Coronavirus: Shoppers flock to eBay as 50,000 new businesses sign up

·2 min read
Close up of hot tub in backyard. Photo: Getty
Close up of hot tub in backyard. Photo: Getty

More than 50,000 new businesses started selling products via the UK branch of eBay (EBAY) in April, to meet the demand of online shopping during the coronavirus lockdown.

Sales of hot tubs have rocketed by 480% on the online trading site, whilst purchases of dumbbells and resistance bands have risen by more than 220% as people increasingly exercise at home.

Domestic products related to a more self-sufficient life style such as bread makers and brewing kits are up by 200%.

Fashion brands are also registering on the site to sell spring clothing that will never make it into retail shops.

Up to 80 brands have already signed up, Rob Hattrell, the boss of eBay’s UK arm, told the Guardian. The company is poised to sign up more in the coming weeks.

“Businesses are trying to find a way to survive,” said Hattrell.

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The number of people buying items on eBay has doubled during the pandemic with toys, home office supplies and fitness clothing proving particularly popular.

Meanwhile across the UK and Europe there has been a 129% growth in online shopping rates, according to research portal Internet Retailing. This has been mirrored by the 93% slump in high street spending during April 2020.

But online trading is hit and miss. Some firms on eBay have had to stop due to lack of demand for products, such as car parts or party accessories.

Hattrell said it was a mistake to think that all online sellers were prosperous, because buying patterns were very category specific.

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eBay has also been making efforts to remove rough sellers by deleting 15 million global listings and suspending thousands of traders selling in demand items such as hand sanitiser at hugely inflated prices.

Listings for masks, baby milk, nappies and hand sanitiser are now limited to firms which have been specially approved by eBay.