AuctionBytes Blog
Covering auctions, collectibles and marketplace selling.

AuctionBytes Blog The AuctionBytes Blog has been giving a voice to online merchants since its launch in 2005. Named one of the world's top 30 blogs in 2008 by "Blogging Heroes." Weigh in with your thoughts on the joys and pitfalls of selling online.
Sun Jan 29 2017 19:49:36

eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

If you're doing well with auctions on eBay, congratulations, because the bidding format is fading fast. 

eBay announced Wednesday it will no longer report Fixed Price and Auction format growth when releasing its financial reports each quarter. eBay Chief Financial Officer Scott Schenkel said the company would continue to provide the format split on its Investor Relations website, though for how long isn't clear.

We took a look at the breakdown for the most recent quarter. For the last three months of 2016, the percentage of auction Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) was only 13%.

To put that in context, auctions made up 70% of eBay GMV in 2007, and had declined to 30% in 2013.

Former eBay CEO John Donahoe was delighted with that reversal, but by 2014, he expressed concern that he couldn't stop the decline in the auction format, and said: "we're making adjustments to make sure that we allow consumers - buyers and sellers - to choose the format they want." Many readers weighed in when we blogged about it in April 2014.

Perhaps to take Wall Street's minds off the problem of fading auctions, eBay management came up with a new metric it has begun reporting: C2C and B2C. 

eBay said it defines consumer sellers (that's the "C2C") as sellers doing less than $10,000 in annual sales on eBay. (B2C stands for Business-to-consumer).

During the 2016 fourth quarter, 80% of eBay GMV was through B2C sellers that do over $10,000, and 20% of eBay GMV was through C2C sellers, eBay revealed on Wednesday.

What do you think of the changes in how eBay discloses these metrics, and are declining auctions a problem for the health of the eBay marketplace? Did Donahoe help kill auctions, or was its decline inevitable?

Comments (38) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

eBay Auctions' Last Gasps   eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

by: 27tcle This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 29 20:31:07 2017

What killed auctions off is ebay making buyers anonymous and adding microbidding. People do not know if they are bidding against a genuine rival or a shill. It also made it impossible for one as a bidder to do research on your competitor's bidding habits. The psychology at play is if i don't know who is pushing my bid up why bid if i'm not going to win. The cure, bid the true max an hour or so before the listing ends and walk away. If you win so be it, if you loose, there is always more fish in the sea.

eBay Auctions' Last Gasps   eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

by: alaska This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 29 21:36:08 2017

Auctions were showing explosive year-to-year growth in the early days of eBay. Fees were low and everyone was happy. Then fees kept increasing and buyers and sellers were treated like scum. It became more complicated to list an item and then the free relists swamped eBay with stale, overpriced, items that never sell. Buyers left eBay in droves because it wasn't worth their time to find something hidden within the thousands of relisted items. So now eBay can say that auctions aren't working anymore.

eBay Auctions' Last Gasps   eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

by: Frank Abagnale This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 29 22:04:44 2017

Who cares about ebay metrics. The only metrics you should care about is your sales.

eBay Auctions' Last Gasps   eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 29 22:58:39 2017

"eBay announced Wednesday it will no longer report Fixed Price and Auction format growth when releasing its financial reports each quarter." =  we just hit that iceberg but dont tell anyone.

If things were going well, they would report them - and sing it from the rooftops.

%3 growth last year, proves (as everyone here has said) that eBay doesnt know what its doing. (hush TOOL)

eBay killed the auction format all on its own, they have no one else to blame (unlike structured data where they blame sellers).

DW must be looking for HIS $23 million golden parachute - and if he isnt - he better be.

eBay Auctions' Last Gasps   eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

by: I Must be Crazy This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 29 23:51:03 2017

I am not sure what the take away is from that metric. To me it doesn't mean anything. So 20% of sellers sell less than $10k per year. Okay. Relative to what? What does it mean if that number swings up or down? I wouldn't expect it to move much at all. A more meaningful , and truthful metric might be how many sellers are seeing their sales increase or decline year to year. Good or bad, THAT would be saying something. Seems to me they needed some kind of figure and came up with this. Why $10K?? (Maybe that's how they capture the tax evaders who are in business but keep their transactions below $20K. Which means the same seller is listing under multiple ID's and ends up counted more than once in the B2C metric.)

I think auctions were on the decline anyway. I think buyers lost interest and grew tired of following an item for a week only to have a buyer with a sniping tool place bids in the last half second. Certainly JD took advantage of that decline by instituting policies that dragged auction down further.

I don't think the decline in auctions has been good for Ebay. That is what made Ebay unique. They struggle in fixed price commodity items against other platforms. The result is Ebay has had an identity crisis for years.

eBay Auctions' Last Gasps   eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

by: val2525 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 30 00:09:22 2017

I agree with 27tcle. I used to bid on lots in a specific vintage category. Often I would bid for no other reason than X or Y was bidding, and I knew if they were bidding there was something special in the lot that I wasn't experienced enough to recognize. Worked every time, if I won the lot, there was at least one item in it that was a sure money maker. I also bid against some other buyers in clothing categories for personal use purchases because it was fun to do so. We'd often PM each other with congrats on a win. Those auctions were fun. When eBay hid bidder names, I stopped buying auction in both scenarios. A loss to the seller, and to eBay when the items started selling for much less or not selling at all.

eBay Auctions' Last Gasps   eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

This user has validated their user name. by: cfrphoto

Mon Jan 30 00:58:43 2017

Auctions still work well for items that are likely to attract multiple bidders. Some collectibles like postage stamps, have become commodities and are oversold in the marketplace motivating listing as fixed price. Other items like postal history or photographs are difficult to price and may benefit from being listed as auctions initially and fixed price later. The result for me is that auction revenue now exceeds fixed price.

eBay Auctions' Last Gasps   eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

by: handmedownheaven This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Jan 30 01:08:52 2017

Still at work killing off the little sellers.

eBay Auctions' Last Gasps   eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Mon Jan 30 03:46:34 2017

This is what happens when you have wiseguys manipulate the market for greedy gain instead of listening to what the actual users (sellers & buyers) want. None of these corporate honchos get it, but actually, they just don't give a damn since they are blinded by their insatiable greed.

I remember Griff dismissing a comment about the fun being taken out of auctions with anonymous bidders and one way feedback. I don't remember the exact comment but I got the impression we shouldn't expect or deserve to have any fun. What an old coot.

Donahoe did so much damage to eBay, it really is beyond repair. They knew by giving all those free listings and making the fixed price 30% higher than auctions, sellers would price items unreasonably high and then the Chinese would flood the site with incredibly low prices (and low epacket or free shipping).

Wenig was just left with scraps and is trying to scrape together, I am sure, some sort of golden parachute. Maybe lackluster or fool's gold, just not near as golden as the undeserving Donahoe.

The end is near and it will be the final curtain.    

eBay Auctions' Last Gasps   eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 30 05:00:54 2017

Metrics were just a figure that Ebay could manipulate to the whim of Wall Street. Never anything that most sellers believed anyway.

Metrics not being reported only means that the quarterly report will be one page less of garble.

eBay Auctions' Last Gasps   eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

by: warzak This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 30 05:24:03 2017

EBay began as an auction site for collectors. It was enormously successful.

As a collector of Baseball memorabilia I loved it. I was competing against fellow collectors and not the seller. The marketplace set the price.

Good vendors thrived. They could buy whole collections, piece them out and make a quick profit - if they knew what they were doing.

BIN has caused collectors to leave EBay in droves. Sellers are encouraged to open ''stores'' where they can post items for decades.  Thousands of items at ridiculous prices are listed. Vendors do not mind waiting years to sell even 1 or 2% of their inventory; collectors do. Hence the huge growth of online auction houses.

If EBay charged a fee for unsold items and reward sellers who sell, collectibles would thrive again.

The formula would be simple - sales % of BIN and opening bid would determine fees.  The more you sell the lower your fee percentage.

Stores do not work for collectibles.

eBay Auctions' Last Gasps   eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Mon Jan 30 05:56:48 2017

@warzak
"If EBay charged a fee for unsold items and reward sellers who sell"

They did and do charge a fee on unsolds when they are relisted. Ebay hides listings over and over and over so sellers would keep relisting and relisting and relisting. Buyers get tired of all the relists and leave and never come back. Sellers take their chances and list on eBay and lose. The eBay house wins every time.


eBay Auctions' Last Gasps   eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 30 06:36:24 2017

If C2C sellers are only 20% (I am C2C), why even bother?  I also want to know why C2C sellers don't get a discount, since they don't sell as much.  The 1-3-5 day auctions are ridiculous.  I get better sales through Auction+BIN.  

eBay Auctions' Last Gasps   eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

by: blaumann2 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 30 07:34:35 2017

"I remember Griff dismissing a comment about the fun being taken out of auctions with anonymous bidders and one way feedback. I don't remember the exact comment but I got the impression we shouldn't expect or deserve to have any fun. What an old coot."
The fact that a phony piece of garbage like Griff is still around, still in authority shows what a degenerate mess ebay has become.

eBay Auctions' Last Gasps   eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

by: comments This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 30 08:00:46 2017

JD was the biggest driving force that made amazon a household name and was responsible for giving ebay "old school" "has been" status.

In the days of Meg Whitman Ebay was my go to for anything I needed online. These days I have learned to avoid it...because I know that anything I buy on ebay will be an amazon or walmart drop ship. I don't need someone to shop at walmart.com or amazon.com for me....ABSURD!  

eBay Auctions' Last Gasps   eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

by: Flying Childers This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 30 08:54:09 2017

I am a long time Ebay buyer for many years and just last week saw the truth of what Comments is saying.

I got a box from Amazon in the mail and as I walked up from my mailbox, I was trying to figure out what the heck I had ordered from Amazon because my purchases there are few and far between.

I opened the box and was shocked to find something that I had bought on EBAY.  There was no way of telling where the item came from either, and if I hadn't had my records from EBAY to look at, I would never have realized who it came from.

I find it pretty incredible that a seller could actually make money buying from Amazon and re-selling on EBAY.  By the way, the item was an old fashioned flip cell phone.  A "burner" as they're called.

eBay Auctions' Last Gasps   eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Jan 30 09:19:27 2017

Flying Childers, perhaps the seller was only recycling a box.  Kudos to him or her for doing so. We do it all the time.  It doesn't necessarily mean that he/she bought the item on Amazon.

eBay Auctions' Last Gasps   eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

by: topdog This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 30 09:22:34 2017

Three things killed them for me.
As a seller, snipe programs destroyed any value that I used to get. Back when eBay was strong there would be a huge bidding war near the end. Then sniping came about, and buyers learned it was STUPID to bid early - just set the program and let it fly. Worse, it allowed buyers to simply bid low, hoping to steal the occasional product when it succeeded.
As a buyer, what killed it was the lack of fun. Many studies showed that people would pay more than "regular" prices, as they'd get caught up in trying to win the auction. But again, as sniping programs proliferated, that took the competition out of it, and the fun left too.
Finally, and most importantly, TRUST eroded. EBay became the place for fakes and scams - and they did NOTHING about it. As trust eroded, so did the customer base - along with the prices that they were willing to pay. Fewer customers meant fewer bidders, which will kill off auctions.  

eBay Auctions' Last Gasps   eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Mon Jan 30 09:37:32 2017

They just won't listen.  eBay lives in a land of "alternate facts" where high fees and hidden listings are smart policies.  Wish they'd go under and stop squatting on this segment of the marketplace.

eBay Auctions' Last Gasps   eBay Auctions' Last Gasps

by: Whatever This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 30 10:38:24 2017

Personally I could care less about auctions - we are a culture now of immediate gratification. Amazon doesn't do auctions and their just fine - sorta. Chinese killed auctions on ebay - all that penny crap. Never have been able to figure out what the heck their doing. Maybe money laundering - one penny at a time? lol. Here's a big mistake ebay made when they eliminated the 4th store tier. I'm maxed out at 1000 items so in order to keep things fresh I have to keep moving things to my website so I can add new items to the ebay store. I can't afford to bump to anchor - it just doesn't make sense. Let's just say I list 10 new items a day which I can do - it would take me almost 3 years to bulk up to 10,000 items - and that's working 365 days a year meanwhile my store fee goes from $60 a month to $350 a month before I sell a thing. Just doesn't make sense to me. And since ebay now buries older items - disregarding the fact that they do sell - well why would I need 10,000 anyway?

Click to view more comments
1 2  [Next Page]


Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment using your AB Verify User Name, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.