eBay Impact

A Look at the “eBay Economy” in the U.S.

Dan Tarman, Chief Communications Officer, eBay

Commercial sellers and full-time entrepreneurs on the eBay platform are responsible for creating more than 690,000 jobs, and more than a third of our U.S. sellers come from small towns and rural areas.

Online commerce has been one of the most powerful innovations in commercial history, enabling almost anyone, anywhere, to reach customers around the world. And eBay is one of the pioneers. We are guided by our purpose to empower people and create opportunity for all. The nearly $90 billion worth of merchandise sold on eBay last year forms what we call “the eBay economy.” We conducted an online survey among eBay’s 6 million US sellers to gain more information about the scale and impact of the eBay economy.

Sellers and business of all sizes plug into our platform and immediately have access to the world’s consumers. Globally there are more than 1 billion items for sale on eBay, and in the US alone there are more than 6 million sellers, including commercial sellers, full-time entrepreneurs as well as part-time consumer sellers.

Final eBay Econ Infographic 50819

You may not think about it while you’re shopping on eBay for that awesome pair of new high-top sneakers, latest electronic gadget, or hard-to-find part to finish your car restoration, but behind every eBay transaction is usually a small to medium size business that creates jobs in local communities. From the first sale of a laser pointer 22 years ago, to the millions of transactions that happen on our platform today, each connection with an eBay seller helps someone start or grow their own business, support themselves and their families, create jobs, and contribute to their local economy.

Our research indicates that commercial sellers and full-time entrepreneurs on the eBay platform are responsible for creating more than 690,000 jobs, and more than a third of our U.S. sellers come from small towns and rural areas. While many sellers derive revenue through multiple channels, we believe that eBay plays an important role in job creation based on the tens of billions of dollars of economic activity enabled through our platform.  And this is precisely the power of online commerce---to provide the tools and platform for businesses to open new avenues for revenue and growth so that their businesses are no longer limited to the geography in which they are located.

The vast majority of sellers we surveyed—80 percent—say that selling on eBay enabled them to start their ecommerce business, and a third operate a local brick and mortar store in addition to their online business. As a global marketplace, eBay enables these sellers to reach customers worldwide (which 63 percent say they do), while keeping jobs close to home.

“People can live where they work,” said Grace Kontur, founder of Kontur Wood Works, one of the more than 100 small businesses in the Akron, Ohio, area participating in eBay’s economic development program, Retail Revival. “People can enjoy their community--and also make money--while being part of a global community and economy that’s never been possible before.”

While this is just a snapshot of one of our markets, the findings provide us with valuable insights we can apply to programs like Retail Revival to enable even greater economic benefit for people and communities worldwide.

As eBay President and CEO Devin Wenig says it, “eBay is about people. It’s about small businesses. It’s about using technology to make people competitive and vibrant and to put life into communities, and not take it out.”

We exist to help small and medium-sized businesses grow and thrive in the global economy. eBay is a partner to those entrepreneurs and our aim is to be a force multiplier for them. The eBay economy is real and thriving, and will continue to be a driver of job growth and economic vitality.