eBay UK records a 237% boom in small shops setting up on the marketplace

  • 237% rise in the number of new small businesses* created on eBay UK in the last year, as a new generation of “pandemic startups” emerge**
  • New small businesses sold over 72 million items through eBay UK last year
  • eBay UK launches new support package to help power the new wave of small businesses on the platform to grow as the UK unlocks

Hundreds of thousands of new “pandemic startups” have sprung up on eBay UK, with the marketplace recording a 237% rise in new small businesses joining the platform since the start of the pandemic, the equivalent to a new business registering every 2 minutes.

These businesses have sold over 72million items to eBay UK’s 29 million strong shopper base in the past year.

As high streets and small businesses enjoy the final phase of lockdown restrictions lifting, eBay UK is today committing to help entrepreneurs survive and thrive beyond the pandemic, as part of the Small Business Power campaign.

The new package of support includes:

  • A series of new seller offers, including reducing fees by 5%, as well as 75% off new listing costs for existing and new business sellers to help them make the most of selling online;
  • Coupons and discounts for eBay shoppers to incentivise purchasing from small businesses;
  • Investment in training programmes to help sellers make the most of the eBay platform;
  • Greater investment in marketing our small business sellers across TV, social, print and online media.

This new package, part of eBay’s broader efforts to help businesses start up and scale up,  follows a £33 million investment from eBay UK over the last year to help its community of hundreds of thousands of small businesses weather the challenges brought on by Covid-19. These measures included the waiving of fees, new marketing costs, training schemes, and other programmes to help during the height of the pandemic, and  the focus has now turned to how eBay UK can help power these new businesses to grow and scale up as the UK unlocks.

Home & Garden, Electronics and Fashion were the most popular categories for new businesses setting up on eBay UK in the last year, with the greatest number of businesses created, as budding entrepreneurs saw the opportunity to capitalise on the trend for lockdown home renovations, and the need to invest in working from home tech and electronics.

Henry Cawley (23) founder of UK Components, from Bath said:  “I started my business selling 3D printer parts in 2020, when my university degree was put on hold due to lockdown. Since then, my business has continued to excel, generating over £48,000 in annual turnover. I’ve been able to use the profits I’ve earned to fund my Final Year Project at uni and am looking to invest in my business long term. I’d encourage other young entrepreneurs to take the plunge and set up on eBay.”

James and Natalie Mather (35 and 39) founders of Sustain Furniture, from Stockport added:When our son was unfortunately in hospital last year, Covid restrictions meant that James was left at home with some extra time on his hands. Due to this, we decided to start up on eBay selling a variety of reclaimed furniture items. We were shocked at the speed and volume of orders we received in the first few months and quickly our business boomed. We’ve now moved into a new unit in Trafford Park and have taken on four employees.  To our amazement, we’ve now sold nearly 2,000 pieces of furniture and are looking ahead to how we can work with eBay to expand our business even further.” 

Rob Hattrell, Head of eBay Europe added: “ Business will be paying the price of Covid for years to come, and it’s small businesses that will bear the brunt of this. It is now more important  than ever to shop small and shop local – whether that is in-store or online – and to keep supporting and celebrating the power of small businesses. Our new support package, as part of our Small Business Power campaign, aims to do just that and we hope the 29 million buyers on our platform will join us in backing Britain’s entrepreneurial spirit.”

Along with eBay UK’s continued investment in small businesses, earlier this year the marketplace committed to absorbing the cost of the Digital Services Tax for its hundreds of thousands of small business sellers, while other platforms passed this cost onto sellers.

*The term ‘small business’ refers to businesses with an annual turnover below £250,000, or that have not yet been able to disclose an annual turnover. 

**All data reported was captured on eBay UK between March 2020 and March 2021. ‘In the last year’, ‘last year’, ‘the last 12 months’ and ‘since the start of the pandemic’ refers to this time frame. 

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