Online marketplaces provide a universal platform for sellers around the globe to promote their products to an audience of millions and connect with buyers who share their same passions, whether that’s crafting a handmade item like jewelry to furniture or collecting retro video games. But with an ever-growing number of online marketplaces to choose from, it can be difficult for sellers to understand which platform will best promote their products and reach their target audience.
Whether you’re looking for coupons, rebates, or discounts, Etsy and eBay are both great platforms for the savings savvy shopper. In this article, we’ll compare two popular platforms that define the world of online sales—Etsy and eBay. While both offer their own unique benefits, we’ve highlighted a few of the most important points of comparison so that you can determine which platform will help you find success in the virtual marketplace.
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The Key Difference
While Etsy and eBay are both used for online sales, they differ in their design and approach. Etsy has become synonymous with homemade products and one-of-a-kind finds. And it makes sense why. Etsy is curated for creatives and small businesses who are looking to target a more niche audience. Sellers of artisan, handmade, antique, or unique products will find a home on Etsy.
eBay, on the other hand, has earned a name for itself as an all-encompassing marketplace known for hosting auction-style sales of both new and used items. Due to its impressive range of products, eBay is an optimal choice for sellers of any size who are interested in reaching a broad, diverse audience with a wide range of products.
So which is the best platform for your online shop? Let’s take a closer look at which each platform has to offer, as well as their potential drawbacks.
Categories of Sale
When debating Etsy vs eBay, one of the most important factors to consider is the product you’re selling. While Etsy is more restrictive, exclusively promoting handcrafted or vintage products, eBay is more lenient, accepting everything from electronics and sports equipment to clothing and beauty products.
The types of products you’ll typically find for sale on Etsy include:
- Handmade clothing and accessories
- Home decor
- Digital prints
- Vintage items
- Personalized invitations and paper goods
- Wedding and party supplies
eBay, on the other hand, is better suited for items such as:
- Vehicles and automotive parts
- Laptops and computers
- Video games and consoles
- Cameras and photography equipment
- Health and beauty products
- Clothing, shoes, and accessories
- Sporting goods
- Collectable items
- Musical instruments
Similar to their products, Etsy and eBay’s customer bases also vary in terms of size and scope. Since its inception, eBay has become the second largest online marketplace in the United States. In the first quarter of 2021 alone, 187 million active buyers chose eBay for their online shopping needs.
Although Etsy is smaller than eBay, it nevertheless holds a strong position as the country’s fifth largest online marketplace. In fact, Etsy’s number of active buyers has skyrocketed over the past several years and continues to expand, jumping from 46 million in 2019 to over 81 million in 2020.
Regardless of which online marketplace you choose to sell your products, you’re guaranteed to reach an audience of millions—an impressive leap from your average brick-and-mortar storefront. But when it comes to online sales, it’s not just about how big your audience is—it’s also about who your audience is.
Finding Your Target Audience
Etsy has defined itself as a marketplace for buyers looking to purchase unique items from creative sellers. Because of this, Etsy fosters a more niche market with personalized products and direct seller/buyer interaction that both contribute to a sense of community. In fact, the items that sell best on Etsy are handmade. This provides buyers a sense of kinship with the seller and allows for the growth of a loyal customer base with a high potential for repeat sales.
Unlike Etsy, eBay’s target market is extremely broad. Just about anyone can find just about anything on eBay, whether it’s a designer bag or a set of high-traction tires. Plus, eBay promotes the sale of both new and used items, allowing for competitive bidding and pricing to ensure the highest profits.
The Best Online Platform for Your Online Sales
When it comes to online marketplaces, both Etsy and eBay offer unique advantages. If you choose to sell with Etsy, you’ll be able to:
- Make a name for your small business – Whether you’re crafting handmade jewelry or refurbishing antique bar carts, Etsy is passionate about promoting people who sell the items they love, making it the ideal platform for growing your small business.
- Reach niche customers – By promoting uniqueness and creativity, Etsy creates an online space that’s more likely to attract the attention of your target audience, no matter how niche it may be. Each Etsy store offers a very specific product for their shoppers — from vintage item collections, handmade products, digital products or printables, and so much more. On the Etsy marketplace, a unique product listing exists for whatever you are looking for. Etsy shoppers know that when they browse on etsy, it will be an authentic shopping experience.
- Save money on seller fees – Etsy understands the costs associated with starting a small business — even if it is an online store rather than a brick and mortar. That’s why creating an Etsy shop is free. Plus, Etsy has fewer fees than eBay when it comes to listing, transactions, and payment processing.
Despite Etsy’s many draws, several aspects of this online platform may cause some seller drawback, such as:
- Nonexistent bidding options – Products on Etsy are sold at a set price, eliminating the opportunity for your buyers to compete for individual items and increase your profits.
- Restrictive product qualifications – If your small business offers products outside of Etsy’s three main categories—handmade goods, vintage items, and craft supplies—you may not be eligible to sell them on Etsy.
- Reduced customer base – Because Etsy targets a specific customer base, the platform may overlook certain clientele and limit your potential growth.
If you choose to expand your product line and reach by selling through eBay, you’ll also experience:
- Competitive pricing – Because eBay can host auction-style sales, individual buyers can compete against each other to purchase your items—a feature that can significantly raise your profits without any effort on your part.
- Global reach – Millions of potential buyers are drawn to eBay daily to explore the platform’s broad selection of both new and used items. This means you’re given the opportunity to promote your products to a global audience with varied interests.
- Wide range of products – Whether you’re selling your old record collection, advertising your own products, or trying to find a home for the Beanie Babies that have been cluttering your basement, eBay has a category that fits your needs.
However, if you choose to sell with eBay, you’ll also have to deal with some of the platform’s disadvantages, such as:
- Higher seller fees – With eBay, you have to pay for your monthly store subscription, as well as insertion fees, final value fees, international fees, and upgraded listing fees.
- Reduced seller/buyer interaction – While Etsy is all about community, eBay is more anonymous. This means there’s less opportunity for developing a relationship between seller and buyer, reducing your likelihood of establishing loyal, repeat customers.
- Greater seller competition – eBay is a large, well-established marketplace with millions of buyers, as well as millions of sellers. With this platform, you may find yourself competing with a greater number of sellers with similar listings than you would on Etsy.
Sell More and Earn More with RebateKey
At the end of the day, the best online marketplace for you will depend on the products you’re selling, the audience you’re trying to reach, and the amount of money you’re looking to spend. Regardless of whether you’re making a name for yourself on Etsy with embroidered hoop art or turning a profit on eBay by selling your vintage baseball cards, you have the opportunity to earn even more money when you use RebateKey.
RebateKey allows you to offer rebates on all your marketplace products to attract new customers and encourage repeat sales. While you set your specific rebate amounts, we’ll boost awareness of your products and increase traffic to your shop to help create your own viral marketing campaign. Plus, when you join our seller referral program, you can earn an additional $1000 for each seller referral you sign up.
Elevate your online marketplace and unlock your potential as an online seller with RebateKey.