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eBay grows as retailers struggle

By Aimee Chanthadavong


It seems that brick and mortar retailers’ worst nightmare of seeing a growing number of customers buying online is becoming more apparent after the world’s largest online retailer reported another strong quarter.

eBay said its fourth quarter ended 31 December increased 5 per cent to US$2.5 billion, which contributed to a full year revenue of US$9.2 billion.

Speaking to Retailbiz, Daniel Feiler, eBay Australia spokesperson, said it’s clear that there’s a customer shift from traditional shopping to online.

“More and more people are shopping online and while online shopping makes up only 3 to 5 per cent of total retail sales its growing fast,” he said.

“It’s clear there are online retailers that are tapping into this trend, whether they’re based overseas and locally, and are benefiting from that.. Australian-based sellers who do pay GST are growing 10 times faster than normal retailers and that’s because they’re competing online and they’re taking advantage of this trend of online shopping.”


President and CEO John Donahoe said in a statement that the positive results were driven by “customer focus, commitment to technology-led innovation and our operating discipline, which is enabling us to reinvest in growth”.

This is expected to put added pressure on retailers such as Harvey Norman, Myer and David Jones, which are leading a GST campaign to eliminate the $1000 tax-free threshold on internationally bought products.

  • James Morland

    Retailers such as Harvey Norman, David Jones, Myer etc need to be far less greedy and then they will get more people to come back to local shopping. They have to meet the market. Changing the rules to suit themselves and their greed will not change the exodus of shoppers to the international market via Ebay, etc.

    I can buy dog products for a third of what I have to pay locally. I paid $18 for a flea/tick disc from an overseas retailer why should I pay $69 for the same item locally. Greed and monopoly tactics are the name of the game for our local stores.

  • Simon Hoogendoorn

    The Internet is the closest thing we have to a level playing field where anyone can sell anything. This gives us fair competition between small retailers and the big guns. The only gripe that retailers such as Harvey Norman have is that they can’t transfer their monopolisation from the brick and mortar world into the digital one, so they whine like little kids who have to now share their toys.

  • Nancy Lawson

    Lets take a look at greedy landlords! rather than “greedy” retailers! . To pay the rent req is the hidden cost shoppers never recognise, I would love the media to take up that one instead of labelling all retailers this way, small retailers pay the highest rents by far!


    It is unfair to target all retailers as ‘greedy’. To run a retail outlet is not as easy and profitable as many people seem to think. Generally, anywhere between 35% and 50% of of the retail price of an item is what it costs to run a retail outlet. An item that costs the retailer $5 might be retailed at $10. Excessive you may think but no. $0.91 has to be administered back to the Govt as GST leaving the retailer a margin of $4.10. Rent, wages (nights and weekend penalty rates possibly) plus all the other expenses in running a retail outlet can take care of most or all of the $4.10. Next time you are shopping at a retailer take a moment to think about what goes into providing that service and what you might do if it disappears. Where will you get your information to make an informed choice on your next purchase?

  • John

    The coming retail storm will change much, with goods bought on the Internet at 5% to 50% of what might be paid in the store; the rate of fundamental change is quickening., If you are in a high fixed overhead business, playing the I am at a “one-man-welfare-state-game” employing staff, or a shopping centre management team (no descriptions required), consider a home based online business: where you are either making a profit; or not making a loss.???.