eBay for Small Business

Recession prompts 'new wave of entrepreneurialism' , says eBay

· Over 45,500 new businesses on eBay since September 2008

Despite the continued economic uncertainty, new eBay data shows that 45,500 new businesses have registered on eBay UK since the recession began in September 2008. The number of new businesses established in 2010 alone totalled almost 24,000 – 38% up on the previous year.

The total turnover of these new ‘recession bloomer’ businesses exceeded £350 million in 2010, showing a new wave of entrepreneurialism has hit the UK. In fact, over 3,500 of these post recession entrepreneurs are turning over in excess of £100,000.

The new eBay data also reveals that Birmingham is the UK’s hot-spot for e-commerce start-ups, with over 1,000 new businesses setting up since the recession, contributing over £18 million to the local economy. Nearly a third of all eBay businesses in Birmingham have been established since September 2008.

The UK’s top 5 post-recession e-commerce hot-spots are:








Number of new businesses



Total sales



Number of items sold












£18 million















£13 million















£7 million















£11 million















£7 million





The findings call in to question the Government’s regional economic growth strategy, as the top four post-recession hot-spots have all been named as Enterprise Zones by the April 2011 budget – areas that will receive measures such as tax breaks and simplified planning rules to stimulate growth and allow businesses to thrive – despite the fact they seems to be succeeding economically without Government assistance. Important regional growth centres such as Southampton, Portsmouth, Norwich and Swindon are all underperforming according to eBay data, but no plans have been announced to encourage growth and enterprise in these area.

Angus McCarey, Retail Director for eBay UK said:

“We know that many new businesses have struggled since the recession, and the Government must ensure the next 10 Enterprise Zones announced are the areas most in need of support.

“Online businesses in general have reduced start-up costs and low overheads so are able to be fleet of foot in responding to the needs of consumers and adapt their product offering according to what is selling. This has contributed to their success in recent years, and it is encouraging to see these 45,000 entrepreneurs taking the plunge and building new businesses despite the wider economic climate.”

Our research reveals that the Home and Garden category offers huge growth potential for online entrepreneurs. Since the recession, over 7,000 businesses selling Home and Garden products have set up on eBay. This accounts for a third of all Home and Garden businesses on the site in total and has resulted in the sale of nearly £72 million worth of goods.

Sarah Gyles, owner of fitness-nation-wholesalers, began selling home fitness equipment on eBay in October 2008 and now turns over more than £70,000 a year. Sarah, who recently sold 6,000 of her own branded GYLES skipping ropes to Yorkshire Council for their Skip for Life campaign, said:

“Internet businesses are the way forward. More and more people are trying it for the first time and are discovering the benefits of low overheads and the ability to work from home.

“Selling online has enabled me to balance work with my role as a busy single mum, and eBay is a flexible platform that has helped my business remain competitive.”

Since setting up her eBay shop, Sarah’s business has grown substantially and she hopes to expand into Europe and buy business premises in the near future.

Other categories that have seen post-recession growth include:








% of businesses set up on eBay since recession



Number of new businesses



Total sales



Number of items sold






Health and Beauty


















Mobile and Home Phone


















Home and Garden


















Clothes, Shoes and Accessories


















Business, Office and Industrial














Emma Jones, co-founder of Startup Britain – a Government-backed campaign which supports new enterprises - commented:

“Since the StartUp Britain campaign was launched a couple of months ago, we have witnessed a 25% increase in the number of people searching for the term ‘start up’ – this is clearly borne out by eBay research showing more people earning a full or part time living from trading online. What’s more, there is evidence to show if people around you are starting businesses, you are more likely to do so yourself. That’s why we’re delighted so many people have come forward to launch a StartUp Local campaign in their area. They will be working to encourage and support the next generation of eBay entrepreneurs!”


For more information please contact Nicola Marshall, Sophie Barnard, or any member of the eBay team at Blue Rubicon at ebay@bluerubicon.com or call 0207 260 2700


Notes to Editors:


About eBay.co.uk

• Founded in 1999, eBay.co.uk is the UK’s largest online shopping destination, providing a platform for over 17m unique visitors per month to buy and sell new, unique and used items in a fun and easy way.

• eBay has around 40 million live listings on the UK site, with fixed price goods accounting for the majority (61%) of items sold globally.

• Sellers of all sizes, including 180,000 registered businesses and over 100 well known brands and retailers use eBay.co.uk to reach the UK’s largest online shopping audience.

• The eBay fashion Outlet sells products from over 30 high street brands at up to 70% off the recommended retail price.

• Over 4m shoppers regularly look for Clothing, Shoes and Accessories on eBay.co.uk. Transaction volume on eBay Fashion grew 30% YoY over 2010, outstripping the market.

• In 2010, global eBay sales via a mobile device more than tripled, generating $2 billion in sales – up from $600m in 2009. This is expected to double again in 2011 to over $4 billion.

• Globally an item is purchased every second using the eBay app.

• eBay.co.uk is owned by eBay Inc, which has expanded to include a range of brands that help consumers find and purchase the goods they want including eBay, PayPal, Shopping.com, RedLaser, Milo and others.

About Emma Jones:

Emma Jones is founder of small business support company Enterprise Nation www.enterprisenation.com and co-founder of StartUp Britain www.startupbritain.org

About case studies:

Sarah Gyles –

Sarah Gyles’ eBay business fitness-nation-wholesalers has grown substantially in the last few years, and is now turning over in excess of £70,000 a year selling wholesale and retail home fitness equipment. Sarah – a single mum of two from Gloucestershire – was a professional personal trainer before she began her business, and now uses her expert product knowledge to grow her online business. Sarah believes that internet businesses are the way forward owing to the low overheads and the flexibility that comes from working from home, and her eBay store has allowed her to continue building her business despite the recession. Recently, Sarah sold 6,000 of her own branded GYLES skipping ropes to Yorkshire Council for their Skip for Life campaign - a real accolade that she didn’t think possible in such a short time trading.