Bringing the Joy of the Holidays Home with eBay

Jamie Iannone, President & CEO, eBay

As we head into the holidays, our President and CEO Jamie Iannone shows how the light of the season is still shining strong within our community and on our marketplace.

This year has been one of many challenges, as the pandemic has uprooted lives and jobs around the world. But throughout it all, our buyers, sellers and employees have come together, finding ways to give and connect. Because ultimately, we are all one community. Now, as we approach the holiday season, people are looking for those shared moments of hope and joy between family and friends — and they’re finding that magic on our marketplace.

Memories are both a thread to the past and a tie to those closest to us. Our community is rediscovering objects infused with emotional meaning, sometimes through great acts of kindness. As I shared earlier this month on LinkedIn, Paul Osaki’s story is one perfect such example. A buyer in San Francisco, Paul came across a World War II jacket on eBay that was worn by the late Sergeant Tadashi Furuike of the celebrated Japanese American 110th/442nd Regimental Combat Team. After over a decade spent searching for its owner, Paul reunited the jacket last year with Tadashi’s daughter, Donna — finally bringing the soldier’s uniform home to his family.

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We hear stories like this frequently, as our customers reach across distances and years through objects that are close to their hearts. Beloved toys echo happy childhoods, vintage watches evoke adored grandparents, teenage years are remembered in classic cars, stylish millennials uncover treasures in clothing and accessories from decades past. People are finding objects laden with nostalgia and memories to connect with their own histories.

At the same time, sellers are creating economic opportunities for themselves and others through their hard work, dedication and entrepreneurship. Financial uncertainty becomes more personal during the holidays, and the pandemic has made this year difficult for many. When our customers have lost jobs or needed to stay home to take care of kids and family, they have often turned to our marketplace to realize financial opportunities.

People around the world realize new profit streams on our marketplace, such as Quovardis Lawrence of store QC Consigns in Charlotte, North Carolina, who had been selling on eBay part time since 2013. When she was laid off this past March due to the pandemic, she joined her husband, Carlo, in selling full-time in their store. Now, the couple is extending the success they’ve found on our marketplace to their own community, consigning boxes upon boxes of clothing, shoes and accessories to help supplement others’ lost incomes during COVID-19.

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Sellers have also reached out this year to tell us they need help getting their brick and mortar stores online. As a result, we created accelerator programs like Up & Running to support small businesses as they transition to selling online and strengthen main streets everywhere. Launching first in North America, we’ve since expanded this program globally with adaptations in over 25 markets, such as Sempre Aperti in Italy, Global 24/7 in Thailand and Singapore, and Pay As You Grow in the U.K. Our goal is to be a strong partner to sellers, supporting small businesses throughout their journey and lending additional support whenever and wherever it is needed.

Our community’s success is a shared one. Buyers and sellers donate to causes that matter to them on our marketplace through eBay for Charity, raising more than $1 billion in total funds to date. Beyond this, on an individual level, customers like U.K. seller Shaun O’Brien of Direct Plants are paying it forward. When I met with him earlier this year, he told me how he had offered a 20% discount to British front-line health care workers in thanks for their work during the pandemic — and gave away 20 plum trees to local gardeners as a way of encouraging healthful gardening activities during a tough time. Our sellers are reaching out to others, building community and lifting spirits, across the globe.

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We strive to act as the beacon of community support, leading the way for giving. Over the course of this year, eBay Foundation has granted nearly $15 million to nonprofits around the world — including many that support entrepreneurs and small businesses — with $1 million of that total as matching funds for employee donations and volunteer hours. eBay Foundation also reached the $1 million Kiva lending goal this year through employee lending campaigns and matching funds — providing micro-loans to over 30,000 small business borrowers around the world since 2017.

The generosity of our buyers and sellers inspires us to do better ourselves. The stories we’ve experienced fuel me and my team every day, and they’re the spark for the bright future we are creating. With thankfulness, we welcome all of our customers — the college students, the families, the entrepreneurs, the empty-nesters, the veterans, the givers — onto our marketplace this holiday season, as they create new dreams and memories of their own.