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Ebay launches new features, looks back on 18 years in Australia

Ebay Australia has announced two new product innovations and released new research from 18 years of doing business Down Under, shoring up its position ahead of the launch of Amazon Marketplace, which is reportedly mere weeks away.

The marketplace yesterday launched ‘Image Search’, a new tool that lets shoppers search Ebay’s 1.1 billion items using pictures rather than words.

Consumers can now take a photo or use an existing photo from their camera roll, enter it into the search bar on Ebay, then browse the listings that Ebay has surfaced, which are a close match or visually similar.

Similarly, ‘Find it on Ebay’ allows shoppers to share images from social sites like Facebook or their favourite blog or website with the Ebay app to find visually similar products.

“Gone are the days of spending hours scouring the web or trying to find the right keyword for a product you saw,” said Ebay Australia’s managing director, Tim MacKinnon.

“By applying artificial intelligence and machine learning technology, we are able to make it easy to check Ebay for anything, extending the convenience of the marketplace and aligning the retail experience with the way consumers want to shop,” he said.

The marketplace has also introduced Ebay Guaranteed Delivery to meet the increasing demand for faster shipping and protect both buyers and sellers. The company said its tracking data shows 21 per cent of Australian sales ship within two days.

Ebay has recently ramped up efforts to provide a more consistent delivery experience for buyers, a particular challenge since its thousands of sellers may partner with a wide variety of couriers.

In June, MacKinnon announced a partnership with ParcelPoint, which lets buyers return any item by dropping it off at convenience store or other ParcelPoint location.

Recent research released by the marketplace shows that choice and availability are the most important factors to the Australian online shopping experience (63 per cent).

Some 72 per cent of Australians also agreed that personal interaction with a small business owner, either in-store or online, is important to them.

“Small businesses are what add the colour to our vibrant marketplace community. Australians shop with Ebay because they know they are getting the widest range and availability, teamed with the uniqueness of what many small businesses offer,” MacKinnon said.

“We are excited to celebrate our 18th year in Australia by taking a moment to reflect on how Ebay has grown to reflect the Australian retail fabric. And there’s no slowing from here, as we continue to innovate on our own platform to remain the leading online retail choice for Australian sellers and buyers,” he said.

18 years of Ebay in Australia

Founded in 1999, the marketplace has evolved from an online auction house to a retail power house with 80 of Australia’s top 100 online retailers selling on the site and over 11 million unique Aussie visitors every month.

Over the past 18 years, more than 228,000 years’ worth of browsing time has been spent on the Australian site. Today, seventy per cent of visitors come to the site via their mobile phones and 90 per cent of products sold are brand new.

Ebay Australia’s managing director, Tim MacKinnon, said the company’s success is due to the power of its unique community.

“The power of the marketplace is indisputable, offering unrivalled range and convenience. Ebay landing on Australian shores almost two decades ago meant we were no longer bound by geography,” he said.

“We could trust someone at the other side of the country or the world to send us a package we had paid for. This was a huge leap at the time, but something we now take for granted.”

Continuing the contrast between then and now, Ebay said Australia shoppers spent over 1 million hours on the site in its first full year of operation Down Under, which exceeded expectations at the time.

But in 2017 alone, shoppers spent more than 239 million hours browsing, search, comparing and purchasing products on Ebay Australia.

MacKinnon said the growth can be directly attributed to smartphone uptake in the market, with Australia having the second highest smart phone penetration per capita globally.

“Australia leads the way when it comes to mobile shopping. It has been incredible to watch mobile traffic grow from 8 per cent in 2010 to the 70 per cent it is today,” he said.

“Ebay has always been in the game of not only predicting but creating the future of shopping. We saw the mobile trend early and invested ahead of the curve. Our app was one of the first shopping apps in the Apple store in 2008 and remains the most downloaded shopping app in Australia today,” he added.


18 Things about

1. The first item sold on was a Harman Kardon amplifier

2. There are 2923 Australian businesses that have made more than $1 million in sales on

3. Australian coins have been the most popular collectable item over the past 18 years

4. In 2006 someone tried to sell New Zealand for 1 cent

5. One of the most expensive items ever sold on was a successful Fish and Chip store based in Gladstone which sold for $110,000

6. Over the past 18 years, 2 billion hours have been spent on, which would equate to 228,000 years for one Aussie shopper

7. In 2014 the last Ford GTF to roll off the production line was sold for $394,000 to raise money for the National Breast Cancer Foundation

8. Nearly 90 per cent of Australian SMBs on ebay export globally (compared to 5 per cent of all Australian registered businesses)

9. In 2012, The Wiggles sold their Big Red Car on for $35,700 raising money for SIDS for kids

10. A few years ago a Perth man sold his whole life (worldly possessions) including his car, his motorbike and his house

11. In 2016, bidders fought it out for the Kings Cross Coca-Cola sign. The lowercase ‘C’ in the word ‘Coca,’ sold for $18,700. The total money donated to Wayside Chapel by Coke and Ebay was $100,700

12. The good folks of Toowoomba have consistently been some of the most active Ebay users in Australia over the past 18 years. Good on ‘em!

13. One lucky fella was paid $17,000 for a patch of dirt from which Jon Aloissi kicked the world cup qualifying goal

14. In 2010 Powderfinger gave a mid-air performance after their sunset farewell tour sold out immediately raising over $100,000 for charity

15. NSW is the most patriotic state, with 30 per cent of buyers in the state purchasing local Australian products, followed by Victoria (25 per cent) and Queensland (21 per cent)

16. In 2016, Click and Collect grew dramatically with 800,000 sellers offering more than 4 million items

17. Victoria and ACT are the biggest night owls staying up even later to shop than the rest of the nation and doing the majority of their shopping between 8pm – 10pm

18. Between midnight and 1am, ‘Magic: The Gathering’ cards are the highest selling item

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