During the first few weeks of April, eBay says GMV grew 20% week over week in some categories due to more buyers shifting their purchases online because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The gross value of goods sold on eBay Inc.’s U.S. marketplace declined 3.8% in the first quarter ended March 31, the online marketplace reported Wednesday. Comparatively, this is a slight improvement from the marketplace’s performance last year, when eBay’s sales in the U.S. declined 6.3% for the full year 2019.

U.S. gross merchandise volume (GMV) totaled $7.63 billion in Q1, down from $7.93 billion during the same period in 2019. Factoring out foreign exchange rates, eBay says U.S. GMV grew 1%. Total GMV—which includes sales on eBay’s international marketplaces—was $21.26 billion, down 1.4% from $21.57 billion.

Coronavirus impact on eBay’s business

Since the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. in March, eBay has seen shifts in its business both from buyers and sellers. In late March and early April, there was a sales surge in what eBay calls “home confinement” categories, which includes products for home offices, gym equipment and indoor leisure activities like video games and consoles, executives said on a call with investors according to a SeekingAlpha transcript. Recently, there’s been a lift in other categories like fashion and parts and accessories. And since the start of April, GMV has grown more than 20% week over week, executives said.

EBay launched Up & Running in April, a program to help retailers without an ecommerce presence transition to selling online. Through the program, eBay provides new businesses an eBay store for free for three months, waives selling fees and allows them to list up to 500 items for free. Up & Running also includes access to ecommerce educational tools such as webinars and experienced sellers willing to be mentors.


On March 23 eBay announced that for its existing sellers, eBay deferred fee payments 30 days and added seller protections that would ensure sellers wouldn’t get penalized for fulfillment orders like delayed shipping or canceling orders. In addition, EBay said it removed more than 15 million listings globally that were making false health claims or price gauging.

Furthermore, executives said eBay has not faced fulfillment issues thus far. “Our overall delivery performance has held up well during the COVID-19 crisis as our supply base [marketplace sellers] does not have large single points of failure nor are there fulfillment constraints for essential or nonessential items on eBay,” chief financial officer Scott Schenkel said on the call, according to SeekingAlpha, without providing more details. Its U.S. competitor Amazon.com Inc. has been public about prioritizing essential items for delivery to consumers as well as shipments from sellers to its fulfillment centers. Amazon is No. 3 in the Online Marketplaces database.

“We believe that eBay’s marketplace is benefiting at least temporarily from retail store closures, shopping from home, low-cost online advertising, and Amazon’s shift away from discretionary categories,” senior research analyst at investment firm Robert Baird Co. Colin Sebastian wrote in a note to investors.

In the first quarter ended March 31, eBay also reported:

  • Net revenue for eBay’s global marketplaces, which comes from the fees paid by eBay’s sellers, declined 1.7% to $2.37 billion from $2.41 billion in Q1 2019.
  • Net income was $485.0 million, down 6.0% from $516.0 million.
  • There were 174 million active buyers on eBay’s marketplaces in Q1, flat from Q4 and up from 171 million in Q1 2019.
  • EBay closed the deal to sell its online ticketing marketplace StubHub in February.
  • The company appointed Jaime Iannone as its new CEO. Former CEO Devin Wenig stepped down in July last year and chief financial office Scott Schenkel has been interim CEO since then.