eBay comes of age: Australia’s first online marketplace turns 21

Press Release

  • 2.5-billion hours have been spent on since 1999
  • 4,863 eBay millionaires who have made over $1-million in sales through
  • eBay celebrates birthday with 21 per cent off thousands of items

1 September 2020 : In 1999 Australia celebrated winning the Cricket World Cup, embraced Pokémon, prepared for the new millennium and witnessed the launch of eBay Australia - changing the way Australians shop forever.

September marks 21 years of, Australia’s number one shopping site. eBay Australia has evolved from an online auction house to a retail powerhouse. Attracting 11-million unique visitors each month, 90 per cent of what’s sold on eBay is brand new.

Since the first recorded sale of a Harman Kardon amplifier to a US buyer, shoppers have spent more than 2.5-billion hours browsing the site, through listings from everyday Aussies, to small businesses and Australia’s top retailers including Coles, Cotton On and The Good Guys. In fact, eBay sells 8 car parts, 1 mobile phone, 13 items of women’s clothing, 2 pieces of furniture, 3 watches and 6 kitchen items every minute.

eBay Australia Managing Director, Tim MacKinnon said, “We’re proud of how far eBay has come in the past 21 years: from a secondhand marketplace, to a one-stop shop that economically empowers its buyers and 40,000 Australian retailers. Over the years eBay has evolved with changing consumer needs: we were at the forefront of mobile shopping, we’ve invested in rewarding our loyal customers through our eBay Plus membership program and we constantly look at ways to enhance the user experience.

“This year alone, we’ve seen Australians flock to eBay for everything they need from everyday essentials to office furniture. Lockdowns have also presented SMBs with major challenges. Our priority has been to support our existing Australian retailers and to help small businesses to quickly and easily establish an online presence at a time when many have been forced to close their doors.”

A trip down memory lane 

As the world’s most vibrant and unique marketplace, eBay has been home to some rare, trending and jaw-dropping finds over the years. One of the most memorable moments came in 2006 when New Zealand was listed for sale for 1 cent, making headlines across the country. This was small change compared to the top three most expensive items sold on the Australian site:

  1. $300K: Victorian number plate - L1V LRG
  2. $110K: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore watch in rose gold
  3. $107.5K: Marina mooring for a 12m berth yacht

Australia’s cultural barometer

As the place where 2 in 3 Aussies shop, eBay has become a barometer of cultural moments: if it’s trending in

Australia, it will be trending on eBay.

  • 2006: sales of Socceroos items surged by 20,000 per cent when Australia qualified for the FIFA World Cup
  • 2008: Perth resident Ian Usher made international headlines selling his entire life – including his house,
  • job, car and friends – on eBay for $420K
  • 2016: the appointment of the American president inspired a sales increase of Donald Trump items by 72,060 per cent
  • 2020: when the country plunged into lockdown and COVID-19 reshaped how people spent their time, eBay recorded record sales increases in cleaning products (1,610 per cent ), puzzles (787 per cent) and strength training equipment (906 per cent)

The forefront of e-commerce

In 2008 the eBay App was one of the first shopping apps available in Apple’s App Store. Today the eBay App remains the most downloaded shopping app in Australia with 70 per cent of eBay shoppers browsing the marketplace on their mobile.

While the platform gives shoppers access to 1.5-billion global listings, eBay is committed to supporting local businesses. Earlier this year, eBay Australia announced its partnership with Australian Made, helping Australian manufacturers grow their businesses online at a time when they need it most.

In its 21 years, eBay Australia has seen 4,863 eBay millionaires - sellers who have exceeded $1-million in sales - including entrepreneur and Afterpay founder, Nick Molnar. The relationship has come full circle with eBay partnering with Afterpay earlier this year to give Aussie shoppers greater payment flexibility when purchasing online.

Birthday deals

To celebrate this milestone birthday, eBay is offering 21 per cent off thousands of eBay Plus items from 10am Monday 1 September until Saturday 12 September*. eBay Plus is a shopping membership that unlocks free express metro delivery**, free returns and huge savings for just $49 annually. Plus members who shop Coles on eBay*** get 5 per cent off and free delivery on orders over $49. New members can sign up to a free eBay Plus 30-day-trial here ****.


Notes to editor

*From 10:00AEST 1 September - 23:59 AEST 12 September 2020. Max disc $300. Selected Sellers only. Offer T&Cs apply.

** Free express metro delivery excls WA, NT & TAS. eBay Plus T&Cs apply.

*** Selected postcodes only.

****$49 annual fee applies post trial. T&Cs apply

Catherine Tomlinson, Pulse
T: 0423 799 729 | E:
Natasha Moate, Pulse
T: 0435 524 039 | E:

About eBay Marketplaces:

eBay is one of the world’s largest online marketplaces, connecting people with the things they need and love virtually anytime, anywhere. eBay has 182 million active buyers globally and more than 1.5 billion live individual and merchant listings at any given time. Available in 190 markets, eBay delivers a personalised shopping experience and seamless access to inventory from down the street and around the world. Tailored shopping experiences customise buying and selling; and eBay provides variety and choice for sellers by enabling them to offer goods through online, mobile and local channels to consumers around the world. For more information, visit