As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
If you’ve ever hung out around someone who has had their eBay account suspended you might be ending the impression that eBay is dying or, even more likely, that eBay is already dead.
In fact, people have been saying it for years. Somehow, though, the three-headed monster that is eBay still keeps going and sellers still make millions of dollars per month on their platform.
In the past couple of years, however, eBay has launched several changes that allegedly have left buyers leaving in droves.
Since I have been a full-time eBay seller for several years I decided to take a serious look at the question of whether or not eBay was dying and figure out if I needed to move some of my eggs to a different basket.
Before that, I will say that it seems fairly obvious that eBay isn’t dead yet as we’re still selling six figures of thrifted stuff per year. But is it coming? Are all the changes we’re seeing just the death throes of a bloated once-great platform? Let’s see.
What Do People Mean When They Say That eBay Is Dying?
As with most things, eBay had its “glory days”. It used to be that you could sell almost anything on the site because the competition was much lower than it is now.
In those days you also took home more of the sale (lower fees) and were able to get your money instantly via PayPal.
Now, however, many people claim that not only are sales well down, but eBay has been moving to push out smaller sellers through policy changes and a lack of support.
So, in effect, the question of “eBay dying” is two-fold: eBay failing as a business, and eBay failing to provide the opportunity for sellers that it once did.
Why I Think eBay Is Alive And “Well” As A Business
Wondering if eBay is dying is a much different question than wondering if eBay is still popular with sellers. Here, we’re not trying to figure out if eBay’s decisions are good ones in regard to their sellers. We’re simply looking at whether eBay has entered a death spiral and is no longer a place of opportunity.
This is not a commendation for everything that eBay does. There is a difference between thinking that eBay is dying and thinking that eBay is a fertile place for sellers.
There Are More Sellers & Available Products Than Ever
Looking at the number of items available on eBay is incredibly overwhelming. There are literally millions of items listed every month to feed the hungry swarm of willing buyers.
As the lifeblood of eBay’s finances is in sold items and fees their revenue has continued to grow as they beat earnings quarter after quarter.
Are Sellers Leaving eBay?
Yes, many of the old guard seem to be moving on or quitting. I get messages or comments almost daily from people who have been selling for 20 years or more but are finally throwing in the towel.
However, here’s the reality. For every seller that leaves eBay, two more are taking their place. There are more eBay sellers than ever before and, with the spread of the “reseller community” on social media it’s likely that the popularity of flipping items on eBay will continue to grow.
In my opinion, there are not enough sellers leaving eBay for eBay to care about. Many new sellers have never known eBay in anything but its current state so they are willing to accept things as they are now.
There Other Reselling Platforms Can’t Really Compete
Here’s the conundrum that everyone who thinks that eBay is dying faces: where else do you go to buy or sell?
We sell on Poshmark and Mercari in addition to eBay but more than 70% of our sales still come from eBay. The other platforms simply don’t have enough traffic to support full-time sellers.
If you are mostly interested in selling part-time then, by all means, choose whatever platform you want.
For full-time sellers, eBay is still the king of the roost. Their fees are lower than many other platforms, their reach is better, their brand recognition is higher, there are fewer scams, etc.
I would encourage everyone to try out some different platforms. Especially if you feel that eBay is dead. You’ll soon realize that the massive influx of sellers has affected everywhere and, just maybe, eBay isn’t such a bad place to be.
eBay Makes Decisions That Benefit eBay
Last but not least, many people who are dissatisfied with eBay are under the impression that many of eBay’s recent decisions (such as forcing people onto the Managed Payments System) were mistakes.
The false idea is that eBay is run by idiots and, if they offend enough sellers, they will die.
The truth is, eBay is not a platform for sellers. If you feel that you have contributed to eBay’s success because you’ve been selling on the platform for 20 years, you’re wrong.
eBay is a corporation that exists to increase profits and drive value for its shareholders. Sellers are simply their contract employees.
Although many eBay decisions affect people negatively on a case-by-case basis, they are made using a wealth of data with the intention of strengthening eBay as a business (eg. increasing their bottom line).
Because eBay is willing to make the decisions it needs to survive as a business, I don’t see it dying anytime soon.
How Do I (As An eBay Seller) Feel About eBay’s Future?
Do I think that eBay will still be around in 10, 15, or 20 years? I do. For the reasons I stated above I don’t actually think that eBay is dying.
However, I’m not quite as confident that it will still be a hospitable place for small sellers like myself.
Because eBay is concerned with their bottom line and customer experience over the well-being of their sellers I can definitely see a shift towards favoring larger and more established stores.
If you think eBay is dying I don’t necessarily agree but I definitely don’t disagree enough to argue with you. If you think eBay is providing more opportunities than ever before… the same story.
No matter which side of the fence you are on, however, I think it is exceedingly foolish to rely on eBay for your entire income.
I’ve been a full-time eBay seller for years and would encourage everyone to have a couple of other irons in the fire. At the very least, check out our list of alternatives to eBay and use List Perfectly to migrate your listings to at least one other platform.
After all, entrusting your lively hood to someone who only has your best interest at heart as long as it benefits them is foolish.
So, at the end of the day, I do not think eBay is either dead or dying. I do think that there is less opportunity on eBay now than there was 10 years ago and many long-time eBay sellers seem to agree.
However, there is still money to be made if you’re ready to branch out and keep working! So whether you choose to stick with eBay or not, I wish you the best of luck!