Pandemic boosts eBay self-made millionaires by 35% year on year

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There are more eBay self-made millionaires than ever before – the number has risen by 35% in the last 12 months as British entrepreneurialism continues to thrive despite challenging trading conditions prompted by the pandemic… or maybe because instead of despite as the high street was shut for part of 2020 and online was the only way to shop.

An eBay millionaire is defined as businesses trading on eBay UK with revenues of £1 million or more generated through the online marketplace. Comparing last year to this, in the Oct 2018 to Sept 2019 period there were 782 new eBay self-made millionaires but this rose for the period Oct 2019 to Sept 2020 to see 1058 new eBay millionaires added to the roster.

“I started Hugglepets with my dad eight years ago on eBay. What started out as a small business has now grown to an 18-person operation and a huge warehouse full of stock. Following the success of our online business, we have even managed to open a bricks and mortar shop on the high street. Hitting the million-pound turnover milestone was a huge moment for us and I’m proud of our team for continuing to operate in the pandemic, too. The coronavirus pandemic actually gave our business a boost, as customers had more time to research and invest in new products for their pets.”
– Mike Dixon, founder, HugglePets and eBay millionaire

eBay self-made millionaires capitals

The data also reveals the “eBay millionaire capitals” across the UK – the cities that have created the most eBay millionaires in the last 12 months. While London tops the list with 52 new eBay millionaires coming out of the capital last year, cities in the North and Midlands dominate the top ten list. The top ten eBay millionaire capitals include:

  1. London (52 new eBay self-made millionaires)
  2. Manchester (36 new millionaires)
  3. Birmingham (35 new millionaires)
  4. Leeds (14 new millionaires)
  5. Bradford (13 new millionaires)
  6. Leicester (12 new millionaires)
  7. Rochdale (11 new millionaires)
  8. Glasgow (10 new millionaires)
  9. Bolton (9 new millionaires)
  10. Oldham, Nottingham & Halifax (each with 8 new millionaires)

“I started out selling everything I could on eBay, but realised that the swimwear and underwear I offered was much more popular than anything else. I decided to set up Belle Lingerie while raising my three children, with my dad initially helping out by packing and posting items to be shipped. Today we employ 20 permanent staff and our turnover is in the millions. It’s fair to say that the pandemic did affect us, but where we lost sales in categories such as swimwear, we saw a huge growth in athleisure and loungewear, which overall helped our business thrive.”
– Janine Dutton, founder, Belle Lingerie and eBay millionaire

When it comes to the most lucrative product categories for eBay entrepreneurs, the top ten list reflects consumer spending trends of our “new normal”, including a rise in the number of Brits taking on home DIY projects and working remotely, as well as a boom in Brits getting in shape and recreating salon experiences from home. The top ten categories for eBay millionaires include:

  1. Home, Furniture & DIY
  2. Vehicle Parts & Accessories
  3. Clothes, Shoes & Accessories
  4. Business, Office & Industrial
  5. Health & Beauty
  6. Sporting Goods
  7. Garden & Patio
  8. Computers/Tablets & Networking
  9. Mobile Phones & Communication
  10. Sound & Vision (e.g. TVs, smart glasses, speakers)

“We started our business, AwesomeBooks, after realising that many books from charity shops end up going to waste due to the sheer volume of donations they receive. We spotted an opportunity to start a business selling second-hand books, while also giving charities well-needed funds to take stock off their hands. AwesomeBooks has grown immensely over the last 17 years, and we now ship 6,000 books per day through our eBay store. From small beginnings, our turnover is now expected to reach £25m this year. Lockdown meant that sales of our books went through the roof. It seems like our customers used their spare time to read their “bucket list books” and find sources of entertainment for children.”
– Mubin Ahmed, foundern AwesomeBooks and eBay millionaire

As the cost of Covid-19 on businesses is fully realised and the UK prepares to enter into a recession in the coming months, eBay predicts growing economic uncertainty will create a new wave of “post-pandemic entrepreneurs”.

“The uplift in new self-made millionaires on eBay proves that Britain’s entrepreneurial spirit is alive and kicking, despite the challenging economic times we are facing. The pandemic has certainly hit business hard, but it has also shown that entrepreneurs are cut from a different cloth and can turn a crisis into an opportunity, making millions in the process. It is these forward-thinking small businesses who will help power the UK’s economic recovery and thrive in the long term. That’s why eBay is committed to providing a platform for these side-hustlers, lockdown start-ups and entrepreneurs, helping to deliver growth for the economy and communities across the UK.”
– Murray Lambell, UK General Manager

31 Responses

  1. Without knowing their profit margins, this story is utterly meaningless.

    Turnover is vanity. Profit is sanity. This is something ebay still doesn’t seem to understand!

  2. I will use this article to encourage and try and spark my kids’ entrepreneurial spirit and become successful online sellers, as I have done.
    With encouragement, excitement and a bit of a plan anything is possible.
    I really don’t understand all those that come on places like this and just moan. I think they must be in the wrong game.

  3. They fail to omit some of these sellers have good physical retail outlets as well as prominent websites. I’m sure eBay is good at generating extra volume but i can see it generating a lot of margin.

  4. Yeah, but they are trading 1 product, and not dealing with the heap of nonsense normal retailers are.

  5. I just think the margins are very slim

    take a sale for 9.99 and 1kg

    After eBay fees, Sponsered listing fees (5% at least), Postage (48 £2.71 exc vat), packing, warehousing.

    Then actually buying the item and effort in handling it, unloading, shelving etc.

    Your left with Jack.

    You could raise prices and sell nothing off course and let all the sales goto some Chinese sellers, but that just increasing your warehouse costs even more.

  6. The sad part is, that’s prob a best-case scenario, whos got sponsored listings at 5% that actually work.

  7. Give it a rest ifellow.

    You are now dominating every thread on here with your negativity and hatred of ebay. Why Tamebay allow it is beyond me as you are the opposite of inspirational for the platform.

    Post after post after post. 80% of the posts above are all you and your trash comments of your fellow ebeyers and the platform. Victor isn’t much better.

    You cant make ebay work, that much is obvious. but you attack any idea that is even trying to make it work.

    I remember coming on Tamebay to get inspired …………

  8. Britain’s entrepreneurial spirit is alive and kicking’ – Love that line, you can’t beat us Brits for bouncing back from tough times!
    The key is an innovative product that catches peoples attention, eBay is a great platform for getting your product out there and coping with scale in a way that is very difficult to do on your own.

  9. All things are possible. Much is perseverance, much is the luck of being in the right place at the right time, much is being willing and able to take advantage of opportunities when they show themselves and much is being willing and able to proactively seek out such opportunities. So far, we are thousand-aires working our way to the hundred-thousand-aires. We will Persevere. We will put ourselves in the right places at the right time and be willing to take advantage of opportunities. The more and better we do, the more and better will be the opportunities of which we may take advantage.

    I DO take some pause at the lack of proofreading in the article. The very first thing the viewer sees, the title, is either very poorly worded or misspelled. “boost” should most likely be “boast”.

  10. @Gav

    Good luck making a living wage on margins of £2.00 an item with all the returns and postal costs . The major reason Ebay is such a mess in 2020 is because of idiot sellers like you.

    Boy…i wish there was a keyboard stroke i could press that would give you a slap and say wakeup and get your prices increased so we could all make decent margins

  11. @Gav

    Are you really sure on those margins. Add in Ebay Fees, Managed payment Fees, Promoted Listing Fees, Postage Fees, Return Fees and Warehouse costs.
    You must be running around like a blue arse fly to make a living wage making 2 quid an item. Hope its worth the anxiety and stress

  12. @Gav

    Im sorry im not having your numbers. List your item with all costs on here including vat with a promted fee at 5 percent and you will find your numbers dont stack up.

    What you dont mention with margins as low as that is what happens when your item dosent sell. Result a net loss

  13. @Gav

    Thank you for that. I guess if you can get stock delivered from where ever at £1.50….it can work

    For Myself, if i buy my stock at £1.50 an item i have to add shipping costs, vat and import tax from Thailand. Note this is where my suppliers are from.
    All in all a £1.50 item costs £3.50 to get to the UK.

    On a serious Note if you want some newlines and are happy with 20 percent margins let me know you can buy my stock together with my own copyrighted designs…myself i had enough of online selling. I liked it when margins where 150 percent but have no energy for 20 percent margins


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