Demand for Marketplace Apps Like eBay and OfferUp is Down Double-Digits

Ariel Ariel
May. 24

This is a single insight from This Week in Apps - Faaaaast. Check out the full article for more insights.

I'm old enough to remember the early days of eBay. Everyone was bidding on everything, and it was all very exciting. I was too young to bid back then, but it seemed like the marketplace for anything.

For years, eBay thrived, especially before online shopping (and eventually mobile shopping) really took off. Lately, it hasn't.

The online garage sale platform turned into a simple buy/sell marketplace that lost its uniqueness and was now competing with every other commerce platform, and the downloads show a trend that's not great for eBay and marketplaces like it.

According to our estimates, demand for eBay and OfferUp, a similar app launched back in 2011, are down significantly - 30% and 54%, respectively, since 2017, a year after Facebook opened its own marketplace.

Back in Q1 of 2017, eBay saw its app downloaded into 10M new devices, according to our estimates. In Q1 of 2024, that number dropped to 7M. Rival OfferUp went from 5M to just 2M in the same period.

The journey down was slow but pretty consistent...

You might think downloads dropped across the board and this is just normal, but that can't be true because while eBay and OfferUp were losing millions of new shoppers, fast fashion app SHEIN grew its downloads from 2M in Q1 of 2017 to 49M in Q1 of 2024!

Yes, SHEIN is not the same kind of a platform, but that's my point. Shopping became so much easier, and with to apps like SHEIN and Temu, much cheaper, making buy/sell platforms like eBay not as necessary.

I think eBay's strategy is also to blame for the drop in demand, as is the existence of Facebook's marketplace, but that's just my opinion. The real question is whether this is a trend these marketplaces can recover from, and the answer is probably not. It'd require too big of a shift in strategy and would require changing the platform massively. I just don't see eBay doing that.

There is one platform that didn't exactly disappear and that's Poshmark, which is a buy/sell marketplace focused on clothes. According to our estimate, its downloads didn't drop massively. They even rose a touch, 10% since 2017, but that's not enough to write home about.

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All figures included in this report are estimated. Unless specified otherwise, estimated revenue is always net, meaning it's the amount the developer earned after Apple and Google took their fee.

Tagged: #shopping

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