July 14, 2021

Selling on eBay vs Etsy vs Amazon – Which One Is Better?

Written by:
Emily Hudson
6
min read

eBay, Etsy Amazon, which one is better? Which one will help you achieve your business goals and enable you to reach your full bottom-line potential? All in all, the fundamental eBay vs Etsy decision can be a tricky one to nail down, as both are dominating leaders of the eCommerce world.

Because of that, below you will find a comprehensive breakdown of the intricacies of each selling platform and what you can expect to gain by going with Etsy, eBay or Amazon or vice versa, all in a committed Export Your Store effort to help you pick the best path forward to achieve new levels of scaling prosperity.

Source: Pexels

Differences Between Selling on Etsy, Ebay and Amazon

Before we delve into the nuances of each marketplace and how it compares against the others, let’s take a quick peek at how each platform has grown over the years.

Ebay or Amazon

eBay

Established as AuctionWeb in 1995, this platform was among the first open marketplaces that brought together buyers and sellers in one site. In 1997, it sold its one-millionth item and was renamed eBay, a name that has become synonymous with online selling. Over the years, eBay has grown to a global enterprise serving over 190 markets worldwide. At the end of 2022, it registered 1.7 billion live listings and 134 million active buyers from around the globe. In the same year, it registered a net revenue of $9.795 billion from its Marketplace GMV and non-GMV undertakings. As it embraces innovation, it continues to grow technologically, providing sellers a streamlined platform to sell their products with little barrier to entry.

Etsy vs Amazon

Etsy

In 2005, Etsy was created to provide a platform for craftsmen to sell their work online. While online marketplaces were starting to gain popularity at the time, growth for Etsy didn’t happen overnight; it wasn’t until late 2009 that it became profitable. It has since grown to become the go-to place for finding unique creations and vintage treasures. Today, there are 95 million active buyers, over 100 million listings, and 7.5 million sellers on the platform. With 29 million new buyers joining the platform in 2022, Etsy has shown fast growth in previous years. Earning a revenue of $2.566 billion in 2022, it raked in more than three times the $818 million revenue it generated in 2019.

Amazon vs Etsy

Amazon

Like the rest of us, you’ve most likely already heard how Amazon started as a small venture selling books online in 1994. Its promise then was to deliver any book to anyone anywhere they were. While many doubted its business model then, it reached one million customer accounts in 1997 and is now a household name for online shopping. With an estimated 310 million active buyers on the platform, it generated an annual revenue of $434 billion in 2022. Selling thousands of items per minute around the world, Amazon is undoubtedly the largest online marketplace today.

At first glance, Amazon might seem the best for online selling given its massive size and customer base. However, both eBay and Etsy have distinct features that appeal to specific buyers. In the next sections, we’ll delve into the specifics of each platform to help you decide which marketplace is best for your business.

Platform Demographics: The Different Buyer and Seller Communities

Selling on any of these three platforms unlocks a massive target market audience. Recent statistics show that all three are among the top 10 most visited online marketplaces worldwide, with Amazon placing first with 4.79 billion visits in April 2023. eBay comes in second place with 1.21 billion visits, while Etsy places sixth with 447.3 million visits. While they attract millions of visitors each month, the types of buyers they attract are slightly different.

eBay

Buyers who go to eBay are generally looking for hard-to-find or low-priced products in different categories, such as automotive, clothing, books, and crafts. In general, sellers list products as auctions on eBay where the highest bidder wins the product. These auctions start at a lower base price that works its way up. About 6 in 10 sellers identify as accidental entrepreneurs or those who began selling items without the intention of starting a business. Many sellers list pre-owned items they no longer use at home. When it comes to eBay restrictions, products you cannot sell on the platform include drugs, embargoed goods, and firearms.

Etsy

Compared with eBay and Amazon, Etsy tends to have a narrower selling scope. Most buyers here look for handmade goods, vintage items, and crafting supplies. In 2022, the top categories for Etsy sellers included homeware and furnishings, jewelry and personal accessories, apparel, craft supplies, and paper supplies. Keep in mind that what you choose to make and sell using those categories is seemingly limitless, which is what makes Etsy such an authentic, diverse platform for both buyers and sellers. An additional note is that reselling on Etsy is only allowed for the vintage and craft supply categories.

Amazon

Amazon has a diverse community of sellers for both B2C and B2B sales, with more than 60% of its sales coming from independent sellers. Amazon is often deemed more reliable by small sellers because it provides access to advanced tools like Amazon MWS. While you can sell practically anything on Amazon, the top categories with a lucrative potential are health and personal care, home, beauty, grocery, and apparel.

If you are deciding between selling on Amazon vs. eBay vs. Etsy, it is important to note these differences. Understanding the buyer and seller community in each platform can help you determine where your business fits and where your ideal customers are.

Source: Unsplash

Pros and Cons of Selling on Amazon

When it comes to eBay vs. Amazon selling, many FBA sellers will tell you that Amazon’s competitive strategy gives them an edge. As an FBA seller, you outsource inventory management to Amazon’s FBA program by sending products to their warehouses for order fulfillment. They store your inventory, pack products, and ship them when someone places an order. Check out its pros and cons below:

Pros

Many sellers consider Amazon’s competitive advantage as its major benefit. You will find a high volume of users who order from the platform because of free and fast shipping. Add to these the hordes of shoppers who flock to the marketplace on holidays to look for gift ideas. The wider reach means your products are exposed to a larger audience base from both domestic and international clients. Besides, the easy checkout experience makes it very convenient for both sellers and buyers.

Cons

The cons of selling on Amazon are the high selling fees. Sellers have to pay Amazon for storing products in their warehouses or fulfillment centers. These fees are unavoidable if you decide to enroll in FBA. On top of that, there’s high competition in Amazon. Since it is a reputable site, many sellers likely offer the same products.

Source: Unsplash

Pros and Cons of Selling on Etsy

Etsy is another online selling platform that charges sellers a fee for listing products. The platform also takes a small commission on each of your successful sales. You can check out this Etsy fee calculator to determine how much profit you can make for each of your products listed on the site.

Pros

When you’ve got a niche product, you cannot utilize the advantages of an eBay store. That’s because only popular items sell well there. In contrast, Etsy is the perfect platform for niche products. This easy-to-use platform is built for unique goods and people go there to look for one-of-a-kind finds.

Cons

Of course, Etsy is not perfect just like the other platforms. You still have to work hard on listing your goods for people to see. The market may have also become saturated with the same products or even copycats. Besides, it is hard to ignore the Etsy fees and commissions. Most of all, Etsy has full control over your online store.

Pros and Cons of Selling on eBay

One of the advantages of eBay is its longevity. It has been around since the mid-90s. And when it comes to Amazon vs. eBay selling, the latter has lower fees. You also get the option to auction your merchandise and have clients engage in a bidding war for a higher price.

Pros

Definitely, one of eBay’s advantages includes a giant market. You’ve got a broad and vast audience as your potential target market. On top of that, you can sell virtually anything (except for illegal goods and contraband, of course). You have full control over your store, including photos, descriptions, shipping options, and payment methods.  The best benefit of this platform is you, as a seller, get access to amazing savings on shipping fees.

Cons

Fierce competition is what you’re looking at on eBay. That’s one of the major disadvantages of selling on the platform; many other sellers offer the same goods that you might have in your store. On top of that, you may have to pay seller fees even if the items don’t sell. Your final value fees also hinge on your reputation as a seller. For example, if you are an eBay-rated top seller or you have an above-standard seller designation, you can avoid additional costs.

List of Fees for Etsy, Amazon, and eBay

No one engages in business for free, and entrepreneurs open stores primarily to earn profit. In the same vein, Etsy, eBay, and Amazon are eCommerce platforms that charge specific fees for all their clients. They are virtual platforms that expose your goods to a wider audience base. Since they provide you with clients, tools, and order fulfillment, they charge you with corresponding fees for these services. There is no definitive winner! All the platforms vary, after all.

Etsy

Etsy has the lowest fees among the three platforms. It costs only 20 cents to list an item, and all other fees are paid after a sale is made. Most fees here are automatically deducted from your payment account if owed. Those said fees include:

  • Listing Fee. Sellers pay $0.20 for every item they list on Etsy. The listing is active for up to four months or until the item is sold.
  • Transaction Fee. When an item is sold through the platform, Etsy charges a transaction fee of 6.5% of the sale price plus the charge for shipping and gift wrapping.
  • Payment Processing Fee. This typically costs $0.25 per transaction, but may vary depending on the bank and country.
  • Offsite Ads Fee. Etsy runs ads on other platforms and search engines. When a sale is made through any of these ads, Etsy charges a 15% advertising fee on the attributed orders.
  • Subscription Fee. For sellers who opt-in to Etsy Plus, a monthly subscription fee of $10 is deducted from the seller account. This subscription covers 15 listing credits and $5 in Etsy Ads credits.

Other fees, such as in-person selling fees, shipping fees, and regulatory operating fees, may be applied depending on the product, seller location, shipping destination, and other factors.

Amazon

Among the three platforms, Amazon has the most complex fee structure, but this is largely because of its vast product selection and multiple selling options for sellers. The fee structure may be complex, but it does provide sellers with flexibility in budgeting costs. Check out some of the Amazon selling fees below:

  • Subscription Fee. Amazon offers two selling plans. Under the Individual Plan, sellers do not pay any monthly fees but are charged $0.99 for every item they sell. Those under the Professional Plan pay $39.99 per month no matter how many units they end up selling.
  • Referral Fee. For each item sold on the platform, Amazon charges a percentage of the total price, which includes the price of the item, the shipping cost, and all other applicable fees. The referral fee for most categories ranges from 8% to 20%.
  • Fulfillment Fee. Fulfillment fees start at around $2.45 per item. This fee depends on the fulfillment method you choose, the size and weight of the item, the packaging dimensions, and other factors.
  • FBA Fee. For sellers enrolled in FBA, Amazon may charge additional fees for shipping, storage, inventory, and refund administration.

These are just some of the fees that Amazon charges. Some sellers may also have to pay variable closing fees, high-volume listing fees, rental service fees, and advertising costs.

eBay

eBay has a fee structure similar to Amazon. It also charges a percentage of the sales and a fee for listing each item. Here are the usual fees you may encounter as an eBay seller:

  • Subscription Fee. eBay sellers are not required to sign up for a store package. But those who are serious about growing their eBay store can get the Starter Store package for $4.95 per month. This includes 250 free listings per month. Other tiers include $21.95 per month for Basic Store, $59.95 per month for Premium Store, and $2,999.95 per month for Enterprise Store.
  • Insertion Fee. Beyond the free 250 listings per month, eBay charges an insertion fee of $0.35 per listing. Those with store subscription packages have lower insertion fees depending on the type of subscription. Sellers with the Premium Store type, for instance, pay as low as $0.10 for each additional listing beyond their monthly listing allocation.
  • Final Value Fee. When an item is sold, eBay charges approximately 10% to 15% of the final value. This is calculated from the total sales amount that includes the price of the item, sales tax, handling and shipping charges, and other applicable fees. On top of this, $0.30 is charged per order.
  • International Fee. If you are not using eBay International Shipping, orders you ship outside the United States are charged 1.65% of the total sales amount.

Other costs you might incur for supplemental services include fees for advertising, currency conversion, eBay shipping labels, and packaging supplies. Adding the baseline fees up, you are looking at spending $24.95 for the basic plan, $74.95 for the premium plan, and $349.95 for the anchor plan on an annual basis—check out the eBay fees calculator for more details.

Business Blueprinting for Etsy, eBay, and Amazon

One of the first ways to choose the best platform for your needs is to understand each marketplace’s customer base. For instance, Etsy is the smallest of the three platforms but still attracts 95 million buyers. These people are generally on the hunt for unique, artistic handmade, and/or vintage pieces. On the other hand, bargain hunters and thrift shoppers are known to head to eBay for cheap finds. It’s also important to note that almost half of eBay’s sales come from the United States. This is a significant factor to consider when striving to reach an audience in a particular region.

The buyer demographics for Amazon are a little trickier to pinpoint, as the range of categories attracts a diverse audience. Amazon has dozens of localized marketplaces worldwide with hundreds of millions of visitors monthly. While this gives you a vast market, you can also get lost in the sea of sellers competing for the same audience. This means you’ll need to spend more money and time in marketing your products and attracting potential buyers.

Based on the unique buyer demographics in each platform, you can decide where to start and grow your online selling venture.

What Does This Mean for You?

It means that you need to figure out what your niche is, your budget, and who you are trying to target. You also need to determine how fast you would like to sell your products. For instance, if your underlying goal is to gain more traffic, Amazon and eBay might be the better options to gain fast exposure. If your goal is to offer less expensive products on a platform with lower competition, then Etsy could be the ideal option. In summary, it all depends on your business goals and how you want your future to play out. Just know that all three can help grow your business in different market sectors, especially if you join them simultaneously.

eBay vs. Etsy

Here’s the verdict: if you really know your niche and have narrowed it down, then Etsy is the right choice. You can easily discover your audience and target them with the most appropriate product listings on this platform. Etsy also offers a clearer pricing structure than eBay. However, if you have a more global audience and sell more conventional products, eBay is the platform for you. It all boils down to knowing your products and target audience.

eBay vs. Amazon

Is it better to sell on eBay or Amazon? The answer is indeed a difficult one. These are two top-selling platforms that debuted in the mid-90s. Amazon has consistently outpaced eBay in terms of number of sellers and revenues. However, this doesn’t mean that eBay is no longer popular. Ranking second as the most visited online marketplace, eBay still gets billions of visits each month and remains a strong contender for Amazon. So the answer boils down to which one fits your needs in terms of fees, listing options, fulfillment of orders, extra programs, etc.

Etsy vs. Amazon

Anything legal can be sold on Amazon, and you’re likely to find your target market on this platform. That’s not surprising because buyers trust the Amazon brand. Meanwhile, Etsy is an online marketplace that caters more to a unique niche. If you’ve got hand-crafted artisanal products, venturing into this platform will be more advantageous. However, selling on Amazon offers the most profit potential. Evaluate the details when choosing Amazon vs. Etsy so you can assess which platform works best for your products.

The Final Verdict: eBay, Etsy, or Amazon?

After going through the Etsy vs. eBay vs. Amazon breakdown above, you may still be wondering which platform is the best route for you to take, as all three have monumental business advantages that can help you achieve your eCommerce goals in their own intrinsic way.

But the truth is that all are excellent resources to take advantage of.

Yes, you really did read that right—you should consider using eBay, Etsy, and Amazon at the same time. Overall, selling on these platforms should not be a battlefield debate. It should be considered as a holistic approach to online selling that opens more opportunities for business growth, regardless of your niche or business size. Capitalizing on the strengths that each platform brings can help you attain your business goals.

In the end, selling on eBay AND Etsy AND Amazon is the sure-fire way to grow your market faster and more efficiently. Luckily, with the dynamic exporting and syncing support of Export Your Store, mirroring your products across the three platforms can become a seamless, fast, and enjoyable process. So go ahead and try out all three marketplaces at the same time, and have peace of mind knowing that you have the perfect syncing software on standby that can help you streamline your way to ultimate selling success.

Use ExportYourStore to Export & Sync Your eBay, Etsy, and Even Amazon Stores

If you are currently selling on Etsy or eBay, it will be easy for you to sell on both platforms. In a matter of minutes, you can export and sync your products on eBay and Etsy with the help of ExportYourStore.com. Reach more potential buyers from across the world by setting up your Amazon store and integrating it with your eBay and Etsy shops. Manage all your selling channels in one unified platform to streamline inventory tracking and account management. Have everything set up in just a few clicks with ExportYourStore.

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