Study Shows eBay's Small Business Appeal

A study conducted by AC Nielson shows that eBay continues to have a 'significant impact' on America's small-business growth.

A study conducted by AC Nielson shows that eBay continues to have a 'significant impact' on America's small-business growth. The online survey was conducted in July consisting of 2,003 respondents and was commissioned by eBay. The purpose of the study was to measure the current impact of eBay on small business.

"By enabling entrepreneurs to start a business online and immediately reach a market of 157.3 million registered users worldwide, eBay has become the best place to start, grow and operate a small business," says the report.

Among the findings in the survey of note, nearly three-quarters of a million people say they rely on eBay sales for their income. It states that 724,000 eBay sellers rely on eBay sales as their primary or a secondary source of income — a jump of 68 percent over two years. In addition, another 1.5 million individuals say they supplement their income by selling on eBay.

When asked by ECommerce Guide to be more specific about the breakdown between those who say eBay is responsible for their primary and secondary incomes, eBay representatives could not do so.

Of individual sellers with activity on eBay last year, 87 percent who participated in the survey said they use eBay as their only online sales channel. Of sole proprietors with sales activity on eBay last year, 55 percent of them claim to have chosen eBay as their only online sales channel.

"Of businesses with employees with sales activity on eBay last year, 32 percent of them are using it as their only online sales channel. Businesses that sell on eBay have an average of 13 full-time workers, 8 part-time and 2 dedicated solely to handling an eBay business," the study claims.

Building a small business is still on the minds of many, according to the survey. According to the report, many eBay sellers are devoting their full attention to building successful businesses on eBay. It states as many as 14 percent of eBay sellers have retired early or quit their jobs to sell full-time on eBay, and an additional 12 percent are considering doing so.

The reasons behind the desire to own a business are many, according to the survey. It found that income and independence are the main motivators for owning a business among current business owners selling on eBay, with 59 percent of business owners who sell on eBay cited independence as their reason for owning their business. While 57 percent of business owners said they sell on eBay to increase personal income.

Another 53 percent said doing something they were passionate about also motivated them to sell online.

"Businesses on eBay say they have been able to reach out to buyers in more geographically diverse regions while improving their businesses. Among sole proprietors, 77 percent said eBay has helped them extend their geographic reach, and 69 percent of businesses with employees agreed. Nearly half the sole proprietors (49 percent) and 41 percent of businesses with employees feel eBay has helped them increase their amount of business," the report states.

The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 percent.

Devin Comiskey is the Managing Editor of ECommerce-Guide.com.

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