eCommerce Blog / Massive Decline in Traffic for eBay

Massive Decline in Traffic for eBay

The signs don’t look too good for eBay. Despite optimistic media announcements from the ailing e-commerce king, hard data shows that eBay’s online traffic has significantly declined in 2008.

Data presented by Site Analytics shows a 10% decrease in eBay’s unique audience from 2007, while Nielsen Online shows a 19% dip in time spent per user, and a whopping 33% drop in page views within the same period (see Alley Insider for complete data).

While many fingers point to the on-going recession as the reason for eBay’s difficulties, analysts have countered that, with its bargain prices, eBay should actually be thriving during a recession. The real culprit, they say, is the erosion of eBay’s original value proposition, which has made it less attractive to buyers and spurred the growth of competing sites. At the same time, eBay has alienated many of its sellers by implementing a spate of confusing policies.

Will eBay survive 2009? If not, who will take its place? Let us know what you think.


Comments (15)

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Jimmy on 20:11 25 Nov
Ebays Decline in audience was very much expected with all the changes. But just like any changes they made in the past it will eventually get better for them. We are in a recession so there will be slow growth for any company. But ebay more then likely will have a good comeback in sales for the holiday season as more buyers are leaving the retail arena for ebay to save money for the holidays.
on 16:02 27 Nov
I think they will survive but maybe not some of their leaders. The sellers have no rights and the buyers can do as they please. The feedback system is terrible now. The detailed seller thing is very unfair too. All it takes is one person to really downgrade your business weather you desrve it or not. Shipping costs should not even be part of it because the buyer knows the shipping costs before they buy, then they buy and then they bitch about the shipping cost even though they knew it before hand. Many good sellers have left and many more will. The fees are to high, and then there is Paypal, more fees. Corprate greed and corprate pay scales have ruined alot of good companies this year and that is also a reason for the setback. as long as the few leaders make their fortune then they dont care, why should they, they walk away rich.
planes on 0:51 30 Nov
The buyers say where eBay will end up. When the buyers leave to other sites en-mass so will begin a decline. This has not begun in any drastic way, to this point. For years sellers had the upper hand. EBay tried to even things out with feedback changes. Without any recourse, worth speaking of,for sellers, buyers have the upper hand now. I expect eBay to alter the feedback system somewhat in 09. Then eBay went to far with fee changes and has had to eat crow and lower listing fees. EBay has gone through, over the last few years, a change in the basic format of being a club of sorts, to a full fledged retail shopping experience. At some point, they had to change some things in their policies to account for this. They have made several blunders and have gotten a little greedy. I look for a few more changes to compensate for this over the next year. Particularly in the 2nd quarter or 09, after what I predict to be a dismal 1st. EBay is still the best place online and in then world for home base and small businesses to profit, providing they are able to get competitive prices on in demand products.
Richard Maged on 16:47 30 Nov
I as a new seller and small trying to start my web site can not buy products at a low enough price to make a profit on Ebay after to fees from Ebay & Paypal plus I need to offer free shipping to get buyers to my sight as my feedback is new and not very deep. SALEHOO has been great for me finding wholesalers . I have cold feet with PPWDG anybody to talk me threw this
electrokingz on 17:24 30 Nov
on 4:11 3 Dec
I agree with the comment by Rich. The sellers have no rights, no backup, and people purchase the items knowing the postage charges, then complain that the charges are too high. Postal charges are the only thing ebay doesn't take a significant chunk of. Customers expect sellers to give their items away for free, and have no idea how hard it is to continue scraping a few quid profit after ebay and paypal have taken their chunk out of the takings. Competition from big sellers and the International market have left sellers sometimes selling items for only a few pence profit. It's a dog eat dog world, although I'm sure ebay will survive, because at present it has no major competition.
Connie on 17:42 4 Dec
I agree with many of the above comments. As a new seller the fees are just to high on ebay. The profit is not there. The $.35 cent listing is good but the FVF that goes with it is too high. They really need some new Management!! (If it is not to late)
Kelly on 14:36 5 Dec
I have been selling on eBay for over ten years. I've several user names, one of which is over 11,000 positive feedback. I've spent tens of thousands of dollars on eBay fees and I've sold more than 3 million dollars of merchandise on eBay. The causes of eBay decline are several. The site is needlessly complex to use for both sellers and buyers. The fees have become wildly disproportionate to sales. Constant changes and inconsistent enforcement to listing policies creates an uneven playing field for sellers. Changes to feedback policy made feedback numbers meaningless. Consequences: Sellers are limited with needless complexity and high cash selling costs. These limitations severely limit new and interesting products from being added to the site. After a while the its the same old products from the same old sellers, nothing new to find. Buyers cannot find the products as there are too many nonsensical additions to the site. Frustrated buyers leave to go anywhere else. Results: The conseqences forces two questions. "Why go on eBay to browse as a buyer when its the same old stuff?" and "Why try selling anything when there is little or no profit to be gained?"
Steven brennan on 11:30 15 Dec
Ebay and the individuals that run the company have always had very arrogant view of itself that comes directly from top management.Ebay management is so full of itself that its willing to be self destructive with inplementation of negitive policys toward its own user base. Ebay management forces its will just because it can, even to the point of its own destruction. There has always been an undertone of distain that Ebay management has directed towards its sellers or at least kindled that perception and proved this to be correct by implementation of even more anti small business policys.Now Ebay wants to totally push out all the vestages of its initial rise to success. We the people made ebay a success by the ancient use of free trade without incumbrances and manipulation buy persons seeking to satisfy thier egos just because they started what used to be a good thing. Ebay was best when it was just a "Venue" and a simple tool for buying and selling and nothing more.Ask any old ebay seller, The heyday stopped in 2001 and ebay was in decline ever since.All of those sellers no longer use ebay.
danharper on 3:53 24 Dec
To read what's REALLY going on at ebay, search the internet for “Ebay Stockholders and Sellers Calling For Immediate Termination of John Donohoe CEO Petition” To read ebay's own employees' experiences working under such extremely poor management at ebay, go to glassdoordotcom. FIRE DONAHOE!!!
Capt Quahog on 11:01 10 Jan
Back in the 1970s, everybody seemed to hate “the telephone company”. Those were repressive, arrogant monopolies with unchecked power and usually inferior service. Today, that same antipathy is directed at “eBay”. Can’t think of any other private company that now evokes such instant disdain just by mention of its name as “eBay”. Had eBay accounts, one for buying and the other selling for about ten years, but finally quit selling in late 2008. During nearly a decade, I’ve seen the auction eBay site change from being mostly enjoyable to a general money losing annoyance. For a time back around year 2000, I was pulling in over $1,000 a week in profit from eBay auctions selling odd smaller items such as vintage photo images, old LIFE magazines, antique books and small collectible pieces. It was actually fun and in selling, many online friendships developed. There were lots of eager auction buyers then with all payments in check or money order. With over 6,000 sales transactions there were just a couple problems involving small amount checks. Selling and buying back then was quite simple too without myriad complex, confusing and useless added enhanced features. Within the past five or so years, eBay has been transformed through gross mismanagement into a politically correct, money losing, authoritative monstrosity. All of my auctions were cancelled by eBay twice for “inappropriate content” in year 2004. These occurrences both involved old photographic prints. One picture showing the zeppelin Hindenburg in 1936 had use of the term “nazi airship” within the descriptive text. That and 40 other auctions were all wiped out by eBay with my account being at once suspended for 14-days as punishment. The other episode was a few weeks later involving a photographic print taken in 1942 showing a wartime scrap metal drive with a sign within the picture displaying “All this Scrap to Lick the Jap”. Not only were all other ongoing auctions wiped out, but there was a small barrage of assorted “nasty gram” robot Emails from eBay that followed. I was threatened with being banned from eBay forever for “racist” content in my auction sales. I was ordered that before being “allowed” to again become a “ full member of the eBay community” that I complete and online instructional with quiz on “Social Tolerance”. Only after carrying out that task would I be “considered” for reinstatement, blah, blah, blah. A little sidebar is that I’ve found eBay messages are usually signed by some anonymous goofball with a probable contrived name such as Crystal, Lance, Tiffany or Moonbeam. Anyway, in response to the demand by some idiot named "Todd" that I summit to an eBay indoctrination in “racial tolerance”, a reply was sent. My response to eBay was simple and brief . . . “I’m married to an Asian you a--holes” “Go and f--k yourselves!” “Enough is enough!” Within less than a week, my eBay account mysteriously was reinstated as if nothing had happened at all. So much for the eBay diversity doctrine. By October 2008 with increased listing fees and assorted negative ingredients, such as eBay’s PayPal only accepted payment rules, as a small seller, I just dropped out. eBay is in financial deep trouble due to bad business practices and an overall lousy attitude towards its customers. Seems too that eBay like many other “sales” outfits today have gone totally off track. Corporate attitude is now more like that of a government social service agency rather private business for profit. Since alienating and pissing-off the customer base, eBay is headed for the rocks. The hard dollar cash economy with millions of small time sellers built eBay. Many tons of Beanie Babies moved back and forth through eBay in the early days. In recent times eBay’s policies are set to drive out modest sellers and pull in big retail dealers. As we know, that model is now in collapse. The whole situation is going bust. As it turns out, due to corporate greed and basic incompetence, eBay has killed it’s own golden goose and driven itself out into the cold. The salad days of eBay are over. Time to move on to something new and better.
John on 15:53 15 Sep
I am so fed up with some of the sorry ebay sellers. I always pay promptly as a buyer. Most of the time right after the auction. Only once did I pay later that day. I have a record for being prompt about my payment. What aggravates me is the lazy attitude ebay sellers take on shipping out an item. Yes I know it takes time. However, if you are an ebay seller and you cant fill your role as a seller than get off the system. I have had anything from not hearing from the seller after a transaction for a couple of days to have ebay sellers advertise priority shipping and then ship USPS parcel post to save a buck. You name it. Then some that get very cocky and arrogant when you seek solid communication, since you just made a payment and you want to know that you just made a payment and nothing is happening. My take is that a transaction is a contract of expectations. A buyer is expected to pay promptly and there should be a reasonable amount of communication from the seller with promptness, professionalism, and communication, along with business ethics. Dont let it get to the point that I am having to file a dispute with ebay to get contact information because you dont respond to your email. Or I have to file a dispute because you set an expectation of priority shipping but then save yourself a buck by shipping and say the hell with how much longer it takes me to get my package when I paid promptly. I have learned that ebay will treat a prompt ebay buyer with level of professionlism much more than a lot of the sellers that need to be off the system. I just had a seller downgrade my shipping. Guess what ebay held his payment for nearly a month. Then he emails me back all upset. My response. "Not my problem, but your problem". It's a two way street, treat your customers like you want to be treated.
irritated on 1:04 27 Jun
Really sick of ebay buyers. I am both an ebay seller and buyer (although more of a seller). I have used ebay since late 2005 so I can't comment on how good it use to be before then however what I can say is that ebay has severely declined. Whilst I agree with most of the information above regarding ebay and their ridiculous greed the main problem is buyers and lack of respect for sellers. Yes there are a few bad sellers on ebay but in most part I have found sellers are usually good, The biggest problem is buyers. Buyers are buying goods a quite discounted prices since items dont sell as well as they useto nor get as much views not make as much profit. So take for example an item I might have sold in 2005 for £60, now sells for a migre £19.99. The buyer then expects better customer service from me than they would a normal retailler buying the item at full price. I am all for customer service but this is a joke. I get asked for mesurements for every part of the product, pictures in 100 different angles and then some idiot emails me asking me to sell a £60 item to them for £5. The excuse for such a non-serious offer, "Hi this item has now goe into sale for £40 and your on ebay". My response yes I bloody know I wasted £20 quid buying this at wholesale price just for the item for drop in price a week later and now you insult me with a far from serious offer. Buyer expect too much. As for the posting rule, I state 5 working days yet only 1% of buyers bother to read my information and still complain. Buyers dont leave full 5 stars unless they have completely ripped you off. A buyer sells an item and gets bad feedback and guess what their pissed off, have a bad tatste in their mouth and decide I wont bother to contact you to resolve I will just leave you crappy feedback too, there feel how I feel. 99% of the time if a buyer leaves you poor feedback youve usualy done nothing wrong or they have recently recieved poor feedback. The abolition of negative feedback is awful. Ebay desperately need to implement tools so selers can make it known on buyers feedback that they tried to blackmail you for a discount, a new fav on ebay, hi I found a lose thread inside the trousers, it wasnt cut off, it will cost me £20 to repair, if you refund me £30 I wont leave bad feedback. Even the seller.buyer playing field and thats a start in the right direction Critically revise final value fees, as the "KERCHING" sound of my money in you and paypal's pocket is naueating particularly when you couldnt really give a toss about me or my business. Stop suspending people for nonsense, really I have heard every excuse and had a number of listings removed for outrageously poor reasons which are usually the result of a jealous seller or disgruntled buying cheapskate. Buyers respect that you are buying discounted goods from sellers who need a life too, once got a negative feedback because I didnt reply to an email which was sent at 2am within 30mins. Hello I was sleeping! You get scared to take a crap incase some idiot thinks your "ignoring them". Buyers stop driving money into ebays pocket, quit complaining about the 75p overpricing on the postage for heaven sake people dont work for nothing. Buy from a high street store and they will charge you alot more yet due to their postal discounts pay alot less. If I up my listing start bid to cover pacaging and handling I have to up it even more to cover the percentage ebay wil take from it. Overseas buyers stop begging for cheaper shipping as when your item gets lost your the first to complain and respect that it will take atleast 7 days to arrive, what the hell is wrong with you? Buyers when you get a bargain dont have the cheek to keep complaoining or trying to get discounts and have some shame a pride dont email epople asking for something at 1% of its value thats just embarassing. If a seller resolves without problems stop leaving negative feedback, you are no worse off than if the transaction did occur. Stop finding negative things to say, Use your common sense 500 items means atleast 500 emails to go through daily, give me a break. Stop asking questions about things I have already written in the listing, you just clog the mail box and annoy me. If I dont stop I will get upset, im going to bed lol
Erin on 19:19 10 Aug
I do feel that once the economy is back on its feet people will again turn to ebay. They will however be surprised with how much ebay has changed and not for the better. I myself am fed up with Ebay. I no longer sell items on ebay but do all my auction business with Main Street Fair. It's a great auction site and a portion of the company's revenues go to America's schools. So you're not only getting rid of something you don't want anymore or buying that purse you always wanted, but you're helping our schools as well.
john on 16:12 26 Oct
eBay is doomed to fail any body who has stocks in the company sell it, and sell it fast ebay will become MySpace cause the leaders in the board of eBay has no idea how real life dealings work. This guy the new CEO probably don't even have a sellers account. eBay was a great company but right now eBay is acting as a communist company. and communists fail so will eBay i am sorry to say this but its a fact. An advice to eBay if they want to be successful which I am sure they can do it, fire half of eBay executives they don't learn anything from their mistake why eBay was successful 5 years ago because it was a free entrepreneurship company now its a communistic company, If a person wants to buy your item he sees shipping charges he has a choice to buy or not to buy feed backs system sucks sellers ratings sucks it takes for one person to ruin your business.


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