If you’re thinking about selling online on Etsy or eBay, you’ve landed in the right place. Our Etsy vs eBay comparison will provide you with everything you need to decide which one you should go with.
This article includes:
- A brief overview of Etsy and eBay.
- Detailed analysis of some of the key essentials of Etsy vs eBay (ease of use, selling tools, shipping, fee, and so on).
- Suggestions on choosing the best suited marketplace for your business: Esty or eBay.
- And far more.
Let’s get started with the detailed Etsy vs eBay comparison!
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Etsy vs eBay: Overview
Before you choose to sell on Etsy or eBay, it’s important to understand what they are and how they assist your business.
What is Etsy?
Founded in 2005, Etsy is an online marketplace connecting merchants and shoppers who are passionate about creating or purchasing custom-made items, vintage or unique treasures. Currently, there are 4.36 million Etsy sellers across the globe – each of whom is the driver of both economic impact and personal empowerment.
The most interesting thing about Etsy is that everything is made, collected, and sold by its sellers. This platform creates an independent room for sellers who produce their products and manage their orders and inventory at the same time.
What is eBay?
eBay is a famous online marketplace within the eCommerce industry. The US-based company is a great place for buyers and sellers to come together and trade almost anything. What makes eBay so special lies in its selling system. It allows users to sell items as they want in an auction, which means buyers can try to outbid each other.
With eBay, selling new or secondhand products is completely allowed. Therefore, eBay is more about mass-produced items and good bargains which can make it highly competitive.
Having said that, the eBay management system still has its weaknesses and needs time to fully improve. If your goal is going for multichannel selling, you should consider integrating eBay with a central platform so you can easily manage multiple channels in just one place. This way, you can even establish integration with your web store such as Shopify eBay or Magento eBay integration .
What can you sell on Etsy and eBay?
It's essential to compare the product types support in the comparison of Etsy vs eBay to find out your products would meet the requirements or not. Also, the main distinction between Etsy vs eBay lies in the product's types which help merchants define the audience who come on these marketplaces.
Etsy is a great place to sell handmade, antique, and one-of-a-kind items. This multi-vendor platform has a creative persona that brings a creative vibe. Therefore, Etsy appeals to a specific group that is more likely to own these kinds of interesting items.
However, you should bear in mind that there are some niches that you cannot sell on Etsy, here are some examples:
- Animal items
- Human remains
- Tobacco, drugs, alcohol, medical drugs, or drug paraphernalia
- Products that provoke hatred and violence
- Recalled items, weapons, and hazardous materials
- Internationally regulated products
- Mature content and pornography
- Highly regulated products or promoting illegal activities
On the other hand, if you are looking forward to offering a variety of items, from antiques and gently used items to brand new ones, then eBay is the right place for your business. eBay offers both fixed price (for those who want to buy without bidding) and auction-based pricing. Hence, shoppers can choose to buy your product immediately or bid for it. For beginners, it’s encouraging to look for the best-selling items on eBay to select the kind of product that can quickly bring profits.
Just like Etsy, eBay also forbids its users to sell:
- Adult items
- Animals and wildlife products
- Autographed items
- Digitally delivered goods
- Drugs and drug paraphernalia
- Electrical and electronic equipment
- Event ticket
- Encouraging illegal activity
- Stamps, currency, and coins
For more detail, check out eBay's policies on restricted items.
Customer base is a necessary factor in this Etsy vs eBay comparison. There are significant differences in the customer behavior of the buyers from both marketplaces. Let's take a look at what sets Etsy buyers apart from eBay buyers.
While it has grown for years, Etsy is still a smaller marketplace than eBay. According to Statista, there are over 39.4 million active Etsy sellers from 2012 to 2020 worldwide.
Generally, Etsy’s major buyers are seeking the unique and one-of-a-kind from a product that can't be found on any other site. They are usually looking for a product for personal use or to add to their collection.
Up to now, there’re 187 million buyers and over 20 million sellers on the eBay marketplace globally. When it comes to the customer base, they are regularly looking for general products that may be found at a reasonable price in comparison to other marketplaces.
Verdict: If you have a really narrow niche that you can easily target with the correct product, Etsy is where you’ll most likely discover your type of buyer. On the other hand, eBay is a good fit if you want to sell in bigger market niches.
Ease of selling: Is Etsy better than eBay?
The first question that might pop out your mind is “Which one of them is more user-friendly?”. At this part, we will help you figure out which marketplace is easier to manage and sell on.
With Etsy, you can open your own Etsy shop with ease, but becoming successful is not always as easy as it seems.
First of all, signing up for an Etsy seller account is pretty straightforward. To begin, you must enter your store name and upload a few products – 10 is a nice number to start with, but you can just start with a handful.
After registering a selling account, Etsy will walk you through everything you should include in your listing:
You can then provide your consumers with online invoicing and payment options.
You can also interact with other sellers by participating in the forums. There, you may obtain their Seller Handbook, which is a comprehensive and helpful instruction for newcomers.
Furthermore, there are several strategies to “level up” to attract more customers. Sellers with a good reputation can join Etsy Plus to get extra benefits including free listing credits, Etsy Ad credits, custom web address discounts, and more comprehensive store customization.
If you want to be a successful Etsy seller, consider the following suggestions:
- Increase your activity and creativity.
- Raise the number of product combinations.
- Make use of appropriate and targeted keywords in the title and description.
- Gain a deeper understanding of both Copyright and Trademark laws.
- Avoid keyword stuffing by including more special identities.
- Add more keywords and links that are relevant.
- Remember to utilize the image alt tags.
If you need to know more about the Etsy cost, check out our article How much does it take to open an Etsy store
Similar to Etsy, becoming an eBay seller is simple using Seller Hub. Plus, it gives you step-by-step instructions on how to get started, as well as some suggestions to promote your products (like free listings).
Once you’ve logged in, you’ll be able to get an overview of your selling page which shows you all of the products you’re currently selling:
What’s amazing about eBay is that you can look for similar products to use as a starting point for your listing. This can save you a lot of time filling out data like size, color, and so on. Furthermore, you can also create your own listing templates if you have a wide range of listings to get through.
The fact is that eBay isn’t the most visually appealing marketplace. It’s a little bit cumbersome and it’s not always clear where important features are located (for example, the ability to build templates).
You should bear in mind that standing out on eBay can also be challenging. Focusing all of your efforts on customer experience is the best thing you can do at this time.
Just like Etsy, here are some selling tips you can consider while using eBay:
- Find the right products to sell for a reasonable price.
- Spend time crafting descriptive names and descriptions.
- Create high-resolution item images.
- Make sure your Etsy shipping items are well-packaged.
Verdict: It’s obvious that selling on Etsy is much more straightforward and it's faster to list products on this marketplace than on eBay. You can take Etsy into account when your store is all about hand-made or unique items.
Etsy vs eBay Fees
At first glance, eBay appears to be more appealing to newbies because it offers up to 50 free listings per month. Etsy might not offer such a warm welcome, but its fees are more predictable than eBay’s. Let’s have a closer look at Etsy vs eBay fees.
Since eBay is much larger when compared to Etsy, you might raise the question “is Etsy cheaper than eBay?”. To answer this question, let’s look at the fees on Etsy, they are quite clear and comprehensive.
There are 3 selling fees that the store owners must pay:
- Listing fee: Whether your item sells or not, publishing a listing on Etsy costs 20 cents; you must pay a $0.20 listing fee which expires after 4 months.
- Transaction fee: Etsy charges a 5% transaction fee on each item sold (including the shipping price you set).
- Payment processing fees: It obviously depends on your country, however in the US and Australia, Etsy charges 3% + $0.25 for each transaction.
(*) You should notice that there’s no monthly fee or yearly plan to sell on this marketplace.
Talking about advertising fees, Etsy Ads are used for displaying your product advertisements across Etsy. Etsy sellers can create their own Ads campaign and budget. The default daily ad budget on Etsy is just $1. Whenever the ads are clicked, the merchants will be charged. Etsy will apply this fee to the seller’s payment account the next day which means Etsy ads pay upfront with no guarantee that their ads will pay off.
Etsy also offers an offsite ad campaign, which allows your ads to show on a variety of social media channels as well as search engine results. This includes but is not limited to:
When getting started with eBay, sellers must pay monthly or yearly. eBay fees can be paid regularly or in one-time purchases. Below are the costs of an eBay store subscription.
Selling fees are divided into 2 categories: an insertion fee when you create product lists, and final value fees which are charged after your items sell. The amount eBay charges mostly depends on the item’s price, the format and category you choose for your listing, any optional listing upgrades you include, and also your sales conversion.
When it comes to advertising fees, the seller sets the ads rate on eBay based on a percentage of the item’s price. As a result, an eBay seller knows upfront how much it will cost to market and sell an item.
Compared to Etsy Ads, eBay seems to be a better option because the seller pays only when the item is up for sale on eBay. To be more specific, the eBay ad rate is charged when a customer clicks on a sponsored listing and buys it within 30 days. The cost is calculated using the current ad rate at the time of the first click.
eBay offers many marketing tools directly on the platform, including:
- Email marketing
- Cross promotions
- Promotion for similar items
- Seller top picks
- The ability to add branding materials such as your logo
eBay offers two types of advertising: brand advertisements and promoted listings. You can buy a massive ad banner for your entire brand if you have a sufficient budget. On the other hand, most merchants employ sponsored listings to get their products to the top of the list.
The verdict: In terms of selling fees, both marketplaces offer their users at the most affordable price, however, Etsy seems to be better because of its clear and comprehensive pricing plan. When it comes to advertising fees, eBay, on the other hand, equips itself with numerous marketing tools to help store owners expand their business.
In the comparison of Etsy vs eBay, both marketplaces go out of their way to make shipping easy for sellers.
It’s worth it to ship with Etsy. Because Etsy offers sellers subsidized postage labels, it’s less expensive than shipping directly with most carriers like USPS, FedEx, and Canada Post.
Notably, Etsy has its own set of tools and features that help sellers with shipping, such as calculated postage. The convenient shipment monitoring to give you peace of mind; the ability to build, update, and bulk edit delivery profiles to streamline sending; and customs form assistance to make crossing borders a breeze.
With eBay, there may be some pressure on retailers to provide free shipping. This is at your own expense, so you’ll have to adjust your listing pricing accordingly. No seller can afford free shipping. However, the good news is that postage for multiple purchases is free on eBay.
Furthermore, for those who are selling low-priced products on eBay, you might feel under more pressure! This marketplace is well-known for its competitive pricing, and users can use the searching button to find specific items.
By providing sellers with specific tools, eBay can make the shipping process easier. They include shipping labels that merchants can print at home. Moreover, this marketplace provides its users with a shipping calculator to help them estimate the delivery costs among various shipping providers. On eBay, sellers can offer their customers a delivery discount, free shipping, or flat rates.
The verdict: In the end, this is a tie. Both platforms provide sellers with a variety of shipping tools and resources. Unfortunately, both marketplaces make it difficult to track orders.
Selling on Etsy vs eBay
Etsy vs eBay selling tools is one of the most decisive factors when it comes to choosing the marketplace. Both of them offer different tools that enhance your business in managing products, orders, inventory, and far more.
Unfortunately, Etsy does not provide any tool to help you improve your selling process. However, Etsy has the advantage of being simple to use, and selling on this platform does not require an extensive understanding of the eCommerce industry.
Furthermore, Etsy community forums allow merchants to actively encourage one another, provide advice, and share constructive criticism. The Etsy app allows merchants to manage their businesses while out and about for sellers on the go.
eBay may be a fiercely competitive marketplace. Scaling up, expanding listings, and thriving are all encouraged for sellers. To assist them in doing so, eBay provides the professional tools which are meant to help sellers meet and exceed their objectives as shown below:
- Seller Hub – Assists with the business and management optimization.
- Selling Manager tool – Helps the vendors in managing, creating, and monitoring product listings.
- Selling templates – This makes the process of listing products easier.
- Promotions Manager – Helps to create promotions to the target potential customers.
- Sales reports – Helps track your business, understand the main drivers of your sales, and guide key decision-makers.
- The eBay App – Enables you to sell and work with eBay’s tools on the go with ease.
In a nutshell, eBay is a wonderful venue for skillful online merchants because of these selling tools.
The verdict: In the comparison of Etsy vs eBay selling, obviously, eBay takes one-point home thanks to its wide range of professional selling tools.
When it comes to Etsy vs eBay, you should take a closer look at how these marketplaces help you during the selling process. Both platforms feature help center pages if you're new to selling and are having problems setting up your business or have general concerns about it.
Let’s start with Etsy’s seller support center. Their materials are rather simple; they cover issues such as handling orders, managing your business, payment FAQs, and typical inquiries about listing, and more.
Although Etsy offers well-defined customer service channels, several users have claimed that they take a long time to reply, particularly to support issues. You can speak with an expert by calling eBay’s tech support line.
eBay also has a comprehensive help center with information on selling fees, listing creation, refunds, shipping, selling tools, performance factors, and more. While eBay’s help center is quite basic, Etsy goes a step beyond its support center. They have instructions on how to manage your business during the COVID-19 outbreak, how to use simple stats, how to search on Etsy, and so much more.
As a matter of fact, many people have said that eBay’s customer care is superior to Etsy’s. eBay makes communication simple by providing a variety of communication options, including email, phone, live chat, and social media.
Verdict: Talking about Etsy vs eBay, both channels have a plethora of learning materials for users and customers to look for, such as a robust help center. However, Etsy’s users in support forms have reported problems sending support cases. And that’s why eBay obviously takes the upper hand.
Etsy vs eBay: FAQs
Should I sell on both marketplaces at the same time?
Selling your products on multiple channels is sure to generate more revenue, but only if done properly. Too much work to handle may backfire and hurt your business. The optimal solution if you want to sell on both marketplaces is using an integration system to help you automate repetitive processes and take control of everything from one single place.
Do home-made craft items sell well on eBay?
Yes, and no. eBay sells everything, from crafts and professionally made items. Let's say you've made Harry Potter gloves, for example. If you choose to sell your them on eBay, be ready to compete against thousands of other similar products, including used Harry Potter gloves, fake Harry Potter gloves, mildly used Harry Potter gloves, and gold-plated Harry Potter gloves. So, chances are your products will be seen by 2 people on page 12 of their search results. That's why it's always better for craftspersons to choose a smaller market with more specific customer intent.
Final Words: Is it better to sell on eBay or Etsy?
To sum up, the comparison of Etsy vs eBay has come to an end. Both are impressive online marketplaces that could be beneficial for your business. While eBay suits the needs of growing business for any seller thanks to its massive reach and vast diversity of inventory; Etsy is a perfect option if you're having a small business that sells handcrafted, creative, artistic, or unique products. It all depends on what you want to sell and who your potential customers are.
If you are a content creator, an artist, or simply enjoy dealing in artistic and creative products, then Etsy can be your wise choice. It’s extremely simple to utilize and does not require much knowledge of the eCommerce industry, all you need to prepare is the uniqueness in goods and proper audience targeting.
If you’re a professional seller looking to sell huge quantities of a generic product in a large marketplace at competitive prices, eBay is definitely the place to be.
Etsy vs eBay comparison only helps you choose the marketplace you want to integrate. In the long run, every merchant can sell their products on both or beyond these marketplaces with the help of multi-channel selling. This can be a daunting task to go through initially, but LitCommerce is proud to be your companion. With only 4 simple steps and no technical skill required, you can easily list products and sell on top global marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and far more. Especially, we offer state-of-the-art integration solutions at the most reasonable price or even free forever.
Why wait any further? Contact us to get the ticket to expand your business effectively with LitCommerce.