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eBay Sellers Move More Business to Amazon

eBay sellers have been moving more of their business to Amazon for a long time, as EcommerceBytes reader surveys bear out, so it was with interest we read Bloomberg’s report that seemed to state it was a recent trend.

“Amazon’s pool of merchants climbed to more than 2 million in 2014, while the number of sellers on eBay has remained flat at about 25 million in the past two years,” the news outlet reported.

However, Amazon has put its count of active sellers at “over 2 million” since at least as far back as 2011. The number, like most information pried from Amazon, is vague – it’s more than likely the number has been increasing over the past 3 years, though presumably the number hadn’t yet surpassed 3 million by the end of 2014.

In a reader survey in 2006, EcommerceBytes found that 28.2% were selling on Amazon and 99.2% were selling on eBay. A survey conducted last year revealed that 47% of readers were selling on Amazon; 59% on eBay; 45% on Etsy; and 40% on their own website. And note that those numbers didn’t change overnight.

Sellers discussing the article on the eBay boards questioned statistic eBay provided to Bloomberg. “What I find funny is that the comment of 25 million sellers on eBay which has remained the same. No one for sure knows how many active sellers are on eBay or how eBay comes up with their numbers.”

The seller went on to explain, “I have a main selling acct – a small selling acct which I haven’t sold on since the defect implementation as it has such low feedback, and a posting ID. Are each considered selling accts? Many sellers have left – but with having to wait 6 months to close their acct on eBay – I’m sure many have forgotten to do so or have left it active – just in case they come upon an item not suitable for another venue. Same for buyers – many have gone elsewhere but have forgotten to close their accts. or leave them active just in case. I think EBay’s seller numbers are much lower as is everything else they preach when it comes to numbers and sales.”

Bloomberg also wrote, “Amazon – which also sells goods from its own inventory of products, not just from third-party retailers, such as eBay’s marketplace – attracted 174.9 million unique visitors in the U.S. in February, 46 percent more than eBay, according to ComScore Inc.”

It may not be an either-or proposition. Some sellers continue to stick to one venue, but many list across multiple channels. Anecdotally, just this morning a reader who told us about a new selling channel said he wasn’t sure if he was interested in it as he was spread pretty thin running his one-man business selling on both Amazon and eBay.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
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.