The Haves & The Have Not (Yet)s Of EBay

Recently eBay released this infographic based on information gathered by Hunch, a recent eBay acquisition, on “the core differences between people who have bought or sold something on eBay vs. those who haven’t yet.” The data is then split between those ho Have Used eBay and the eternally optimistic those who Haven’t Yet Used eBay.

Click To Enlarge Infographic

Aside from the marketing insight, I thought this would be worth noting here as the Haven’t Yet Used eBay people in this survey are 35% more likely to be female.

There are some interesting things to note — but what would be far more compelling, not to mention useful, would be to include information about shopping online in general (the Haven’t Yet Used eBay folks may just not shop online). But if they use Amazon, Etsy, TIAS, or other shopping sites or marketplaces that would say something else entirely. Perhaps the “non competitive” stance in the survey means those who Haven’t Yet Used eBay don’t like auction formats? (This is reinforced by the response of “31% more likely to never have attended a live auction.”) So why not take a look at less competitive purchasing environments?

What is most interesting, however, is that this data seems to confirm that those most likely to use eBay are those seeking unique items, such as antiques and vintage collectibles — while those who have not seem to be more likely to shop Walmart for a perceived “deal”. Why then would eBay continue to shift away from its target market and court sellers of last year’s navy blue sweaters, etc., when those shoppers clearly are not using eBay?

In many ways, the not yet used seem much more like a demographic stereotype of young women: single, shopping for clothing in bulk, but at low prices, (not investing in wardrobes), and who consider shopping a social experience, (eBay does not yet have a “lunch with the girls” option).

However, based on a few references to older musicians, the Today Show reference, etc., this group also indicates a more mature woman who was older at the advent of the Internet, has kept herself busy without it while raising children, etc., and now finds herself behind the technology curve — or just continuing happily without it.

In any case, I am reminded of a Dan Hess quote:

Retailers turn a profit by bringing in new merchandise and pushing self-purchase categories like lingerie, shoes and denim. Retailing is an event-oriented business. Look at any national holiday, retailers seize on it and find a way to market heavily and drive traffic.

No matter how you slice the Haven’t Yet Used eBay pie, you just can’t help but see that some sort of social event aspect is needed for eBay to make the “yet” in Haven’t Yet Used eBay more than a positive attitude.

This isn’t a new idea. Even though Buddy Shopping has come and gone, other social shopping sites continue to try. Usually these are communities devoted to a specific fashion passion, but there are sites like Kaboodle and ShopSquad which offer social connection with a bit of consumer reports — and sometimes a sale commission via affiliate programs. But I don’t see these things impacting eBay. This site has long a disconnection from any social connection. (I think they still require a separate login for the forums? …Can’t say for sure as I gave up on that long ago.)

Maybe I’m not the one to best address how to integrate a social component or event excitement at eBay… I’m on the Have Used eBay side of this infographic and, despite my criticisms, I continue to use the site as a buyer and a seller. Maybe they need to put in an Orange Julius.

Or maybe they should stop chasing the “Yet” and focus more on those of us who are there. Because they certainly have not been doing that.

Related: Read my other thoughts on eBay in this post at my other site: 2011: The Year In Antiques & Collectibles.

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