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New Report Details how eBay is Empowering Women Through eCommerce

October 4, 2021

Supporting our vibrant, creative and compassionate community of sellers has always been a top eBay priority — now, more than ever. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic created massive challenges that continue to reverberate across American society and the world in an unprecedented fashion. Today, we published a new report revealing that selling on eBay, whether to run or build a small business, or just as an individual to earn extra income, proved helpful to women during the pandemic. It allowed women to earn income, support their family or small businesses, and work flexibly and safely from home at a time when many were burdened by increased household, childcare, and eldercare responsibilities.

While the pandemic impacted people across the U.S. from every walk of life and segment of society, from early on it became clear that women were disproportionately impacted economically and socially. A wide range of economic studies and reports confirm that working women suffered more direct negative economic impacts than men during the initial pandemic downturn and the months of disparate growth that followed. This was due in part to the fact that sectors of the economy that were especially hard hit, such as hospitality, restaurants, in-store retail, arts, recreation and non-emergency health care services, employ more women than men.  Women also have reported that they took on more of the drastically increased household burdens that came with remote-school, remote-work, childcare disruptions and other hardships. 

Our new “Equitable Entrepreneurship: Empowering Women Through eCommerce” report demonstrates how access to ecommerce opportunities on eBay have helped women, from small business owners to hard-working entrepreneurial individuals, deal with these economic and social challenges of the pandemic. Notable findings include 69 percent of women surveyed for this report said the ability to sell on eBay was a benefit during the pandemic, and 73 percent cited the need to earn income for themselves or revenue for their businesses as top motivating factors for selling on eBay. For women who indicated they were new to selling on eBay or who increased their selling as a result of the pandemic, 82 percent said they did so because of job loss, reduction in income, illness, loss of childcare or some other hardship. Our report also reveals that women value the flexibility afforded by selling on the eBay marketplace. As evidence of this, 74 percent of the women surveyed said that the “ability to work from home” was a benefit that was important to them when selling on eBay. Additionally, more than half indicated that “being their own boss” was an important benefit of selling on eBay.

The report also spotlights many of the women behind these numbers, and they are located in cities and towns across America. Jessica Pate, from Cummings, Georgia, is the owner of MyKiddosCollegeFund and started selling clothes on eBay when she was in college to make extra money. As her family began to grow, Jessica wanted the flexibility of creating her own hours and schedule and has been selling full-time ever since. Her business has grown so much that she plans to build a new operating space in the coming months and is proud that it provides flexible employment not only for her, but for members of her community as well.

Jessica Pate Quote

“I have always taken pride in the fact that I am a female small business owner,” Jessica said. “But as a mother, I worried how I would be able to run my business and take care of my kids who were now home from school due to COVID. eBay makes everything so easy; I didn’t miss a step in keeping my business afloat while being able to provide and care for my family.”

The ability for sellers to use ecommerce to reach beyond their local markets also took on special importance during the pandemic, when in-person retail along with many kinds of face-to-face work were restricted. Our new report looks at trade data for U.S. eBay-enabled small businesses to illustrate how connecting with shoppers around the world has consistently been an important part of the eBay marketplace. A massive 97 percent of U.S. women-owned, eBay-enabled small businesses exported in 2019 – a far higher rate than businesses that have not embraced online tools – and reached on average 16 different countries, again dwarfing traditional export reach. 

Our findings demonstrated that women across the United States, whether small business owners or individuals facing economic and family challenges, used the eBay marketplace to help their enterprises and families be resilient and move forward.  We remain committed to tirelessly using technology to empower women and foster equitable entrepreneurship across America and around the world.   

We invite you to download the full report here.