EBay’s third annual UK Retail Report confirms that the online marketplace continues to go from strength to strength: a successful small business that has proved an invaluable platform for launching millions of others as it has grown.

EBay business is booming – and so are the small businesses that use itEbay The Small Business Success

This year, eBay turned 23 in the UK and among the quirky facts that can be discovered in its interactive retail report is its first ever sale: a Scorpions CD.

The small business that made that first sale in 1995 is now unrecognisable, responsible for 24 million of eBay’s 175 million shoppers and employing 14,100 people.

The numbers are astounding. 13.4 million listings are submitted weekly to eBay.co.uk just by mobile users and 24 million people in the UK and Ireland now shop monthly on eBay, which is put into perspective by considering the monthly footfall of Europe’s largest shopping centre, Westfield Stratford, which welcomes just 4.6 million customers a month.

One of eBay UK’s proudest boasts is that it created 1,065 new UK seller millionaires this year and it points out that the National Lottery creates just 217! It also supports around 200,000 UK small businesses.

A mirror held up to the nation?

Rob Hattrell, vice president of eBay in the UK, claims that the UK Retail Report gives “unparalleled insight” into how the nation has shopped over the last year, reflecting the buying habits of 23 million Brits.

So, what does the data reveal about eBay UK and its users?

  • A car part is sold every second. Are we a nation of fixer-uppers, or just too poor to buy new cars?
  • We love trainers: there are around 3 million pairs for sale on eBay.co.uk. Sales of other running accessories, peak in January. It seems likely this is connected to New Year’s Resolutions!
  • Big screen hits such as Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Avengers: Infinity War and Black Panther influenced the nation’s fashion, interior and lifestyle purchases. On peak Star Wars day, 17th December, eBay sellers sold six items of merchandise a minute (including dog costumes). Thor, Love Island, Peaky Blinders and The Greatest Showman also had a marked influence on purchasing. Original Thor comics, Love Island personalised water bottles and yes, even flat caps, were popular buys. Game of Thrones inspired fans to buy Hodor doorstops and anything and everything Jon Snow, while McMafia created a surge in the popularity of Chesterfield sofas!
  • Royalty had a big influence too. In May, there were 12 Royal Wedding-related purchases an hour and a one-off set of Harry and Meghan Pez dispensers sold for £7,300 in aid of the Make a Wish foundation. Kate’s maternity style was popular too.

“When it comes to shopping trends, if it’s happening in Britain, we’ll see it happening on eBay,” says Ron Hattrell.

No idea what he means. I’m off to search for a Jon Snow costume for a dog I don’t have…

Does your small business trade on eBay? If not, what’s stopping you? It could deliver a whole new customer base!