Hi Ken, Amazon
started as just an online bookstore but then evolved to an online superstore selling consumer products. eBay
started as an online marketplace auctioning/selling used items and collectibles and is trying to evolve to an online superstore selling consumer products. The reasons eBay
wants to be like Amazon
Last year Amazon
had trailing-12-month revenue of $208.13 billion (increase of 30.8% from 2017) while eBay
's revenue totaled just $10.07 billion (increase of just 6.6%). Looked at over a 3 year period, Amazon
's revenue growth was 25.97% while eBay
's revenue growth was only 2.86%.
In terms of stock valuation, Amazon
's 2018 Price/Sales ratio was 4.76 while eBay
's was 3.33. This week saw Amazon
stock price closing at $1,869.67 per share while eBay
's closed at $38.91 per share. eBay
's share of the U.S. e-commerce and online auctions market stands at just 1% while Amazon
share of the same market is now over 40%. (And Amazon
is projected to hit 50% of the U.S. e-commerce market by year's end.)
has good reasons for wanting to be like Amazon
, they are getting their butt handed to them in the online marketplace. eBay
is at risk of being crushed by Amazon
(and/or being taken over by and dismantled). Unfortunately this has little to do with what eBay
sellers think and has a lot to do with what shareholders and Wall Street think.
Just as unfortunate (for us) is that there is no valid business plan for a global online auction venue that will support what our hobby really wants; selling very high volumes of low value, used items with important condition criteria. If the naysayers who often comment about the health of philately have anything to worry about it is the fact that the preferred online flea market is evolving to a retail superstore and no great alternatives will be able to take their place.
While I am sure that other companies will fill the vacuum for online auction style collectibles venues I do not think they have the traffic and eyeballs of an Amazon
or the old eBay
. I think that the auction style collectibles venues marketplace will become fractured into a number of much smaller competitors (i.e. Hipstamp) none of whom have the global reach or penetration that the old eBay
had. Sellers will have to hope that technology can breach the gaps and allow them to sell the same material across a number of venues seamlessly. SANS or SANS style venues may be part of that solution but to succeed will need a big infusion of money and technology.
In my opinion one day many folks will lament the 'good old days' and eBay
On the 'upside', smart philatelic organizations or existing auction companies are being handled an opportunity. It will be interesting to see if any of them have the courage to make the change and technological investment require to seize it.