EBay is top dog in UK

25 Apr 2003

Online auction site eBay, which this week posted record profits and revenues, has overtaken Amazon as the No. 1 e-commerce site in the UK for the first time, according to Nielsen NetRatings.

Figures released by the online research group this week show that the website has been rapidly building traffic in the last year. Since March 2002, the site has increased its audience by 160pc to 6.8 million Britons. In the same period, Amazon’s audience has grown by 28pc to 6.1 million people. The growth in the internet overall during that time was only 7pc.

In March 2003, visitors to eBay spent on average one hour and eleven minutes on the site. This is one of the longest periods of time spent on any UK site, and underlines how the eBay platform works, as visitors return to the site to check the status of items they are selling or bidding for.

This is also reflected in the number of pages viewed per person, per month. Over a billion pages were viewed on eBay sites in the UK in March 2003, making it one of the few websites anywhere to reach a billion page views in a month.

Tim Roe, senior international analyst at Nielsen NetRatings, said: “This is a very important development as the performance of the e-commerce category is one of the key indicators of the health of the internet in general. The growth of eBay and Amazon, as two of the most profitable and successful players in this sector, is a significant sign of the potential of using the internet to reach and sell to consumers.”

No such comparable data is available for the Irish market as Nielsen/NetRatings closed its Irish office last year.

Earlier this week eBay’s first quarter results showed that profits and revenues have doubled in the last year. The company earned US$104m during the first three months of the year, up from US$48m a year earlier.

Revenues were US$477m, well above the company’s own forecasts. Ebay’s international operations, which includes sites in UK, Germany and South Korea, made a substantial contribution to revenue growth.

“We are now more confident than ever in eBay’s long-term potential across every facet of our business,” Meg Whitman, eBay’s president and chief executive, said in a statement, adding that cars, computers and technology had been particularly successful areas of trading activity.

By Brian Skelly