Similarities and differences between Amazon and eBayIf you’re an Amazon seller, you’ve probably wondered what it’s like to sell on eBay. And if you’re an eBay seller, you might have wondered the same thing about selling on Amazon. Or, maybe you don’t sell on either and you want to know which one is best for your business. No matter where you’re at in your selling journey, this post will help outline everything you need to know in the battle of Amazon vs eBay. 

Sales Opportunities Fees Branding
Amazon Annual net revenue: $232.9 billion
(as of 2018)
$0.99 per item listed for individual sellers (less than 40 items sold per month), or a flat monthly listing fee of $39.99 for businesses Offers sponsored product listings with no access to majority of customer's information
eBay Annual net revenue: $10.7 billion
(as of 2018)
Listing is free for first 50 items per month, and then $0.35 each listing after 50. Webstores start at $5 a month and includes 100 free listings Offers promoted listings and features sellers on a showcase page


Amazon vs eBay – Who has more sales? 

When you look at overall sales, eBay only earns a small percentage of what Amazon does. In 2018, eBay’s annual net revenue was $10.7 billion while Amazon’s was a whopping $232.9 billion 

More importantly than the raw sales numbers are the marketplaces’ growth. From 2013 to 2018, Amazon’s annual revenue grew 212%. eBay, on the other hand, only grew its revenue by about 30% over the same time frame.  

Amazon is huge and it’s growing faster than eBay, that’s easy to see. But don’t count eBay out just yet. Let’s take a look at how competitive each marketplace is for sellers.  


What about competition amongst sellers? 

It isn’t easy to find apples-to-apples data about Amazon and eBay sellers. Both marketplaces are selective about the information that they reveal.  

In 2019, Amazon reported that they have about 200,000 sellers that have a revenue of over $50,000 and about 50,000 sellers that earn over $500,000 annually. Additionally, third-party sellers account for more than half of Amazon’s sales, while Amazon’s own products make up the rest. They mention “millions” of small and medium-sized businesses around the world on Amazon, but they don’t give us a hard number. 

By contrast, eBay reported that they have about 10s of millions of sellers, but most are low-volume sellers.  

What does that mean for sellers? It means that you’ll most likely see less competition on eBay than on Amazon. Of course, that depends on what products you’re selling.  


What are the fees like? 

Another key consideration is how much it’s going to cost you to sell your items on eBay or Amazon. Let’s take a look at what each marketplace charges.  


eBay Fees 

For most products, eBay charges 10% in commission (some products are 12%), and an additional 2.9% payment processing fee from PayPal. Listing on eBay is free for your first 50 items per month, and then $0.35 each listing after 50. If you upgrade to a store option, you receive more free listings and heavier discounts. The starter package starts at around $5 a month and includes 100 free listings. 


Amazon Fees 

Most Amazon sellers pay a referral fee, which is a percentage of the selling price, and that percentage is determined by which type of product you sell. These referral fees range from 8% to more than 15% 

Amazon charges $0.99 per item listed for individual sellers (less than 40 items sold per month), or a flat monthly listing fee of $39.99 for businesses and higher volume sellers. Check out our Amazon budget planning guide for a more comprehensive look at Amazon’s costs.


What are my options for branding and advertising? 

This is where the marketplaces really become apples and oranges. 


Advertising Options 

Both eBay and Amazon offer their sellers advertising options. The most commonly used option is paying to have your listings appear in the top section of the search results.  

These sponsored product listings are used far more by Amazon sellers than eBay sellers utilize. In fact, despite eBay’s promoted listings advertising option, most sellers on the marketplace use no eBay advertising at all.  


Branding Options 

With Amazon, you really don’t have the option of using your own branding. And the most important point to remember is that Amazon owns the customers – you don’t.  

You won’t have access to the majority of your customers’ information. You cant even send emails to your customers, because Amazon doesn’t disclose their email addresses.  

While eBay doesn’t allow you to direct customers to your own store website, youll find that you have a lot more flexibility with building your brandThey actually reward their sellers, just check out their page where they showcase a hundred of their sellers with pictures, quotes, and background details. 


What’s the Takeaway?  

So, how do you know which marketplace is the best option? It’s important to consider all the differences and similarities above.  

Amazon is bigger, which means more visibility. But that also means there is less competition on eBay.  

The fees you’ll pay really depend on what you sell and how much you sell a month. And, of course, marketing depends on what your advertising budget is and how important branding is to you.  

Many ecommerce sellers resolve this dilemma by going multichannel with their businesses, they sell on both marketplaces. With a little bit of research and some trial and error, it is possible to get the best of both worlds. 


Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published September 2014 and was updated in September 2019 to reflect more accurate and relevant information.

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