Updated Jan 15 2024
Looking for the right online marketplace for your business? Let the contenders enter the ring! In one corner, we have eBay, a veteran ecommerce marketplace that’s been home to new and secondhand products since 1995. In the other corner, we have Etsy, an online marketplace that rose to fame for vintage items and handmade goods in the summer of 2005.
In the ultimate battle between eBay vs. Etsy, which marketplace reigns supreme?
Well, that depends on who you ask! The right marketplace for your business will rely on several personal preferences that range from your current product offerings and chosen target audience to your potential budget and desired seller tools. Whether you offer craft supplies or custom apparel, here’s how to decide between eBay vs. Etsy to sell items online!
When deciding between eBay vs. Etsy, consider the available payment processing and integration options, as well as various seller fees that could impact your bottom line.
Compare the ease of use and available customer or seller support options available on Etsy and eBay, especially as they pertain to the potential storefront customization options.
Various elements such as available marketing features, provided store analytics, and anticipated audience reach are essential to decide between selling on eBay vs. Etsy.
Etsy sellers prefer the platform for its lower selling fees and easy listing process, while eBay sellers prefer the marketplace for its larger audience and minimal product limitations.
Unsure if online selling is more profitable on eBay or Etsy? That’s a great question! Both marketplaces drive considerable profit, with eBay raking in $9.7 billion and Etsy pulling in $2.5 billion in annual net revenue in 2022. However, it’s no secret that tons of factors can impact your profit from an ecommerce operation, whether it’s the associated fees or potential audience reach.
Here’s a breakdown of the key differences between eBay vs. Etsy to help you select a marketplace!
eBay is home to a range of new, gently used, and antique items that span across several product categories. Though eBay does have policies for restricted items, sellers are free to sell an assortment of clothing and apparel, electronic devices and accessories, sports memorabilia, and more.
In comparison, Etsy is the go-to platform to sell handmade items and vintage goods — but that’s not all. Etsy sellers are also known to target craft hobbies and creative items, such as custom wall art, personalized drinkware, and custom clothing. Like eBay, Etsy also has a prohibited items policy.
Final thoughts. eBay supports a wider range of product offerings, making it a more general sales channel for merchants. However, if you plan to sell and market to a niche audience, you may have more success on Etsy (particularly if you sell handmade or vintage items or custom goods).
Selling fees are an unavoidable expense for an online business, but your selected marketplace can help limit how much of your profit is restricted by platform fees. Consider this breakdown of eBay vs. Etsy seller fees.
Insertion fee: Mandatory $0.35 fee per item listed that recurs every 30 days.
Final value fee: Typically 13.25% of the sale price or lower, plus $0.30 per order (includes shipping and handling costs).
Monthly fee: Optional cost to customize your storefront, beginning at $4.95 per month for a Starter Store and ending at $2,999.95 monthly for an Enterprise Store.
Listing fee: Mandatory $0.20 fee per item listed that recurs every four months or until the first sale.
Transaction fee: Required 5% of the item's total sale price plus a 5% shipping transaction fee.
Payment processing fee: Typically 3% of the item's sale price plus $0.25, though there is a 2.5% extra fee when selling in a currency different from your bank account.
eBay features a simple set-up process for a Business Account, which is ideal for large-volume sellers. From here, you can access the My eBay Summary page via the eBay website or eBay app to view the products you’re actively selling. If you’re unsure how to navigate the platform, the eBay Seller Hub offers step-by-step instructions to manage listings, access analytics, and view payouts.
Sign-up for an Etsy seller account is also pretty simple and only requires a store name (that you can change up to five times after launch!) to get started. The Etsy app and website provide step-by-step instructions to create your first listing, including adding images and a description. You can also upgrade to Etsy Plus to access additional tools that help build a robust storefront.
Final thoughts. Though eBay pros might argue it’s the more user-friendly platform, most ecommerce entrepreneurs and home sellers find creating product listings easier on Etsy.
When it comes to customization options for your online store, eBay lacks free options. You must upgrade to an eBay Store to customize a storefront. Once you purchase a monthly subscription, you can set a store name (which will determine your store URL) and personalize your homepage design.
One of the major Etsy pros is that Etsy encourages sellers to customize their storefront — after all, selecting your business name and uploading a logo is one of the first steps for set-up! You can add your logo as a shop icon and create a single striking image or carousel-style banner for free on Etsy.
Final thoughts. Sellers who upgrade to an eBay Starter Store or higher store tier can access customization options; however, Etsy does not charge extra fees for storefront customization.
Etsy users made 81.9 million purchases last year. Active across 200+ countries, Etsy buyers are between the ages of 18 and 35 (Millennials) and are predominantly female, though senior buyers often shop for crafting supplies on Etsy. The top searched product category is bridal and wedding.
In comparison, there were 138 million active eBay users in 2022, 61% of which were between the ages of 35 and 64. eBay shoppers are primarily Generation X and Baby Boomers, and 60% are male. The top product categories searched for on eBay include electronic accessories and video games.
Final thoughts. Etsy shoppers are a great fit for merchants who sell niche crafts and customizable products, while eBay customers are better suited for merchants who sell home and lifestyle items
Any popular ecommerce platform will offer numerous payment methods, and Etsy and eBay are no exception. You might prefer different payment processing capabilities depending on your operating location or payment preferences. Here’s a look at the varying options for an eBay or Etsy store.
The eBay payment methods policy includes the following options for all categories:
Credit or debit card
Payment upon pickup
eBay voucher, eBay gift card, or eBay Bucks
Listings in certain categories may offer additional payment options like:
Online payment services like Escrow.com and XOOM
Wire transfer facilitated by eBay
Bank wire transfers
Etsy Payments is the primary payment method in upwards of 30 countries, including the US, Canada, and the UK, which accepts the following options:
Credit and debit cards
Etsy Gift Cards and Etsy Credits
iDEAL (for the Netherlands)
Sofort (for Austria and Germany)
Klarna Invoice payments (for Germany)
Final thoughts. When it comes to Etsy vs. eBay, either marketplace has robust payment options; however, eBay is the only provider to accept checks, money orders, and even payment upon pickup.
eBay offers several seller tools, from the primary Seller Hub that helps manage inventory and monitor sales performance, to the Listing Designer, Turbo Lister, and File Exchange tools that allow you to customize and create bulk listings. The most unique feature of the eBay marketplace is the ability to sell items at a set price or in an auction, during which buyers try to outbid each other.
Etsy has a Seller Dashboard to review store performance, like sales, traffic, and customer activity for the past month, week, or even 24 hours. There’s also a Shop Manager to mass edit your listed items, manage customer orders, communicate with potential customers, and customize your storefront.
Final thoughts. eBay allows you to potentially earn more profit on each sale due to the bidding feature and has several seller tools that enable you to bulk upload multiple products at once.
Marketing is essential to capture the attention of potential customers when selling online. If you want to expand your ecommerce store to new countries, both Etsy and eBay have advanced marketing features to help encourage new sales, such as the below seller tools.
Promotions manager: Develop free shipping promotions, percentage-off discounts, and other offers to attract potential customers.
Promoted listings (Standard, advanced, express): Create set-price promoted listings (eBay ads) that appear higher in search results.
Offer to buyers: Direct message buyers who have viewed your listing but did not purchase to offer them a better price.
Snapchat: Turn your listings into Snaps directly from the eBay app through this collaboration with the Snapchat social media platform.
Etsy ads and offsite ads: Places pay-per-click (PPC) ads in Etsy search results, search engine results, and social media sites like Facebook.
Social media tool: Direct integration to Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter to share new listings or promotions.
Etsy Team and Esty Seller Program: Join forces with similar sellers or local sellers to share resources and drive new sales.
New special offer: Create a coupon, offer free shipping, or take a percentage off a list price for your whole storefront or specific shoppers.
Final thoughts. The techniques to promote an Etsy shop are more user-friendly and affordable, especially when considering the eBay ad rate is higher than Etsy ads.
For both eBay and Etsy, USD shipping costs are automatically calculated based on the total sale price and removed from the final sale amount for all US orders. Merchants selling in any other currency must set up the shipping price manually. Both platforms allow sellers to offer free shipping, though you may want to incorporate those fees into your sale price to protect your profit margins.
On eBay, merchants are provided with printable shipping labels and an eBay shipping calculator to estimate a potential shipping cost. eBay also has International Shipping, which allows merchants to ship an item to eBay’s dropshipping hub for final global delivery. On Etsy, merchants receive subsidized shipping labels that are more affordable than carriers like FedEx, USPS, and Canada Post.
Final thoughts. Etsy features more affordable shipping costs; however, merchants with several global orders may prefer the convenience of the eBay International Shipping Program.
If you’re considering an eBay shop, there are several outlets for support. First is the eBay Seller Center, which is home to tons of resources to optimize your listings and drive online sales. There’s also the eBay for Business weekly podcast, YouTube channel, and customer service hub.
Etsy is known for its Digital Seller Handbook, which offers unlimited, free practical advice to become a successful Etsy seller. There are also Etsy Community Forums to discuss product pricing, marketing, and more with other sellers, as well as an extensive customer service center.
Final thoughts. No matter which ecommerce marketplace you choose, both eBay and Etsy have comprehensive customer service and support to advance your online store.
There are several integrations to consider if you wish to become an eBay seller. For instance, an eBay store integrates with other popular platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, and Wix. eBay also offers an advanced API integration to sell on your own website or mobile app.
Likewise, there are multiple ecommerce integrations for an Etsy shop. Etsy integrates with fulfillment services like ShipRush; accounting software like QuickBooks; social media sites like Facebook; and more. Sellers can also develop their own integration with the Etsy API.
Final thoughts. Etsy has more widely available integrations beyond other sales channels than eBay.
Last in the battle between eBay vs. Etsy is the available store analytics. eBay offers substantial insight into store performance on the primary Seller Hub. There’s also a Best Selling Items list that’s continuously updated to reflect top products and eBay research tools to expand your offerings.
The Etsy Seller Dashboard is the premier destination for reviewing store performance like current traffic and customer activity. Beyond the dashboard, Etsy Stats provides merchants with in-depth metrics like traffic sources, conversion rates, top products, and revenue for particular periods.
Final thoughts. Though eBay provides sellers with more tools to accelerate future sales, Etsy has more resources to analyze current performance.
When it comes to ecommerce marketplaces, eBay and Etsy are two heavy hitters — and major contenders for your online store! As you decide which platform would be best for your business, pay close attention to the required costs, provided seller tools, and current customer base. Selecting the right platform for your products will heavily rely on the available marketplace opportunities.
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The difference between Etsy and eBay is that Etsy is an online marketplace for handmade goods, custom products, and vintage items with a predominantly female and Millennial customer base, while eBay is a more general ecommerce marketplace with an older customer base aged 35 to 64.
Yes, Etsy had $2.5 billion in annual net revenue in 2022 and is ideal for a range of businesses. To determine if selling on Etsy is worth it for your online store, consider whether your products will appeal to the younger demographic, are crafty, or are focused on a niche audience.
For most categories, eBay takes a final value fee of 13.25% of the sale price or lower, plus 30 cents on each order. Domestic shipping and handling fees are also automatically calculated at checkout and are removed from the final sale price the merchant receives.