Is eBay really dead now?

James Turnham

Feb 24, 2023 | 2 min read

IS eBay really dead?

Hey fellow nerds, do you remember eBay? It's hard not to associate it with other '90s internet relics like Yahoo and AOL, but don't be fooled - eBay is still going strong. In fact, it has over 300 times as many listings as it did in the late '90s and is ranked second in US online gross merchandise sales, just behind Amazon and ahead of Walmart and Target. But the question on everyone's mind is - is eBay built to last?

Well, according to recent projections, 2023 might be a rocky year for eBay. This has caused investors to become wary of the company, as reported by Reuters. But, let's take a look at eBay's history - it was booming not too long ago. After hiring a former Walmart exec as CEO and selling off assets in 2020 (including StubHub), eBay started copying upstart competitors like StockX and The RealReal. They began authenticating items like handbags, sneakers, trading cards, and watches, and even hired TikTok influencers to appeal to younger audiences.

Thanks to the pandemic-driven ecommerce surge, site visits increased, and active buyers grew 7% YoY to 187 million in Q1 2021. Gross merchandise sales also grew 33% to $24.1 billion in the same time frame. However, ecommerce has fallen on hard times, especially for eBay. The number of active buyers started falling in Q2 2021 and was down to 134 million in Q4 2022 - the seventh consecutive quarterly decline. This has led to eBay's stock falling to around $45, down from a peak of around $81 in 2021.

Despite this, eBay's new strategy for relevance appears to be ESG. As it shared its disappointing sales numbers, eBay touted itself as a major player in the "recommerce" space, expecting a growing number of eco-conscious consumers to shop like it's 1999. Who would've thought that eBay's new game plan would be rooted in ESG? We can't wait to see how this new strategy plays out!