Monday, 11 May 2020

eBay sees UK buyer and seller surge due to lockdown




More than 500,000 new businesses, including independent fashion stores, signed up to eBay’s UK platform in April as a way to keep trading during the lockdown.

The online marketplace said even big fashion brands are creating accounts to clear spring stock and generate some revenues while stores remain closed. As many as 80 brands have already signed up, with more expected to join in the coming weeks, according to Rob Hattrell, VP of eBay UK.

Online shopping has become the only way for non-essential retail to continue operating during the Covid-19 crisis. Since the government closed all non-essential shops on 23 March, retailers have been forced to turn to e-commerce to make sales. And while Prime Minister Boris Johnson has suggested that some shops might be able to open next month, his plan has been criticized for having a lack of clarity.

“Businesses are trying to find a way to survive,” Rob Hattrell told The Guardian. 

Buyer numbers on eBay have also surged as consumers embraced online shopping to continue making purchases.

But not all online sellers are doing well. Sales data from the platform reveals demand for different kinds of products has fluctuated from medical products to home office supplies and from games and puzzles for children to fitness equipment. But in recent weeks, the site has seen signs that demand for clothing is returning.

One of the few fashion categories that continues to shine despite the lockdown is activewear, which is up by 50% on eBay. Sales of dumbbells and resistance bands are up more than 220% and brewing kits are up 200%.

Soothing concerns that the shift to online shopping will have a devastating effect on high street retailers, Hattrell said that looking at South Korea and China that have started to come out of lockdown "there’s a sustainable and sustained shift to shopping more online. It doesn’t mean physical retail ends. Having physical and online running together is the most compelling thing for customers. These things don’t have to work in competition”.

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