers.
    False price representation by misusing multiple variations.
    Automatic *wrong* category selection when searching.
    Inconsistent search results for identical consecutive searches.
    Inconsistent search results when selecting specific locales.
    Awful service from large swathes of platinum sellers masked by high turnover of loss-leading lines.
    Listings that just disappear via a search that you *know* were there seconds ago (search manipulation).
    Diminishing variety of products due to sellers leaving in droves – horrifyingly unfair defect system that punishes good service.
    Unrealistic promises of impossible delivery dates.

    If they can’t even get the basics right, what hope is there? They don’t care though; they’re all off on a 20th anniversary w**king excercise.

  3. Ebay have totally lost the plot this year, the site has been meddling and faffing around with nonsense, whilst ignoring the real issues (like site security), for the last 5-6 years whilst Amazon has been shooting ahead, but since spring this year the results of this self important twaddle and attempt to control every action of buyers and sellers alike has been painfully obvious.

    What is Amazon’s secret? Well, nothing ‘amazing’ actually, it’s not THAT good a site to sell on really and certainly could do better in some areas, BUT it meddles much less with sellers getting on and… well, selling, which at the end of the day is what it’s all about.

    Ebay got too up itself and started to think it was some kind of ‘all knowing’ entity with God like powers which it could use to train buyers and (especially) sellers to jump through hoops like performing seals. Certain people at Ebay started to meddle merely for the sake of meddling, I think, and really weren’t half as clever as they thought they were. The irony is that left alone Ebay would STILL be outperforming Amazon, now it’s hard to imagine it recovering at all and Amazon are wiping the floor with them.

  4. eBay vs E-commerce growth overall not great either. Take into account the increasing number of sellers and also listings/items, I think the average seller is not growing. I doubt there will a significant reverse in the trend, eBay are just not listening and it’s clear sellers are spending less time with eBay and investing more in other options. I think it’s surprising eBay UK have managed to hold so much of their market share.

  5. “Auctions are in real decline”

    In the UK I think this is partly because business sellers are pointed in the direction of fixed price listings by the fee structure.

    A significant minority of us sell items which could be offered by auction, but the shop subscription includes only zero insertion fees for fixed price listings and the offers (such as the current one for up to 50,000 fixed price listings) are absolutely never for auction listings.

  6. Interesting to see the figures, but I think most professional sellers knew ebay was in trouble. I have a horrible feeling that the ebay panacea will be painful to small sellers. It usually is.

  7. Id have to agree with Mike – Amazon is light years ahead of EBAY even though their site is pretty damn buggy to sell on.

    However Amazon do use common sense with decision making and have sorted out pretty much every issue I’ve raised quickly and professionally.

    EBAY are finished – I do feel for the small sellers for whom Ebay is their only selling outlet – I was one of them 3 years ago but now sell everywhere except EBAY.
    I will never return as a seller or buyer.

  8. eBay have completely lost the plot and have just tied sellers up in red tape. I spend all my eBay time dealing with defects, requests, updating Product Identifiers, Custom Specifics, blah, blah. All manner of bullshit that has nothing to do with actually creating new listings and selling product.

    In comparison, Amazon make it easier to sell than ever. I often get phone calls from them and they point me in the right direction to increase our business. They have a light touch in customer service allowing customer & merchant to resolve issues, and only get involved when they need to.

    Rakuten are also taking a proactive approach and we will be putting a lot of effort in to make this platform a success.

    I can’t remember the last time I had a call from eBay apart from someone trying to flog me Webintepret for the zillionth time.

    If you are reading this eBay, why not start speaking to your customers, and by this I mean sellers, not our customers, we are perfectly capable of looking after them without you.

  9. The only saving grace for eBay (and why I think that it will always have some sort of a market share) is that they do not steal information like Amazon does which then uses that stolen information to give themselves an advantage such as the buy box – even when they are not the cheapest.

    I know many sellers that refuse to sell their best selling / exclusive products on Amazon but sell them on eBay for this reason.

    Other than that eBay is an awful marketplace – and unfortunately I can’t see this getting much better as the UK has a lack of competition.

  10. Amazed at how something which has fairly consistent 6% growth is reported on as a failure.

  11. No, I don’t think Ebay will recover.

    It’s screwed over too many sellers and let down too many buyers with its outages.

    We stopped selling on Ebay at the end of July, largely because of-

    A) The cost of selling and the hassles
    B) The dysfunctional checkout system that destroyed our international Ebay trade
    C) Now you see it, now you don’t visibility.
    D) The shift to moronic customer service
    E) Despite paying for everything on Ebay, the total contempt and sub-human treatment of sellers.

    If you are reading this EBAY – We have left the building.

    PS- will the last to leave please turn out the lights.

  12. amazon unlimited listings £30 – will automatically list onto the euro destinations.

    ebay anchor shop £200 , you have to manually list onto the euro ebay sites..

    why would you even bother

  13. Ebay
    Should have looked after the professional sellers they had instead of casting them aside for the stack it high and sell it cheap sellers.It is such a boring site now ,I used to love shopping in all the little Boutquie style shops that offered great service and the personal touch .
    My biggest mistake was staying loyal to ebay for so long ,Amazon is a better place for me to sell as my products are seen and not hidden under shed loads of rubbish from terrible sellers .
    Google is also hard work at the moment if you are a small seller ,Amazon is so much easier than the other 2 to work with .

  14. Just a posh version of the doom and gloom end of ebay ,thats been around for years, we wish we were a billion behind their turnover

  15. Can ebay survive?

    Course it can but I agree with all those posting above. ebay has to WANT to survive. Christmas is rapidly approaching. Christmas to many traders on ebay is the busiest period of the year. ebay has to accept that so many of its developments in the past have not worked or in far too many cases have been detrrmental both to Seller, Buyers and ebay.

    So lets have ebay scrap the worst developments that have been detrimental and come up with a really sales promoting Christmas.

    My ideas would be such as not just infrequent Free Listings for both Private and Trade Sellers but the whole of November being Free Listing for all.

    After all if we sellers of whatever category can list everything that we possibly can maybe just maybe we can sell a lot of it. And that cannot be bad for anybody.

    But I am certain that many others will be able to come up with ideas to boost ebay during the run up to Christmas.

  16. My fee invoice for August was the lowest in living memory. Like my listings were switched off for a month.
    Early sept been ok but gone dead again now.

    the struggle sellers are facing will only come to light properly if a dismal quarter is reported to the stock market, October perhaps

    Ive not upgraded but I’m hearing that the new eBay iPhone app has been poorly received and in many cases does not work properly. One step forward ten steps back eBay


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