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How eBay Has Killed Our Business Within 2 Years: A Cautionary Tale of eBay Ads

How eBay Has Killed Our Business Within 2 Years: A Cautionary Tale of eBay Ads

Starting in 2021, as far back as our data from eBay goes (and unfortunately, not for the full year but only 296 days of it), we witnessed a somewhat stable business environment. When averaging out the sales, we were on track to make approximately £233k for the year, with costs at about £84k. This meant that the cost of selling on eBay was roughly 36% of sales.

Moving into a full year's data in 2022, our sales saw a significant decrease of approximately 21% to £184k, with selling costs coming in at £66k. This resulted in selling costs making up 37% of the sales for that year—a small increase, yes, but an increase nonetheless, even as sales declined.

Now, let's talk about 2023. Sales dropped a massive 42.7% to just £105k, with selling costs of £43k, which equates to 40% of the sales. Do you see the pattern here? Sales decreasing and selling costs increasing.

But here's the truly frightening part: in 2024 so far, our sales are only at £9.8k with selling costs of £6k. That equates to an average of approximately £139 in sales per day, already down from 2023 by £149 per day. But if we were to project this out across the entire year, we'd only make sales of £50k, with selling costs of £31k, meaning eBay would be taking a staggering 62% of our sales! This doesn't even touch on the nearly 50% drop in sales again.

I understand that there are many variables, but there's an underlying issue here. Our account has good feedback, it's been managed daily, and we've been actively participating in growth programmes and eBay roadshows, doing everything they've advised us to. Yet, we still can't make it work. It seems eBay is pushing for and favoring sellers willing to give as much percentage to eBay as possible. In our sector, the top 5 search result spots are now all sponsored ads. In this day and age, most buyers don't even make it past half a page, let alone to page two.

After selling on eBay for over 10 years, it's both disappointing and upsetting. No business can sustain such drastic drops in sales and increases in costs, not to mention external costs unrelated to eBay, like postage, which has also doubled in that time frame. And with the eBay Regulatory Operating Fee Surcharge incoming, it's only going to get worse.

This is a cautionary tale for all small business owners and sellers on eBay and similar platforms. The landscape is changing, and not necessarily for the better. What once was a viable channel for sales and business growth is now becoming a challenging environment, where only those willing to sacrifice a significant portion of their earnings to the platform can survive.
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