Trends & Data reveals parents set to spend an estimated £50 million on World Book Day

Press Release

With parents searching between 9pm and 10pm for the big reveal

In the run up to World Book Day on 1st March, has revealed that when it comes to their children’s costumes, parents are forking out an estimated £50 million[1] - with each parent spending an average of £10 per child, and Harry Potter most likely to turn up at the school gates.[2]

The online marketplace, with more than 13,000 World Book Day listings currently on site with costumes ranging from Gangsta Granny to Fantastic Mr. Fox, has revealed how Brits really shop when it comes to the annual bookworm celebration, reporting the average parent spends 15 minutes[3] searching for World Book Day costumes on site.

Searches begin on 8th January as children return to school after the festive break, however it’s the following month that sees searches peak, with the most popular day February 23rd, with nearly 34,000 searches on that day alone as parents panic buy costumes the weekend before the big day at a rate of almost 25 searches a minute.[4]

Meanwhile the most popular time to search ‘World Book Day costume’ is between 9pm and 10pm, as parents hunt for ensembles just as their child has finished their bedtime story.[5]  

Indeed, some parents are so keen for their child to look best in class that they go to great lengths to create costumes, with more than 850,000 searches for ‘ribbon’ and 530,000 searches for ‘felt’ in the run up to World Book Day last year.[6]

And whether parents are shopping on eBay for ready-made costumes or crafting their little ones’ getups, it’s clear they’re seeking inspiration from popular children’s tales, with revealing the top most searched for book on site is Harry Potter.[7] 

More than 10 years after the last book was released, the beloved wizard continues to win over the country’s muggles as not only the top searched for book, but also the most searched for character and costume on in the last year.[8] Brits seem eager for their own day at Hogwarts, as the online marketplace has seen nearly 360,000 searches for ‘Harry Potter Costume’ on site in the last year – that’s nearly one per minute![9]

Lizzi Thomas, Head of Fashion at eBay UK says “Every year we see World Book Day fever intensify – with proud parents posting pictures on their social feeds of their children’s costumes inspired by their favourite character. So, whether it’s searching for quality ready-made costumes and accessories the week before or finding the tools to craft a handmade outfit well in advance – is the one-stop shop for World Book Day this year.”

For more inspiration on World Book Day outfits visit:

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 tops 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 charities 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

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[1]Data taken from  (based on number of primary school children aged 5-11 years)

[2] Data taken from between 2017/02-2018/01

[3] Data taken from between 2017/02-2018/01

[4] Data taken from between 2016/01-2017/03

[5] Data taken from between 2017/02-2018/01

[6] Data taken from between 2017/02-2018/01

[7] Data taken from between 2016/08-2018/01

[8] Data taken from between 2017/02-2018/01

[9] Data taken from between 2017/02-2018/01