A boom in the number of small traders - many of them one man bands - is giving bigger retailers a run for their money, says eBay.
Some of the top Christmas toys are available on eBay.co.uk for up to 25 per cent less than the big stores we looked at – a huge saving for cash strapped families.
What’s more, many of the most popular Christmas toys currently listed as Out Of Stock on some major retail sites are still readily available at reduced prices on eBay.
Retail analysts believe that redundancy may be behind the trend, with former employees unable to find jobs setting up their own businesses instead.
By running their companies on a shoe string, they are able to cut over heads substantially – and hand on savings to customers.
Said eBay spokeswoman Ruth Szyskzowski: “ Britain is once again becoming a nation of small shopkeepers.
“eBay is one of the biggest shop windows in the world, and small businesses are taking advantages of this to compete with much bigger rivals on an equal footing for the first time.
“This is wonderful news for the consumer because it means that choice and open competition across all sectors has never been greater.
“The result will inevitably be lower prices for everyone this Christmas”
The difference in prices between the retail giants and eBay traders emerged during comparisons of brand new top selling toys.
To ensure fairness, only toys listed as Buy It Now on eBay rather than final prices of items listed using the auction style format auction were chosen.
In addition, the prices were made between retail internet sites – even though big chains often charge more for the same item in store, citing increased handling charges.
When measured on December 2nd , between 12.45 and 2pm, the differences were substantial.
For instance, Jet Pack Buzz Lightyear, costing £40 at Hamleys was available Buy It Now for just £24.99 on eBay. Even with an additional postage charge of £7 –and excluding Hamley’s own £4.99 delivery chargers - this is a 20 per cent saving. Toys R Us are selling it for £39.97
Barbie Video Doll, costing £59.99 from Toys r Us was available at £42.99 - equivalent to an 28 per cent saving. The item was out of stock at Hamleys.
Dave the Funky Monkey , which costs £17.99 on eBay was available at both Hamleys and Toys R Us for £24.99.
The findings replicate a similar study carried out just three days before on November 29th, which also showed that a number of top selling toys were available for lower prices on eBay.
Said eBay’s Ruth Szyszkowski: “ This is a tribute to the spirit and enterprise which exists in Britain today.
“Times may be hard, but more people than ever are deciding to fend for themselves.
“Our figures show that Britain is still a nation of shop keepers, but today most of the shops are only available online.”
Using eBay provides small businesses with a huge potential customer base, free from the need for expensive head offices, marketing departments, or even support staff, all of which are essential for big retailers.
As a result of these savings , they are able to offer brand new goods cheaply, despite the colossal buying power of their bigger rivals.
For more information, please contact Alan Sleator or Simon Oldfield on : 01438-817760; mobile: 07958-480843.
Founded in 1999, eBay.co.uk is the UK’s number 1 e-commerce site, providing a platform for over 17.7m unique visitors per month (Nielsen / Netratings, September
2009) to buy and sell new, unique and used items in a fun and easy way
Far from an online auction house, eBay currently has 17 million live listings on the UK site, with fixed price goods accounting for the majority (56%) of items sold globally
Sellers of all sizes, including 120,000 registered businesses and 20 high-street retailers use eBay.co.uk to reach the UK’s largest online shopping audience
eBay supports buyers and sellers by promoting the best value deals through Daily Deals, and the eBay Outlet sells products from well known brands at up to 70% off the recommended retail price. Follow www.twitter.com/eBay_life4less for alerts to great deals on eBay and beyond
eBay campaigns on the issues affecting buyers and sellers in a number of ways, including the eBay Online Business Index and consumer choice campaigns as featured on http://consumerchoice.eu/uk/