Home Human Resources NewsEntrepreneurial NewsEntreprenerd Rise of the British ‘eBay millionaires’

Rise of the British ‘eBay millionaires’

16th May 18 3:17 pm

With a 50% increase over the past year

Today, eBay has revealed that the number of self-made ‘eBay millionaires’ selling on the marketplace has grown by over 300, or more than over 50 percent, year-on-year.

Now, for the first time in its 22-year history in the UK, there are over one thousand eBay millionaire businesses on our shores. An eBay millionaire is defined as a British registered business on eBay.co.uk with an annual turnover of £1 million or more.

The greatest volume of eBay UK millionaires per capita are concentrated in Manchester, Birmingham and West Yorkshire – evidence of the online opportunity up and down the country. A previous eBay study in 2015 found that Greater Manchester had a higher concentration of small online businesses than anywhere else in the UK. 

Home is where the money is for small sellers

Home, furniture and DIY businesses have surged on eBay over the past year, with most new millionaires running businesses in these categories, fueled by shoppers favouring outdoor living and a more sustainable lifestyle.

One such firm is Compare the Bathroom, a successful family bathroom business run by Ken Dawson and his two brothers, which has been in operation for 40 years. The firm now boasts three showrooms across North East England.

They began selling on eBay in 2010, and now receive an average of 80 orders per day, taking their turnover more than £1 million on eBay in 2017, driven by younger consumers making big-ticket purchases on eBay.

Ken Dawson, co-founder of Compare the Bathroom, said:

“Sales have increased significantly over the last two years as younger customers increasingly choose online to source the products they need for their home improvement projects. Unlike other customer segments who tend the prefer the physical store, younger consumers are much more comfortable shopping online, even for larger purchases like bathrooms.

“Key to this has been that we’ve been able to combine 40 years of industry and customer service experience with a marketplace like eBay, to access millions of consumers up and down the country and even as far afield as Australia and New York. We’re increasingly seeing customers opt for showers over baths as changing lifestyles mean people are living faster-paced lives in smaller spaces. Over the last year, we’ve also seen a trend for vanity units and bathroom furniture as customers seek stylish solutions to store an increasing array of bottles and cosmetic products in their bathrooms.”

Great ex-PET-tations lead to surging pet supply firms

A surprise entrant into the millionaire club are four pet product entrepreneurs. These firms have grown as millennial Brits increasingly spend on pets, seen as a forerunner to having children. The average Brit has increased his or her spending from £0.80 to £5.40 per week in the last five years.

Aquatic pet supplies business, Aquacadabra is one such business to benefit. Owner Peter Amos started-up in 1992 in South East London before expanding operations on to eBay in 2003. Online sales took off almost immediately and have been growing ever since. The firm now occupies an 8,000 sq. ft. warehouse, which includes a physical store, and employs more than 20 people to cope with demand. 

Amos said: “When we decided to try selling on eBay, we were amazed at how quickly the first few items we put up sold. Fishkeeping has become an incredibly popular hobby in the UK, and it’s become a lot easier to get in to over recent years thanks to the technology and range of products on offer, such as LED lighting.

“Nowadays, it’s easier than ever before to keep fish, including types that people may think of as requiring more time and effort, such as tropical fish. Today’s technology and equipment makes care a lot easier – today’s tanks are effectively ‘plug and play’, coming with heaters, pumps, lights etc. built in for ease of use.”

 Speaking about the trend of new eBay millionaires, Rob Hattrell, VP of eBay in the UK said:

“eBay has been through an incredible journey in the UK over the past 22 years. 23 million Brits continue to visit us every week, and it’s no surprise that the nimble small businesses which understand and cater to the ever-changing tastes of British shoppers are flourishing.

“We provide Brits with the opportunity to make a living out of their passion – and our entrepreneurs are becoming more successful than ever, with a significant increase in the number of millionaires on the platform over the past twelve months.

“It’s this success that really motivates us as a business. We are dedicated to helping even more small businesses grow, and will be identifying some of the rising stars on the platform through the second annual eBay for Business Awards.”

The top five new eBay Millionaire product categories:

  Product category Percent of total new millionaires in past 12 months
1 Home, Furniture & DIY 27 percent
2 Vehicle Parts & Accessories 17 percent
3 Clothes, Shoes & Accessories 7 percent
4 Computers/Tablets & Networking 7 percent
5 Mobile Phones & Communication 6 percent


[1] From March 1st, 2017, Feb 28th, 2018

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