Selling on Etsy vs eBay: Which is Better for eCommerce?

Selling on Etsy vs eBay
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Etsy and eBay are two of the best online marketplaces to sell products on today.

If you’re having trouble figuring out whether to sell your goods on Etsy or eBay, there’s no need to fret – I’m here to help you make the right decision.

I have spent time personally reviewing and checking out both Etsy and eBay – comparing them head-to-head based on a variety of categories and breaking down their key differences.

After reading this article, you’ll have an easier time making up your mind on whether to set up an Etsy store or an eBay store.

Keep reading to find out which online marketplace can help your business reach more customers and make serious profits!

Etsy vs eBay – A Quick Online Store Overview

Before everything else, let’s first get to know more about these online marketplaces and see how they can make your online store succeed.

What is Etsy? (Pros and Cons)

Starting out in 2005, Etsy is an online marketplace made specifically for sellers and buyers who are into making and purchasing handmade items, artisanal goods, or creative crafts.

Selling on Etsy vs eBay

While Etsy is a smaller platform compared to eBay, it is still home to around 96 million active buyers from all over the globe.

Also, Etsy has been found to be the 4th fastest growing eCommerce platform in 2021.

Etsy Pros

  • Market your online store to a large audience
  • Offers built-in analytics
  • Easy to set up and maintain
  • Increased control over your storefront
  • Unlimited products and customized shipping

Etsy Cons

  • You are limited to selling handmade items, vintage goods, or craft supplies
  • High listing charges and transaction fees
  • Seller’s market can be quite saturated
  • Limited choices in terms of store design
  • No ownership for data collection

What is eBay? (Pros and Cons)

eBay traces its roots back to 1995. This massive marketplace boasts around 138 million active users in 2022, with a total of more than 1.5 billion active listings.

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Unlike Etsy that focuses on handmade crafts or vintage items, eBay allows merchants and eBay buyers to sell, trade, or purchase almost any product you can think.

It also allows the sale of mass-produced items and secondhand goods.

What sets eBay apart from other online marketplaces is its auction-style selling system, which allows buyers to outbid each other for an item.

eBay Pros:

  • Wider audience reach
  • Seller protection policy
  • Easy-to-use platform
  • List up to 150 products per month, free of charge
  • Open and transparent transactions

eBay Cons:

  • Sellers need to pay commission fees
  • Limited control over your product listings
  • Sellers will face significant competition
  • Pressure to offer fast or free shipping
  • You will often have to deal with bargain shoppers

Who Should Sell on Etsy?

Etsy is the better ecommerce platform for artists, creative merchants, or smaller businesses to sell handmade, artistic, or vintage craft items.

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To succeed on Etsy, you would need to have a unique voice, an effective marketing plan, and a complete approach towards creating and managing your online store.

Who Should Sell on eBay?

eBay, on the other hand, is the better online marketplace for professional sellers and retailers who want to sell practically anything.

The eBay marketplace lets you use auctions and reach a wider global audience.

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If you prefer to sell on eBay, be prepared to manage eBay fees and meet fairly high competition.

Products Not Allowed On Etsy

To keep your Etsy seller account from getting banned, make sure not to sell the following items in your store:

  • Alcohol, tobacco, drugs, drug paraphernalia
  • Animal products, human remains
  • Hazardous materials, recalled items
  • Weapons
  • Items that promote hatred, violence, or illegal activity
  • Highly regulated and internationally regulated items
  • Pornography

Products Not Allowed On eBay

Just like Etsy, eBay also has a list of prohibited sale items, which is more comprehensive:

  • Adult items
  • Alcohol
  • Animals, wildlife products
  • Artifacts, cultural heritage, grave-related items
  • Autographed items
  • Catalytic converter, test pipes
  • Coupons
  • Credit/debit cards
  • Digitally delivered goods
  • Drugs, drug paraphernalia
  • Electrical and electronic equipment
  • Event tickets
  • Embargoed goods, internationally regulated items
  • Items that encourage illegal activity
  • Weapons
  • Food
  • Gift cards
  • Government documents, IDs, licenses
  • Hazardous, restricted, regulated materials
  • Human remains, body parts
  • Lock-picking devices
  • Mailing lists, personal information
  • Medical drugs, devices, healthcare
  • Personal relationships and services
  • Police-related items
  • Real estate
  • Product safety
  • Slot machines
  • Illegal art
  • Stamps, currency, coins
  • Stocks and other securities
  • Stolen property
  • Travel packages
  • Used cosmetics
  • Used clothing

Selling on Etsy vs eBay – Key Differences

Etsy and eBay are both excellent marketplaces that could take your online store to greater heights – but they do have some notable differences that you should know about.

As you read on, I’ll be comparing both these platforms based on the following factors:

  • Product types
  • Customer base
  • Ease of selling
  • Selling fees
  • Shipping
  • Selling tools
  • Customer support

#1 Product Types

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As a seller, you need to know what kind of products are mostly bought by customers in the marketplace you will be entering.

Make sure that your goods would also meet the platform’s requirements to become a successful Etsy seller or eBay seller!

What To Sell On Etsy?

As mentioned earlier, Etsy is the ideal platform if you sell one-of-a-kind, unique, or handcrafted products.

It appeals to a specific group of people who are more likely to own and collect handmade crafts and artistic goods.

Etsy’s top-selling items right now are stickers, notebooks, journals, jewelry, home decor, posters, vintage items, bags, papercraft, candles, and phone cases.

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What To Sell On eBay?

eBay is more versatile when it comes to product scope.

This online marketplace allows the sale and trade of brand new, used, old, wholesale, refurbished, vintage, handmade, or mass-produced products.

Some of the best-selling products on eBay right now are mobile phones, video games, health and beauty products, computers, tablets, home and garden items, clothing, and crafts.

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Verdict

You are better off setting up your store on Etsy if you sell handcrafted items, artistic goods, or unique decorations. But if you are a retailer who prefers to sell electronics, clothing, or mass-produced items, eBay is the way to go.

#2 Customer Base

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To make it big as an online seller, you need to know who your customers are and what they expect from your shop. Buyers from Etsy and eBay have been found to exhibit differences in purchasing behavior – and you should make this work to your advantage.

Etsy Customer Base

Home to around 96.3 million active buyers, Etsy has a smaller customer base compared to eBay’s 138 million.

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But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

If you are targeting USA-based customers, Etsy is a good platform to start selling your handmade items.

Majority of Etsy’s customers come from the USA and only 34% of purchases come from outside the US.

Also, if your plan is to establish a loyal customer following, Etsy looks like the right place to start.

According to Chad Dickerson, former Etsy CEO, 91% of Etsy’s sales were from repeat purchases made by new, retained, and reactivated customers.

eBay Customer Base

With over 138 million active users, eBay is one of the largest online marketplaces in the USA.

More than 70% of its customers are from America, while customers from other countries (China, Canada, Russia, UK) account for very small percentages.

Customers on eBay are mostly on the lookout for general products that may be purchased at reasonable prices compared to other marketplaces.

Most eBay sellers sell new, mass-produced products, but this platform is also a good place to set up shop if you sell used items.

According to eBay USA statistics, 56.3% of new items listed sell while 39.8% of used items sell. Internationally, more than half of the used items listed sell, while only 33% of new items listed sell.

Verdict

You will most likely find more buyers on Etsy if your unique product targets a really narrow niche. But if you are planning to sell in bigger market niches, eBay is probably a better choice.

#3 Ease Of Use

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Both Etsy and eBay are fairly easy to use, and are generally app- and mobile-friendly. But they do have some differences if we talk about the user experience.

Selling On Etsy

Creating a seller account on Etsy is a fairly simple process.

After naming your Etsy shop and uploading a couple of your products, Etsy guides you through a step-by-step process that involves adding your product descriptions, images, shipping, billing information, and security features.

New sellers can interact with other Etsy sellers in forums.

word image 48930 12 Etsy also features a Seller Handbook, which contains all the essential information on managing your Etsy store.

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Etsy sellers may use built-in analytical tools to track store visitors and sales numbers.

These are especially helpful in understanding how customers respond to your products, marketing campaigns, promotions, etc.

Selling On eBay

Setting up your eBay shop is also pretty straightforward.

With Etsy, you had to fill in all your account information before you get to list your products. But with eBay, a working email address is all you need to get the ball rolling.

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eBay even allows new sellers to create accounts via Google, Facebook, or Apple. After creating a seller account, just add your payment method and your online store is ready to roll.

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What I loved about eBay is that you can search for similar products to use as a reference point for your own product listing.

By doing so, you don’t have to spend extra time filling out information, such as size, color, etc.

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Verdict

Creating a seller account on Etsy and eBay was as easy as can be. Both offer step-by-step guides that are easy to understand. As long as you carefully go through the steps, you’ll have your online shop running in no time.

#4 Selling Fees

eBay may look appealing to new sellers because it offers up to 250 free listings. However, Etsy’s fees are more predictable and better defined. Let’s take a closer look at these marketplaces’ selling fees below.

Etsy Fees

Etsy fees are quite easier to understand compared to eBay fees. There’s no monthly or annual plan needed for you to sell on this platform.

However, Etsy store owners need to pay 3 seller fees, which are enumerated below:

  1. Listing fee – Publishing a listing on Etsy will cost you $0.20, whether your item sells or not. Listing fees expire after 4 months.
  2. Transaction fee – Each item you sell (including the shipping price you set) gets charged a 6.5% transaction fee.
  3. Payment processing fee – Payment processing fees depend on the country you are in. For US- and Australia-based Etsy stores, you get charged 3% + $0.25 for every transaction.

Etsy also has fees for creating ads. Etsy ads display your brand advertisements across the platform.

The default daily budget for running an etsy advertisement is $1. Every time the ad gets clicked, the seller gets charged.

Etsy also has an offsite ad campaign that allows your Etsy ads to be displayed on different social media channels and search engines, such as Google, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Bing.

eBay Fees

Unlike on Etsy, eBay requires sellers to pay a monthly or yearly fee to get started. This fee can be paid on a regular basis or in one-time purchases.

Paid monthly, eBay store subscription plans will cost:

  • $19.95 for the Basic Plan
  • $59.95 for the Premium Plan
  • $299.95 for the Anchor Plan

Paid yearly, eBay store subscription plans will cost:

  • $24.95 for the Basic Plan
  • $74.95 for the Premium Plan
  • $349.95 for the Anchor Plan

These are the eBay fees you need to know about:

  1. Insertion fee – New sellers can publish up to 250 listings each month, free of charge. Once you exceed that figure, you will start getting charged $0.35 per listing (for most categories)
  2. Final value fee – Final value fees are also referred to as “selling fees”. Every time your product sells, you will be charged a percentage of the item’s total sale price. For most categories, the final value fee is usually 12.55% or lower, plus an additional $0.30 transaction fee.
  3. Listing upgrades – You can make your listing stand out by adding certain features, such as subtitles, bold font, or international site visibility. These fees can range from $0.01 to $50 or more.

In terms of advertising fees, eBay sellers can set the ads rate based on a percentage of the product’s price. This way, the seller instantly knows how much it will cost to market their product.

Also, the eBay ad rate only gets charged when a shopper clicks on the sponsored listing and purchases it within 30 days.

Verdict

With Etsy, you get a straightforward list of fees and a clear pricing plan for publishing your listings. But when it comes to advertising fees, eBay looks more equipped to help store owners propel business growth.

#5 Shipping

Comparing Etsy vs eBay, both these online commerce platforms seem to prioritize making shipping easy for store owners.

They both offer convenient shipping tools that make managing shipments an easy-peasy task.

Etsy Shipping Calculator

Shipping with Etsy is as easy as can be.

It’s also much cheaper compared to shipping directly with traditional carriers since Etsy offers discountage postage labels (for carriers like USPS, FedEx, and Canada Post).

Etsy also comes with its own suite of tools and features that help sellers calculate shipping costs and postage.

Shipment tracking features allow you to create, edit, and bulk-edit delivery profiles to automate the shipping process.

You also get handy assistance with customs forms, making cross-border shipments a fuss-free task.

eBay Shipping Calculator

If you sell on eBay, there may be some pressure on you to provide free shipping for your items. This will be your own expense, so you will probably have to adjust your listing’s price accordingly.

The good news is that postage for multiple product purchases is free of charge.

eBay comes with a useful shipping tools to make the process much easier. It offers shipping labels that sellers can print at home.

You also get a shipping calculator to give you an estimate on delivery costs among different couriers.

eBay sellers can also give their customers delivery discounts, free shipping offers, or flat rate shipping fees.

Verdict

Both Etsy and eBay come with practical tools and resources that help sellers manage shipping with ease.

#6 Selling Tools

Etsy and eBay have different ecommerce tools that merchants can use for growing their online store. Let’s have a quick look at what both marketplaces have to offer.

Etsy Seller Tools

Etsy takes on a simplistic approach in helping store owners expand their business. You really don’t need any comprehensive ecommerce know-how to set up your store on this platform.

New sellers can interact with other Etsy sellers in forums.

Through the Etsy Community Forums, you get to share tips, tricks, advice, and feedback with other sellers.

This is also the place where sellers get to support each other with friendly critiques or suggestions.

word image 48930 17 Etsy also features a Digital Seller Handbook, which contains all the essential information on managing your Etsy store.

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The Etsy App helps sellers easily manage their business while they are on the go.

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Etsy sellers may also use built-in analytical tools to track store visitors and sales numbers.

These are especially helpful in understanding how customers respond to your products, marketing campaigns, promotions, etc.

eBay Seller Tools

To help eBay sellers scale up and thrive in the platform, eBay offers a variety of professional tools:

Seller Hub – a free tool that allows sellers to streamline their business operations

Selling Templates – reusable templates for quickly creating top quality listings

The eBay App – allows sellers to easily utilize eBay’s tools on the go

Sales Reports – free reports that allow sellers to understand the main driving factors for sales and make better business decisions

File Exchange – allows sellers to list multiple items through a single Excel sheet file, MS Access, or inventory management software.

Promotions Manager – helps sellers create promotions for targeting potential customers

Verdict

While Etsy’s selling tools are easy and simple, eBay’s comprehensive range of professional seller tools enables experienced sellers to further fine-tune their business operations.

#7 Customer Support

There will be times when you will be needing help with your online selling operations.

Luckily, both Etsy and eBay feature help center pages that can help you out with your business concerns or dilemmas.

Etsy Customer Support

Etsy has a seller support center, which generally covers issues, such as order handling, business management, FAQs on Etsy payments, or listing tool inquiries.

While its support center features well-defined customer support channels, there are users who reported that it took quite a long time before they got a reply to their questions.

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eBay Customer Support

Just like Etsy, eBay also features a comprehensive help center, which covers inquiries on seller fees, listing creation, refunds, shipping, seller tools, performance factors, and more.

Getting in touch with eBay customer support is also simple since they provide a variety of communication options, such as email, phone, live chat, and social media.

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Verdict

Both ecommerce platforms feature robust help centers that offer learning materials for sellers and shoppers. However, Etsy users have reported instances where they had issues ending support cases.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

Who shoulders shipping fees on Etsy?

In most cases, Etsy buyers pay for shipping, since shipping costs are added to the product’s price. Also, most Etsy stores charge a separate shipping fee on top of the product’s price.

Is there a way to lower my Etsy fees?

There are a variety of ways to bring down Etsy fees. However, keep in mind that you cannot ultimately avoid paying Etsy fees. Doing so can suspend or ban your online store.

You may lower your Etsy fees by creating bundle listings, using variations, limiting unique items, reducing listings, or bringing down shipping fees – just to name a few.

Does eBay take a percentage of shipping costs?

No, eBay doesn’t charge any fees related to purchasing postage from them. If sellers offer free shipping, then the fee is zero.

Does eBay always take 10%?

eBay takes a percentage of almost all sales transactions, ranging from 1.5% to 15%. In fact, eBay’s final value fees are usually the largest cost for sellers. This is a percentage of the actual amount charged to a customer (including the item price, shipping cost, and any sales tax).

Final Thoughts

Etsy vs eBay: Who wins this battle when selling online?

To be honest, both ecommerce platforms are pretty impressive when it comes to growing your online business.

Given its massive reach and diverse inventory, eBay can easily meet the growing business needs of any seller.

However, if your business focuses on handcrafted, unique products, you’ll feel right at home with Etsy.

If you are planning on buying products on Amazon and reselling them on eBay, check out my awesome seller guide that covers Amazon to eBay arbitrage!

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