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Difference Between eBay and Etsy

The importance of businesses having an online presence cannot be stressed enough. Gone are the days where entrepreneurs relied on old-school marketing methods. While some of these marketing methods such as billboards, radio, television and newspapers are still in use, the world has embraced the online space to connect businesses with consumers. To maximize leads and sales, businesses ought to have a website, social media presence or list products on e-commerce platforms among other online tools & platforms. There is a multitude of online platforms where entrepreneurs can list their products for sale and maximize the brand’s leverage. For instance, Alibaba, eBay, Amazon and Etsy are among the leading online business platforms. In this article, we will look at the difference between eBay and Etsy. 

What is eBay?

Based in San Jose, California, this is an American multinational e-commerce firm that facilitates business-to-consumer and consumer-to-consumer sales via the platform. It was founded in 1995 by Pierre Omidyar. As of 2019, the company had operations in 32 countries. While the website is free for buyers, sellers are charged a percentage of money based on the sales made. 

The website has also expanded to accommodate instant shopping, ISBN, online event ticket trading, online classifieds advertisements as well as other services. Among its subsidiaries include iBazar, StubHub, Auction Co, Kijiji, eBay Classifieds, G-Market and Half.com. The platform has, however, restricted items including but not limited to alcohol, drugs, firearms and ammunition, live animals, virtual items, ivory products and lottery tickets. 

If you are planning to sell on eBay:

  • It will be easy for you to list your products. The process is straightforward and efficient, with an additional feature that even allows sellers to duplicate product listings. 
  • You will have the potential to access millions of potential consumers.
  • You will also be able to sell your products globally.


  • It may be expensive for you as an entrepreneur due to eBay fees on sales made
  • You may come across many unreliable buyers. This may be discouraging, annoying, time-consuming and even costly. 

What is Etsy?

This is an American eCommerce platform that focuses on craft supplies as well as vintage and handmade items. It is a public traded company that was founded on June 15 2005 by Chris Maguire, Robert Kalin, Haim Schoppik and Jared Tarbell. 

The items found on the platform fall under the categories of clothing, bags, home décor, toys, jewelry, furniture, art, tools and craft supplies. All vintage items sold on the website must be at least 20 years old. 

The site has over 60 million items and 39.4 buyers as of 31st December 2018. In 2018, Etsy registered a total US$41.25 million net income and US$603.7 million in revenue in 2018. Its largest revenue stream includes payment processing, promoted listings and third-party payment processor fees. While creating a shop on the site is free, each listing posted costs $0.20 and remains on the platform until someone makes a purchase or for a maximum of 4 months. Etsy also claims 5% of the sales made. 

Etsy has various advantages including:

  • The site has a large and targeted consumer base who do not mind paying more for vintage and handcrafted items. 
  • It has an e-commerce feel that is easy to 


  • Since the items listed look similar, it may be difficult for a brand to stand out without focusing on photography, graphic design and aesthetics. 
  • It has high sale fees 
  • Unique brand items may be replicated leading to unhealthy competition on the platform. 

Similarities between eBay and Etsy

  • Both are public listed companies
  • Both are based in the United States 
  • Both are in the eCommerce industries

Differences between eBay and Etsy


eBay was founded by Pierre Omidyar in 1995. On the other hand, Etsy was founded by Chris Maguire, Robert Kalin, Haim Schoppik and Jared Tarbell in 2005. 


While eBay has its headquarters in San Jose, California, U.S, Etsy has its headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, U.S. 

Product listing

eBay is an online marketplace focused on both new and used items that are often mass-produced. On the other hand, Etsy is an online marketplace that focuses on original artisanal goods. 


eBay is a large online marketplace with over 183 million customers as of 2018. On the other hand, Etsy is a smaller online marketplace platform with about 45.7 million buyers as of 2019.  

Seller fees

While eBay has incentives for up to 50 free listings per month, sellers on the platform pay annual or monthly fees that are based on the seller’s type, number and any advanced listings that they choose. On the other hand, sellers on Etsy pay $0.20 per item listed and expire after four months. 

Customer type

Shoppers on eBay are often on the lookout for specific products for a lower price as compared to other places. On the other hand, shoppers on Etsy are often on the lookout for unique pieces that are hard to come across. 

Seller tools

While eBay offers multiple seller tools such as seller hub, selling manager tools, promotions manager and selling templates, Etsy does not offer these tools. 

eBay vs. Etsy: Comparison Table

Summary of eBay vs. Etsy

eBay is an online marketplace focused on both new and used items that are often mass-produced. On the other hand, Etsy is an online marketplace that focuses on original artisanal goods. Despite the differences between the two platforms, both remain great starts for business persons looking to expand and grow their brand as well as reach more consumers. However, ensuring you sign up to the right online platforms for your brand is key. 

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References :

[0]Smith PR & Chaffey D. Digital Marketing Excellence: Planning, Optimizing and Integrating Online Marketing. Taylor & Francis, 2017.https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=biwlDwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=Difference+between+ebay+and+etsy&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjNz93C0IvuAhVJ8uAKHWHoApAQ6AEwCHoECAUQAg#v=onepage&q&f=false

[1]Michael Miller. Selling Your Crafts Online: With Etsy, eBay, and Pinterest. Que Publishing, 2012.https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=LB0steKfyxMC&pg=PT130&dq=Difference+between+ebay+and+etsy&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjNz93C0IvuAhVJ8uAKHWHoApAQ6AEwAHoECAAQAg#v=onepage&q=Difference%20between%20ebay%20and%20etsy&f=false

[2]Shoup K & Gatski K. Starting an Etsy Business For Dummies. John Wiley & Sons, 2013.https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=na82AAAAQBAJ&pg=PT111&dq=Difference+between+ebay+and+etsy&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjNz93C0IvuAhVJ8uAKHWHoApAQ6AEwA3oECAYQAg#v=onepage&q=Difference%20between%20ebay%20and%20etsy&f=false

[3]Image credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/89/Etsy_logo.svg/500px-Etsy_logo.svg.png

[4]Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:EBay_campus.jpg

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