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Lockdown entrepreneurs drive a 335% increase businesses joining eBay in the UK

eBay: seeing a surge in new business as people turn to ecommerce

New data from eBay UK reveals June saw the biggest year-on-year spike in new businesses joining the platform, up 335%, as the trend of setting up a lockdown start-up became more mainstream. 

The number of new start-ups joining eBay UK grew consistently each month during lockdown, with the number of new businesses joining the platform in June almost 40% greater than in April when the impact of lockdown was first felt.

Despite the recent easing of lockdown in the UK, the data highlights a new trend – “the rise of the lockdown start-up” – with many people using the increase in downtime and being furloughed from their usual employment to create new business ventures or to turn their side hustles into full-time jobs.

Over the course of lockdown, eBay UK experienced a 256% rise in the number of new eBay start-ups compared with the same period last year.

Henry Cawley, 23 from Norfolk, started his business UK Components on eBay in lockdown, while his university degree was on hold, He says: “In March my university life was put on pause because of Coronavirus. I had so much more free time, which helped me focus on developing my business idea. Three months ago, in the height of the pandemic, I took the plunge and opened an eBay business. That decision has massively paid off! I sell components for 3D printers and every month my sales are growing between 40-50%, and there’s no sign of it slowing down any time soon. For a young entrepreneur like me, eBay has been the perfect place to start my business, allowing me to reach millions of customers in such a short space of time without needing to invest in a website or store. When I do go back to Uni in September, I plan to keep selling on eBay to fund my schooling and make this my full-time job after graduation.”

Claire Parkes, from Wolverhampton, was part of the team which started Blue Sky Cosmetics in lockdown, she says: “Our plans to launch Pop-up stores to sell our Gel Polish were paused when the UK went into lockdown, so we quickly realised that setting up an online avenue for our business would be our only option. There was huge demand for home manicure sets, providing us with a perfect opportunity. But we needed to get our products to market swiftly. We started small by listing only a few products but have rapidly expanded the range that is available on the platform. The reaction has been great, with sales booming, so we plan on keeping the momentum up whatever life after the pandemic brings!”

Steve Capon, 52 from Brighton, launched his product Matey Measure on eBay during lockdown, he says: “I’m a builder of over 30 years, but in lockdown I started up an eBay business to sell my new invention – a special tape measure aid – inspired by my day to day job. I set up Matey Measure on eBay and suddenly my products were flying off the shelves with customers leaving really positive reviews. I used eBay as the primary place to sell my product to make it easy and simple for customers to purchase wherever they are. I’m now getting interest from international buyers and have sold Matey Measure in countries like USA, Japan, New Zealand and Australia! It’s been so successful that I’m considering giving up my job to focus my efforts solely on my business and inventions.”

The data also uncovers the areas across the UK with the greatest entrepreneurial spirit during lockdown, with seven out of ten of the locations for the most eBay businesses created in London: 

  1. City of London and Westminster – 3,346
  2. Islington South – 1,002
  3. Central Manchester– 949
  4. Holborn and St Pancras – 929
  5. South Aberdeen– 893
  6. Poplar and Limehouse – 847
  7. Ladywood, Birmingham – 638
  8. Bethnal Green and Bow – 635
  9. Bermondsey and Old Southwark – 619
  10. Vauxhall – 580

Rob Hattrell, VP of eBay UK comments: “The boom in new businesses joining eBay in lockdown proves that when faced with a crisis, Brits see opportunity. The UK is a nation of entrepreneurs and this data shows that a global pandemic hasn’t dampened that spirit, but instead has spawned the rise of ‘the lockdown start-up’. I’m thrilled to see so many small businesses, start-ups and even side-hustlers take to eBay to sell, grow and even export internationally during this challenging time.”

The most popular product categories for new lockdown start-ups reflected overall consumer spending trends during the period, including a rise the number of Brits cycling, getting in shape, and taking on home DIY projects as well as recreating spa and salon experiences from home.

  1. Men’s Clothing
  2. Women’s Clothing
  3. Speciality Fashion
  4. Cycling
  5. Cars & Parts
  6. Mobile Phone Accessories
  7. Fitness, Running & Yoga
  8. Swimming Pools & Hot Tubs
  9. DIY Materials
  10. Facial Skin Care


The data comes as eBay UK announces the launch of its fourth annual nationwide eBay for Business Awards. The competition aims to find and celebrate the most successful, innovative, and inspiring entrepreneurs from the platform’s 300,000-strong community of small businesses. 10 winners will be selected, and entrants will have the opportunity to win up to £20,000.  

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