eBay Celebrates 15 Years in Australia

Press Release

1999 was the year Australia claimed the Cricket World Cup, school kids around the country caught Pokémon fever, Rove made his debut and after 27 years, Hey Hey It’s Saturday aired its finale. As the nation prepared for the turning of the millennium, eBay launched in Australia and it has been changing the way Australians shop ever since.

It is likely that the Australian who sold a Harmon Kardan amplifier to a US buyer had no idea that their exchange marked the beginning of what would become an online shopping revolution down under, dissolving barriers to cross border trading in one fell swoop. The transaction paved the way for millions of Australians to join the eBay community and today has more live listings than Australia has people.

eBay Australia Managing Director, Jooman Park said, “We are so proud of how far eBay has come in the past 15 years and the impact it has made on Australians’ everyday lives. It’s been a consumer-led evolution and we’ve innovated around their needs on behalf of our retail partners.

It’s incredible to think that over 8 million Australians are interacting with eBay every single month. Australians have embraced eBay. Over the past 15 years we have facilitated more than 681 million transactions and almost 60% of all online shoppers in Australia bought something on eBay last year.”

From auctions to retail powerhouse

Since 1999, eBay has been transforming the way Aussies shop, but it was a very different site fifteen years ago when sales were predominately through auctions and people flocked to eBay for quirky, collectible items. Today, 85% of all products on are brand new items, being sold primarily by businesses at a set Buy It Now price.

Retail export nation

The very first sale on left our shores to an overseas buyer, and it set the scene for what was to come. Australian sellers have continued to capitalise on the global export market with 78% of sellers exporting, compared to only 2% of all registered businesses in Australia. On average, eBay’s retail exporters ship to 29 destinations, while traditional exporters only ship to three.

Australia’s primary export destination is the US but by contrast, Jan Mayan - a tiny little Norwegian island in the Arctic Circle with a population of only 18 people, has bought 26 items from Australian based eBay sellers - more than 1 Australian export item per person. 

Shopping by state

South Australians have proven to be the biggest night owls shopping the latest out of all states, while West Australians apparently missed the late night memo, opting for early morning shopping and ramping their activity up before 7am.

When it comes to purchasing, over the last 15 years Northern Territory eBay users have come in as the biggest spenders, forking out the most money per item, whilst Queensland’s regional city, Toowoomba has consistently been the country’s most active town, buying more items than anyone else in the whole of Australia. Always ahead of the curve, NSW buyers spend the most money on mobile devices in total, but Victorian buyers spend the greatest percentage of their money on mobile.

Appy Shoppers

In 2008, eBay launched the first e-commerce app on iTunes, at a time when mobile shopping was barely registering on most people’s radar. Australians are fast adopters of technology and actually spend more as a percentage on mobile than any other eBay market around the world.’s mobile traffic is now at more than 50% and growing steadily.

“eBay’s growth and development is driven by the changing habits of our online community and in 1999, we would never have imagined the app-reliant, mobile nature of online shoppers in 2014. It’s hard to say what the next 15 years will look like but it’s clear that it will be overwhelmingly mobile and this will drive the personalisation of the retail experience.” said Jooman Park. 

15 Things about

  1. The first item sold on was a Harmon Kardan amplifier.
  2. Outside the motors category, the most expensive item sold was Gladstone fish and chip shop, which sold for $110,000.
  3. The highest-selling charity auction was held by Ford in August 2014 which saw two limited edition FPV GT’s sell for $393,700.
  4. In 2012, The Wiggles sold their Big Red Car on for $35,700.
  5. A few years ago a Perth man sold his whole life (worldly possessions) including his car, his motorbike and his house. 
  6. Someone else tried to flog New Zealand for 1 measly cent and one lucky fella got paid over $17,000 for the patch of dirt from which John Aloissi kicked the World Cup qualifying penalty goal. 
  7. We’re not sure why but the auction item with the most ever bids was a Sharp 32 inch LCD TV. It wasn’t gold plated to the best of our knowledge but 1126 bids were placed in March 2006.
  8. The good folks of Toowoomba have consistently been the most active eBay users in Australia. Good on ‘em! 
  9. Today there are more live listings on than there are people in Australia. Guess that’s what has made it so easy for Aussies to buy on 681 million times.
  10. More than 70% of everything Gen Ys buy in some categories, i.e. Fashion, is through their mobile phone.
  11. The most expensive item bought on mobile was a Range Rover Sport which went for more than $50,000 in 2013.
  12. In keeping with the mobile obsession, Apple iPhone 5 has been the number 1 electronics search term in the lead up to eBay’s 15th birthday in Australia. Just in case you were wondering – there are more than 42 million searches for tech products every year.
  13. There is still room for sellers of all sizes on eBay but today the marketplace is overwhelmingly being used to access brand new items in a fixed price format. In fact one in five retailers operating on earn between $50,000 and $200,000. We love that!
  14. These sellers are really kicking goals – nearly 80% of them are exporting to eBay users all around the world (only 2% of other retailers are exporting from Australia at the moment).
  15. The number of eBay millionaires (merchants with over $1million in annual sales on has increased by 500% between 2006 and 2014 and there are now a total of over 1600 Australian eBay millionaires. And these numbers don’t look to be slowing down anytime soon.

To celebrate’s birthday, there will be 15% off site-wide for 48 hours starting at 12am Sunday September 14, ending Monday September 15 12pm.^