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EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 200 - October 07, 2007 - ISSN 1528-6703     3 of 7

AuctionBytes Survey Results: Industry Snapshot September 2007


By Ina Steiner
EcommerceBytes.com

October 07, 2007
 



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The results are in from AuctionBytes' third biannual survey of readers on the state of the online-auction industry. The survey asks readers where they are currently selling, where they intend to be selling in 6 months, how they are marketing their businesses, and what their biggest concerns were in selling on auction sites.

Who are the respondents?
A total of 651 AuctionBytes newsletter readers completed the latest survey, conducted in September 2007. Ninety percent of respondents were from the US; 3.4% were from Canada; 2.6% were from the UK; 1.4% were from Australia; and the remaining respondents came from Mexico, Belgium, France, Singapore, New Zealand, Ireland, Indonesia, Brazil, Japan, Puerto Rico, Thailand and Israel.

The type of item that respondents most frequently listed online included collectibles (20%), Clothing, shoes & accessories (13%), Books (8%), Home & Garden (6%) and Jewelry & Watches (5.4%). It was interesting to note that 2.5% listed Business & Industrial items most frequently.

Sixteen percent of respondents reported that the value of all items they sold on online-auction sites in total in the last 12 months equaled $100,000 or more, and 3.5% sold over $1 million in merchandise.

Twenty percent of respondents reported that the value of all items they sold online in total - including online-auction sites - in the last 12 months equaled $100,000 or more, and 4.5% sold over $1 million in merchandise.

Where are sellers selling, and will this change in 6 months?
We asked sellers where they are selling now (on which sites they "regularly list items"), and whether they would be selling there in 6 months. We broke it into three categories: online auction sites, storefronts, and classifieds and other websites. Here are links to the results.

4. On which online auction sites do you regularly list items? (Check all that apply.) The first column indicates the sites on which you currently sell. The second column indicates the sites on which you plan to sell in 6 months (whether or not you currently sell there today).

For example, if you currently sell on Amazon Auctions, and you plan to be selling on Amazon Auctions 6 months from now, you would check both columns.

I sell here now I will sell here in 6 Months
Amazon Auctions 6% 13%
Bidville 2% 3%
Bid4Assets 0.3% 0.3%
CQout 0.3% 1%
Delcampe 2% 1%
eBay 93% 39%
eBid 4% 2%
ePier 1% 2%
MightyBids 0.5% 1%
OnlineAuction.com 0.5% 1%
Overstock Auctions 2% 3%
PropertyRoom 0.3% 0.5%
Tazbar 1% 0.5%
Trademe 0.2% 0.3%
uBid 1% 4%
None 2% 3%

answered question 631

5. On which storefronts do you regularly list items? (Check all that apply.) The first column indicates the sites on which you currently sell. The second column indicates the sites on which you plan to sell in 6 months (whether or not you currently sell there today).

I sell here now I will sell here in 6 months
My own ecommerce-enabled website 25% 20%
Amazon Marketplace 15% 14%
Bid4Assets Stores 0% 0.3%
Bidville Stores 1% 0.5%
ChannelAdvisor Stores 2% 1%
eBay Stores 57% 24%
eCrater 10% 11%
ePier Stores 0.2% 1%
Etsy 2% 3%
GoAntiques online mall 0.2% 1%
iOffer Stores 3% 2%
Infopia 0% 0%
JosephMarc 0% 0%
JustGlass 0% 0.2%
Marketworks PWS 1% 0.5%
OnlineAuction.com 0.2% 1%
PriceGrabber 0.5% 1%
RubyLane 0.5% 1%
ShopPal 0.2% 1%
TIAS online mall 0.5% 0.5%
Truition 0% 0%
Vendio 1% 0.5%
Wahmshoppes 0.2% 0%
Yahoo Stores 0.3% 3%
Zoovy 2% 1%
None 21% 9%

answered question  601 

6. On which classifieds sites & other websites do you regularly list items? (Check all that apply.) The first column indicates the sites on which you currently sell. The second column indicates the sites on which you plan to sell in 6 months (whether or not you currently sell there today).

I sell here now I will sell here in 6 months
Craigslist 32% 22%
Google Base 23% 16%
GumTree 0.4% 1%
Froogle (from Google) 12% 7%
Kijiji 3% 4%
LiveDeal 1% 1%
iOffer 4% 3%
Newspaper classifieds 7% 3%
None 38% 15%

answered question 538

Here is a summary of results for the top three marketplaces along with results for sellers' own websites.

eBay: 93% of respondents sell on eBay, and 39% plan to sell on eBay in 6 months; 57% sell on eBay Stores, and 24% plan to sell on eBay Stores in 6 months.

Yahoo: 0.3% sell on Yahoo Stores, and 3% plan to sell on Yahoo Stores in 6 months.

Amazon: 6% of respondents sell on Amazon Auctions, and 13% plan to sell on Amazon Auctions in 6 months; 15% sell on Amazon Marketplace, and 14% plan to sell on Amazon Marketplace in 6 months.

Own ecommerce-enabled website: 25% of respondents sell on their own ecommerce-enabled website, and 20% plan to sell on their own website in 6 months.

What are sellers' biggest concerns?
When asked to rank five concerns in order of importance, fees were ranked the number one "biggest concern about selling on online auction sites."

Non-paying bidders/buyers came in second, with fraud closely on its heels as third biggest concern about selling on online auction sites. "Payment services" was ranked as the fourth biggest concern, and "Inventory and product sourcing issues" came in fifth.

How many sellers have their own sites, and how significant are sales from those independent sites?
Fifty-three percent of respondents said they have their own website or storefront, and of those, 28% said it made up over 50 percent of their total sales; 30% said they made more sales in the past 12 months from their website/storefront than in the previous 12 months - compared to 50 percent in September 2006.

Marketing
When asked, "What kinds of search-engine advertising do you do to promote your online sales?" 62 percent said none (this is compared to 70 percent in September 2006); 18 percent said Google AdWords; 5 percent said Yahoo Search marketing; 2 percent said adMarketplace AMP Keywords; 2 percent said Microsoft AdCenter; and another 3 percent said other. Twenty-five percent said they use Search Engine Optimization (natural/organic search).

We also asked respondents what kind of marketing they do to promote their online sales. Results follow:

13. What kind of marketing do you do to promote your online sales? (Check all that apply.)

Response
Percent
 I include my sig line in emails    37.1%
I have an email newsletter customers can subscribe to 35.1%
I include marketing material inside customer orders  31.9%
I include my sign line on discussion board posts  22.3%
I advertise online  18.6%
I write a blog 15.6%
I use a reciprocal linkage strategy  14.2%
I do in-person networking  13.8%
I post comments on other people's blogs 12.6%
I do direct mail campaigns (via snail mail)   6.1%
I advertise in print publications  6.0%
I market at trade shows/antiques shows  6.0%
None  34.0%

Other

 6.6%

answered question  636

Attitudes about eBay
We asked respondents if they think eBay is safer today for bidders and buyers than it was 1 year ago; 22 percent said yes, 53 percent said no, and 25 percent said they didn't know.

This year for the first time we asked respondents to rate eBay on how well they communicate with users; 1.6 percent said "Excellent": 13.3 percent said "Good"; 22.7 percent said "Average"; 19.5% said "Bad": and 43 percent said "Poor."

Summary
The first Snapshot survey was conducted in September 2006, and there were 1225 respondents (http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abu/y206/m09/abu0175/s02). The second Snapshot survey was conducted in March 2007, and there were 713 respondents (http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abu/y207/m03/abu0187/s02). The current survey was conducted in September 2007, and there were 651 respondents.

Seller profiles and concerns in the latest survey are similar to previous survey results. The three charts that show where sellers are currently selling and where they intend to be selling in 6 months are quite interesting, though there aren't necessarily obvious conclusions to draw about seller intentions.

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.


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