Deciding Between Etsy vs eBay for Your Ecommerce Business: An In-Depth Comparison

As an online seller, choosing the right ecommerce marketplace to sell your products can have a tremendous impact on your sales and profit potential. This comprehensive guide compares key factors between the two dominant platforms – Etsy and eBay – to help you determine the best sales channel fitting your business needs and objectives.


Globally, Etsy and eBay make up over 60% market share for handmade goods and collectibles. Both platforms attract millions of buyers and enable independent artists, crafters and vintage sellers to market their unique products.

But with very distinct seller communities and policies around product mix, fees, customs, support and more, performing due diligence upfront is vital to maximize returns on time and money invested in either marketplace.

This article provides you detailed insights into the defining characteristics of both Etsy and eBay across eight key dimensions so you can weigh the pros and cons for your specific business context. Let‘s dive in!

History & Trajectory

PlatformFoundedOriginal PurposeGrowth & Direction
Etsy2005Marketplace for vintage, craft and handmade itemsExpanding product mix while retaining strict guidelines around manufacturing processes and origins
eBay1995Auction site for secondhand goodsContinues expanding into new product categories, third-party fulfillment while allowing more manufacturing

While both Etsy and eBay have evolved from their original vintage and collectible focus, Etsy remains committed to small-scale makers while eBay accommodates mass merchants. This diverging strategic direction informs many later policy and experience differences.

Fees & Pricing Models

As a seller, fees impact how much margin you retain from sales. Below compares Etsy and eBay‘s pricing models across listing types:

Fee TypeEtsyeBay
Insertion Fee$0.20 per listing$0.35 per fixed-price listing
$0.10 – $2.80 per auction listing
Final Value Fee5% of order total10% of order total (fixed-price)
5-20% of selling price (auction)

For context, a business selling $100K annually would pay ~$5.5K in Etsy fees versus $10-15K to eBay prior to advertising or shipping costs.

In essence, eBay insertion fees are lower but final value fees take a bigger bite. Auctions often achieve higher sales prices, so may offset the higher cut. Etsy‘s pricing stays consistent across listing formats.

Tip: Price items accordingly and determine what margins you require prior to choosing Etsy vs eBay.

Product Catalog Size & Summary

eBay dwarfs Etsy in total number of product listings available:

Key StatEtsyeBay
Total Listings~80 million~1.7 billion
CategoriesArt, Crafts, Jewelry, Clothing, Home & Living, Weddings, ToysAntiques, Art, Baby, Books, Business & Industrial, Clothing, Coins, Collectibles, Dolls & Bears, DVDs & Movies, eBay Motors, Electronics, Fashion, Health & Beauty, Home & Garden, Jewelry & Watches, Music, Musical Instruments, Pet Supplies, Pottery & Glass, Specialty Services, Sporting Goods, Stamps, Tickets, Toys, Travel, Video Games
Top SellingJewelry, Home Goods & WeddingElectronics, Motors, Fashion

The takeaway—eBay provides exponentially more product selection and diversity of categories. So if you sell a common manufactured product, eBay exposes your inventory to much heavier buyer traffic.

Meanwhile Etsy visitors intentionally seek handcrafted specialty items not readily available in big box ecommerce. So if you make unique, artisanal products, you‘ll attract targeted customers despite Etsy‘s smaller audience scale.

Target Audiences

There‘s a considerable demographic divide between Etsy vs eBay shoppers:

Gender87% women54% men 46% women
Age73% between ages 25-54Roughly equal distribution across age brackets 18-65+
Income60% > $50K householdAverage middle income
ValuesEnvironmentally-conscious, support small businessDeal-focused, convenience

In short—predominately female, millennial Etsy shoppers pay premium prices for specialty hand-crafted wares while the average eBay consumer of any age or gender seeks discounts on ordinary manufactured goods.

Align your products and brand ethos with the respective platform‘s patron demographic.

Customization & Brand Visibility

Etsy encourages sellers to express unique brand identities through customizable storefronts and creative liberty around photography styles, banner images, logos and color schemes.

Comparatively, eBay standardizes seller profiles. Custom HTML/CSS coding can modify descriptions but the surrounding layout remains uniform.

If showcasing your signature artisanal wares matters, Etsy empowers sellers to curate an elevated, custom-branded storefront experience. eBay simply facilitates sales.

Shipping Logistics

On eBay, merchants manage the entire shipping process from UPS rate quotes to label printing, package tracking and returns. eBay does provide discounted USPS commercial rates and integration with common carrier APIs to streamline operations.

Etsy takes more off sellers‘ plates by providing shipping labels along with discounted USPS rates. Sellers can choose to pass shipping fees to buyers or build into item pricing. Etsy handles returns too.

So eBay gives you more shipping carrier choices but also accountability. Etsy makes fulfillment simpler through integrated tools, albeit with only USPS as an option.

Support Community & Learning

63% of Etsy sellers say its forums and community resources helped them grow their business according to Etsy statistics. Experienced sellers freely share advice and best practices around photography, marketing, packaging, bookkeeping and more within the forums.

While eBay provides basic help documentation, sellers largely have to figure things out themselves or pay for guidance elsewhere. There are less peer-supported learning opportunities.

If you‘re an entrepreneur lacking ecommerce experience, Etsy‘s supportive community accelerates the learning curve considerably through open idea exchange.

Payment Processing

For simplicity, Etsy provides an integrated payment processing system called Etsy Payments allowing buyers to instantly checkout with credit cards, Etsy gift cards, bank transfers or PayPal without leaving Etsy‘s website.

eBay enables sellers to determine their preferred payment methods. The most commonly used processor is PayPal followed by credit/debit cards and mobile wallet services like Apple Pay.

Etsy Payments makes for smooth buying without declining cards. eBay forces buyers and sellers to handle payments externally. If you already have merchant services, this allows you to stick with your existing credit card processor.


While both platforms present lucrative sales opportunities, closely weighing factors like target audiences, product guidelines, customization options, integrated shipping and payments against your business model will determine whether eBay or Etsy (or even both) will be the most profitable channel.

With due diligence given to the unique pros and cons during launch and continual optimization after, artisans can thrive on Etsy while manufacturers maximize margins on eBay. Choose wisely and sell confidently!

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