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eBay Offers Opportunities to Sellers Navigating World Events

World events continue to impact online commerce, from shipping delays to supply chain challenges.

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While Covid infections are at a very manageable level currently in the US and part of Europe, the war in Ukraine and the sanctions being imposed on Russia over its invasion into the country, are affecting economies globally.

This is even true for eBay sellers as some prepare for the summer season, while others are looking well ahead toward the end of the year.

eBay’s SVP + GM of the Americas Market, Jordan Sweetnam took a look forward in a community blog post on what is happening on the marketplace this week, what sellers should prepare for, and what to expect in the future.

“Ongoing supply chain challenges are incentivizing people to extend the life of their current cars,” Sweetnam said. This reality is bringing more buyers to eBay for car parts he explained.

While he didn’t detail eBay’s marketing strategy for Parts & Accessories (P&A), NASCAR fans may have noticed a lot more eBay TV commercials during races since the season started in February at the Daytona 500.

At one point there was hope that automotive supply chain challenges would ease later this year, but between new Covid lockdowns in China shutting down suppliers again and the war in Ukraine disrupting Europe’s car manufacturing, new and used car prices are going to stay higher for much longer than many originally anticipated.

eBay has always been strong in P&A, but as more online competition emerged, it seemed eBay lost a bit of traction over the years.

The company’s strategy to refocus on P&A including high visibility advertising is coming at a good time for sellers that can offer the right mix of new, used, and refurbished vehicle parts during this time.

Other Categories Offer Opportunities for Sellers

But it’s not just P&A that may help turn around the falling buyer and seller numbers on eBay.

In 2021, eBay lost a net 18 million buyers (down to 147 million) and in the final quarter of 2021, it lost 2 million sellers (down to 17 million) from the quarter before.

Here are a few more areas Sweetnam mentioned in his blog post that are showing resurgence on the platform.

“As people look to stretch their dollars, we are seeing even more enthusiasm for refurbished electronics and pre-owned inventory.”

“In particular, Apple products are in high demand, with year-over-year sales of refurbished iPhone 12 Pro Max up 250%, MacBook Air M1s up 220% and iPad Mini 6 devices up a whopping 600.”

“Computer totes are up almost 70% and luxury handbags are up 20%” as workers return back to offices.

People are again enjoying a day and night out as “dress pants are up more than 80%, designer sunglasses are up 40%, and heels are up 20%.”

Recommerce Revival Led by Gen Z

Another area in which eBay seems to be recovering lost ground is recommerce or the sale of pre-owned or refurbished products.

Yesterday, the company releases its second annual Recommerce Report that showed younger generations are embracing purchasing more pre-owned items because they are less expensive and it’s good for the environment.

Especially Gen Z is driving this business with 80% of Gen Z eBay users having purchased pre-owned items on the marketplace.

Opportunity on eBay

Of course, eBay is highlighting positive news and stats on its marketplace.

But even if one takes this data with a big grain of salt, if your sales are not doing as well as they should, maybe it’s time to rethink your product mix and target audience.

eCommerce keeps evolving and people’s interests, needs, and desires evolve as well.

As stated earlier, world events matter. Today we are again facing many uncertainties over what the next year or two will bring.

Supply chain challenges will continue longer than some anticipated and younger generations are more interested in a sustainable lifestyle, regardless of what you may think of “green” policies.

This brings opportunities for sellers if they are willing to open their eyes and stop looking backward at what used to be and instead focus on what can be.

eBay is still a viable and resilient marketplace, with many flaws which are frankly rarely acknowledged by management.

But when one considers the spectrum of online marketplaces, it still offers a pretty good opportunity for sellers in many categories. One just needs to look around a bit.

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