eBay Shoppers Jump Ship

Analytics show decrease in traffic and bids during February.

by Auctiva.com staff writer
- Mar 18, 2009

Buyer attrition from eBay appears to be on the rise, despite the company's focus over the past year on building a more predictable retail-like marketplace. eBay shoppers are buying on Amazon more frequently than they did a year ago, according to research conducted by a Web analytics company.

Compete.com reports that the number of eBay visitors who made purchases on Amazon increased from 41 percent in February 2008 to 53 percent last month. Amazon, meanwhile, saw no change in the number of visitors who shopped on eBay. That number held steady at 58 percent.

Amazon can be very attractive to buyers, especially if they're looking for fixed-priced items, notes eBay author and Auctiva contributor Brad Schepp.

"Amazon is just so much easier," he explains. "Even if you wind up paying more on Amazon, the perception is that you don't have to worry—the deal will work out fine. You'll get the item, no surprises. And if there is a problem, Amazon will stand behind it."

Overall, eBay saw a 5.2 percent decline in traffic for the month of February, compared to 2008. Amazon's traffic picked up by 18.7 percent. This didn't surprise Schepp, who notes eBay's Best Match search algorithm has made both buyers and sellers unhappy.

"Sellers dislike the capricious delivery of search results; buyers don't understand how it works," Schepp says. "Why did eBay add this veneer to their system that actually stands between buyer and seller? It hasn't worked."

The number of bids made on auction listings may have suffered as a result of fewer visitors, according to Compete.com. In all, 1.5 million fewer people made bids on eBay last month compared to February 2008.

"eBay's challenges are multifaceted, and it remains to be seen whether by simply returning to its roots as an auction site it can win back buyers and sellers who have long since given up on using the site," writes Compete.com's Matt Pace. "Online retailing has evolved significantly since eBay was founded over a decade ago. Savvy consumers have learned how and where to find deals online but [they] value intangibles beyond price when making their purchase decisions."

About the Author

Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.

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