On the up 16 May 2018

Who wants to be an eBay millionaire?

The UK has recorded more than 1000 ‘eBay millionaires’ to date.
The UK has recorded more than 1000 ‘eBay millionaires’ to date.

Over the past year, 300 new eBay millionaires have surfaced amid intense competition and growing customer expectations in the UK. We find out who these millionaires are and how they beat out the competition in ecommerce.

In the last 12 months, the number of eBay millionaires in the UK has shot up by 50 percent year-on-year. These self-made millionaires are defined as a British registered business on eBay.co.uk with an annual turnover of £1 million or more.

These small businesses have taken their products to over 23 million customers a week just by virtue of being on eBay’s platform.

“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,” Rob Hattrell, VP of eBay in the UK said.

“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,” he added. “It’s this success that really motivates us as a business.”

Step aside, Londoners

The greatest volume of eBay UK millionaires per capita aren’t based in the capital. Most are in the midlands and up north, concentrated in Manchester, Birmingham and West Yorkshire. According to research from eBay, Greater Manchester has a higher concentration of small online businesses than anywhere else in the UK, and the sheer number of eBay millionaires in this region suggests that many are thriving.

Home, furniture and DIY: Compare the Bathroom

Home, furniture and DIY businesses have surged on eBay over the past year, with most new millionaires running businesses in these categories, fuelled 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.

Compare the Bathroom 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.

“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,” Ken Dawson, co-founder of Compare the Bathroom, said.

“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.”

The company is seeing a lot of consumer trends take form based on shopping behaviours, according to Dawson. More customers opt for showers over baths as changing lifestyles mean people are living faster-paced lives in smaller spaces, he said.

“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.”

Pet supplies: Great ex-PET-tations

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 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.

“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,” Amos said.

“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 et cetera built in for ease of use.”

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