Sustainability is the top motivation of eBay European small businesses for selling non-new products

November 19, 2021

On 8 November, eBay launched its new report eBay and the Circular Economy, based on relevant data gathered from a survey of European small businesses (SMEs) that sell their products on our online marketplace. The survey showed that 78 percent of EU SMEs had sold non-new items, with second-hand and refurbished products representing 52 percent of their sales. Furthermore, results highlight sustainability as the top motivation for eBay sellers of non-new items, supporting our prioritization of sustainable selling and shopping.

However, we all need to keep working to make circularity a reality. During an eBay-sponsored virtual event on Circular Economy hosted by POLITICO Europe, sellers emphasized that to repair or refurbish a product is, in many cases, more expensive and difficult than to buy a brand new one. Paul Jonas, co-founder and CEO of Revive — which sells second-hand furniture and bikes on eBay — asked that manufacturers offer spare parts at reasonable market prices, and supported the adoption of “right to repair” rules in European legislation.

Rozalina Petrova, cabinet member of Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius, responsible for the implementation of the Circular Economy Action Plan in the EU, took note of the seller’s suggestions for the Commission’s future initiatives, and added that it is also key for companies to make high-quality and reparable first-hand goods. She said the Sustainable Products Initiative — which the Commission is expected to present early next year — will “provide the basis for prolonging the life of goods”, while the legislative proposal on the right to repair is expected in the third quarter of 2022.

As eBay President and CEO Jamie Iannone said in his opening remarks for the event, there is a great chance of increasing circular trade by achieving a stable and protective legal framework for European small businesses, but also greater trust by consumers in these new shopping options.