Trends & Data

A Year in Review

Press Release

From Fidget Spinners, The Last Jedi and Charlotte fever, online marketplace has delved into its data and revealed some of the top British shopping trends in 2017.


1)      New Year, New Bride                                                                                                           

Brides-to-be start to focus on wedding planning as soon as the New Year hits, with data from eBay revealing that January 1st is the most popular day to search for wedding invitations. Indeed, it seems January is the month of love as data from revealed that when it comes to matters of the heart, it takes Brits an average of 20 days to plan their Valentine’s gifting, which makes 25th January the most romantic day of the year[1].

2)    Frozen Refusing to ‘Let it Go’

 Despite being released more than three years ago, animated classic ‘Frozen’ has dominated eBay’s Disney ranking for the third successive year. The 2013 blockbuster sold three related items every minute in February and outsold the rest of the top five Disney films combined, leaving the likes of Toy Story and Alice in Wonderland out in the cold[2].


3)   Harry Potter continues to cast spell on World Book Day

 World Book Day continued to have huge influence on shopping as we sprang into March, with parents forking out more than £386,000 on costumes for their children. And when it comes to which character is most likely to turn up at the school gate, Harry Potter continued to work his magic, with more than 40,000 searches in the lead up to World Book Day.


4)      Spinning around

 Shoppers on eBay went crazy for Britain’s new favourite toy the Fidget Spinner, with a staggering 21.7 million searches over the year, peaking in April with 70 searches a second. It also seems that garden guests were popular as well as the weather began to warm up, with a 42 percent increase in sales of garden gnomes – that’s 20 gnomes sold per day!


5)      Movers and Surfers

 In typical spring fashion, May proved the peak month for house movers with cardboard box sales on eBay increasing by 62 per cent in the first week of the month. However, it’s not all about the home as Brits wasted no time in preparing for trips to the beach with sales of body boards jumping 133% also in the first week of May.


6)      iPhone continues to Siri-ously dominate

 When the iPhone celebrated its 10 year anniversary in June, eBay saw sales of the smartphone onsite eclipse the £1 billion pound mark, with Sunday evenings marking the most popular time to browse. The releases of the iPhone X and 8 later in the year sparked further excitement with more than 5 million items sold in three months – that’s nearly one every second!


7)      The (mini) Queen of Style

 Inheriting the reins from her mother, Kate, as the number one royal style icon, Princess Charlotte caused a 'six-fold increase' in people searching 'Princess Charlotte Dress' on eBay over the summer. Her most popular outfit in the year was the pretty Liberty print smock dress that the two-year-old wore when on a Royal family European tour in July, prompting one search every hour for 'Liberty Dress' on the site.


8)      Bake It Off

Since ‘Bake Off’ fever began Brits were filling their carts with cookware items in the days leading up to the series eight premiere. Cake tin searches doubled in the first week of August in the run up to the show with 78% of those searches on mobile[3]. As Brits basked in a heatwave, oven temperatures soared too as searches for KitchenAid on eBay more than tripled in August[4].


9)   First Minute Shoppers

 Despite Black Friday and Christmas being the traditional times to snap up a bargain, it seems we are a nation of first minute shoppers with 28% of Brits having their Christmas shopping all wrapped up by the end of the September. eBay data also revealed that 75% of us shop for our kids first, with poor old Dad left till last[5].


10)   Construction Crazy

 Ahead of the much-anticipated Lego Ninjago movie in October, sales of Lego continued to capture the nation’s imagination, piecing together to become the UK’s third most-wanted item, with over 4.4 million total searches on site – and more than two ‘Lego’ related items sold every 30 minutes in October[6].


11)   Sporty Style

On the twentieth anniversary of the Spiceworld album in November, revealed that Sporty Spice has left the largest style legacy, with more than 40,000 searches for Sporty’s trademark tracksuit and 1,500 searches for scrunchies as people try to emulate Mel C’s 90’s inspired ponytail[7].


12)   A force to be reckoned with

 December saw eBay reveal the UK’s true Jedi colours ahead of the most eagerly anticipated film of the year, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, with one lightsaber sold in the UK every 15 minutes. Rey also battled to become Queen of the Galaxy ahead of Wonder Woman and Barbie, as the nation's favourite female movie character. Fans searched almost 7,000 times every hour for the galactic leading lady since her first appearance in 2015[8].


                                                                                                                                                              ABOUT EBAY

The original disruptor of the e-commerce world, eBay has come of age – but it’s still shaking up traditional retail with a global marketplace that welcomes big brands, empowers entrepreneurs and serves 23.5 million customers a month in the UK alone.


eBay was the first online marketplace. Today, it’s a household name. A regular feature in lists of best loved brands, it connects millions of buyers and sellers, helping customers to find the item they’re looking for from its 1.1 billion listings.

With buyers in 190 markets, trade is fast. The UK website sells a car part every second, and searches for must-have items, like 2017's fidget spinner, regularly top fifty searches a second. This incredible interest directly benefits the small businesses who trade on eBay, giving them access to an audience once unthinkable for a small shop on the high street.


Whether an item is new or nearly new, luxurious or rare, fashionable or one-of-a-kind, it is probably for sale on The brand’s mission is to be the place where the world shops first, and a continued focus on its powerful search – including image recognition and voice control through Google Home - gives power to that promise.

While eBay remains true to its marketplace roots, 88% of the items for sale on eBay are now offered at a fixed price and 81% are brand new. The UK’s big retail brands also continue to gravitate towards the marketplace, setting up their own eBay stores to be where British consumers are shopping.

All sellers on eBay benefit from one of the most popular mobile apps in the market – downloaded more than 380 million times and counting – along with a ready-made web presence that is fast, mobile and secure.


Throughout its history, eBay has helped many thousands of small businesses to succeed. Small British firms regularly rank in the top five grossing sellers on’s biggest trading days like Black Friday, and over a thousand British sellers who started with a shop on eBay are now running million pound businesses, providing jobs to people in their communities.

By partnering with sellers in this way, has helped hundreds of thousands of British entrepreneurs over its 22 year history. As a hub of retail in the UK, the marketplace also continues to welcome top brands to the site – including Currys, Halfords, GoPro, Canon, Boohoo and more.

eBay also makes it easy for customers to give to charitable organisations. Using eBay for Charity, sellers can donate a portion of their sales and buyers can shop while supporting their favourite causes-adding to the funds that has raised for UK charties to date.


Recent developments

With a wealth of ‘firsts’ to its name, eBay remains at the forefront of online retail. The marketplace created one of the first-ever mobile apps, and today over 60% of international buyers shop on eBay through their mobile device, putting the products of small businesses directly into the hands of consumers whenever they want to shop.

Fast forward to 2017 and eBay is still driving new developments: artificial intelligence, the ability to search from a photograph and the world’s first virtual reality department store experience to name a few. Innovating in mobile has also meant an expansion into social media, a natural partner to the marketplace.’s Mother’s Day Snapchat lens was one of the most popular filters of 2017 and a new generation of customers are finding deals through this medium.


In autumn 2017, eBay’s Fill Your Cart With Colour campaign launched in the UK and around the world. Advertising ran across all channels, mirroring the offering of the eBay marketplace; encouraging shoppers to celebrate their individual passions and shopping ‘like nobody else’ – something the brand says is possible only on eBay thanks to its unrivalled choice.

For Christmas 2017 eBay brought the campaign to central London, with a range of UK influencers to bring the brand to life. eBay was also the first to invest in mood advertising – ads with the ability to react instantly to the mood of consumers – on the iconic screens of Piccadilly Circus.

eBay regularly partners with other high profile brands who understand the power of the marketplace in bringing products to life. In late 2017 eBay once again joined forces with Disney ahead of the much-anticipated release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The brand's dedicated Star Wars Hub ( featured more than 12,000 pieces of official merchandise and sold a lightsaber every 15 minutes. It is one of a range of product hubs built for brands including Dyson, Canon and GoPro, and sits alongside specialist categories including physical media, Curve clothing and newly added wine and beer categories.




Brand history timeline

1995 - eBay founder, Pierre Omidyar, launches AuctionWeb. By the following year, $7.2m worth of merchandise is sold.

1997 - Feedback is introduced, allowing members to rate their transactions – a first for the web that’s now an industry staple.

2000 - Buy It Now, allowing users to buy an item instantly at a set price, is introduced.

2002 - eBay purchases PayPal, followed by Gumtree three years later.

2008 - eBay is one of the first companies to launch on an iPhone, featuring during the Apple app store launch.

2009 - eBay receives a 100% rating from the Human Rights Campaign, which it has continued to receive every subsequent year.

2016 – In partnership with Myer, eBay launches the first-ever virtual reality department store as well as a smart, personal shopping assistant, powered by AI.

2017- eBay’s 22nd year in the UK sees Image Search and Find It On eBay launching, allowing shoppers to search using a picture.

Did you know?

eBay has 168 million active buyers around the world.

In the UK, eBay serves 23m Brits a month.

Princess Charlotte is currently the most influential Royal when it comes to buying behaviour on – inspiring searches for her outfit every time she appears

Social media

*All data from eBay Retail Report 2017 unless otherwise referenced*

[1]eBay Retail Report 2016

[2]data taken from 24.10.16 – 21.01.17

[3] data taken 05.08.17 – 26.08.17

[4]Data taken from 05.08.17 – 26.08.17

[5]eBay & Censuswide Data – 31 October – 2 November 2017 of 2000 UK adults

[6]Data taken from 14.09.17 – 20.09.17

[7]Data taken from eBay 01.10.17 – 28.10.17

[8]Data taken from between 1st May 2017-15th October 2017