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Etsy vs. eBay - Who has the edge?

Updated on April 4, 2012

**EDIT: This hub is intended for the purpose of allowing artists, crafters, and vintage sellers to look at two online markets. Etsy is a site dedicated to handcrafted items, materials for making items, and vintage items. Therefore, this article is intended to compare based from only these items.

Having been an owner of two online shops (one Ebay based and the other Etsy) I have found that in the realm of vintage clothing, Ebay is obsolete. There have been discussions based on the question, which is better, Etsy or Ebay?

I am here to provide my opinion backed with a few worthy bullets. Of course, there is a comments section below, so please, by all means share your take! Most of my points are general, but some may apply specifically to vintage items since this is my forte.

Top Five Reasons Etsy Edges Ebay

  • Cost - old news that everyone complains about the cost. Ebay and Etsy charge the same insertion fee of $0.20, but it's when the items sells that the two fork off. Etsy charges a 3.5% selling fee on the total cost of the item, which does not include the mailing cost. Ebay charges a whopping 10% for the total cost and then another 10% from the cost of mailing. A $30 item sold on Etsy with $5.95 shipping would cost about $1.25 in total Etsy fees, whereas Ebay would charge $3.80 for the same item. A $2.55 difference! Check outApril's take here...
  • Layout - Etsy is a clear winner with its more updated and clean approach to selling. The left navigation bar on Etsy is much more minimal in looks, but does not skimp on the features. Ebay's chaotic search return is a bit hard on the eyes with the varying image sizes and vertical layout. Etsy's horizontal layout and thumbnail consistency give a much cleaner appearance, as well as makes it easier to find items.
  • Specialties - Reading a forum on this very topic, one user cited that Etsy had a more boutique approach, whereas Ebay was more like a mall. Though you could say it really depends on what one is searching for, in the realm of specialties such as vintage items, Etsy nudges Ebay to the side.
  • The Sellers - look up etsy criminals, and then do the same for ebay criminals. A survey of Etsy buyer satisfaction versus Ebay should be done to prove that Etsy sellers tend to be a tad more on the class act side.
  • Post Longevity - Etsy is a sweet spot for those who like to build up their inventory not having to worry about losing their items every 7-10 days. Etsy allows users to have their items up for a month long period, thus allowing more time to generate traffic and thus a sale.

Top Five Reasons Ebay Edges Etsy

  • Established - Ebay has been around since 1995, becoming a top recognized logo and the mother of all online shopping. Etsy didn't make her debut until ten years later in 2005. One could probably conclude that Ebay still has the larger market base.
  • Variety - As mentioned above, Etsy is more of a boutique, so when people need common to random items, Ebay is the sure winner for this. I mean, you won't find one of these on Etsy!
  • Seller Saturation - Etsy is becoming more and more saturated with sellers that it is becoming increasingly difficult for sellers to stand out of the crowd. This plays back into the variety. Ebay's variety spreads to keep the site from becoming over saturated.
  • Individualization - A blessing and/or a curse, ebay gives sellers the ability to create distinct pages with html. Etsy's shops are pretty cookie cutter and don't give users the ability to manipulate their postings, which in turn would have them stand out.
  • Payment Methods - Some may argue this point, but I think Ebay is smart in nixing the ability to pay for all items with checks or money orders. The reason being that there are too many criminals (as we saw earlier) who take advantage of this system. Etsy's seller and buyer base seem safe for now, but I foresee some disadvantages in the future for this payment type. Ebay is all about tracing the payments, which I think is a smart business move for such a large online market.

The result is that it really depends on what you are selling and buying. I know, I know, a cop-out answer, but look at the few comparisons above and see that it really boils down to what you are selling/buying. Etsy is a bit more particular in what it sells but has much lower fees than Ebay. Ebay has much more spread out inventory and may allow more seller success. Some say that Ebay is dying, but after comparing the two I have to say that Etsy is hitting a plateau, and this is why. As a buyer it really depends. However, shop owners may have a different take.

A recent change in listings has pushed Etsy shops lower in search engines. Couple that with the over saturation of a tunnel visioned online boutique and you get very little ability to sell anything. If you are a new seller you may find yourself better off on Ebay, whereas established sellers should stay put, Etsy and Ebay. If you are struggling on Etsy but are finding the Ebay fees are keeping you from going back, you may just make more revenue on Ebay at the cost of more overhead in the form of fees.

Wanna hear more? Let's hash it out in the comments below.


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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      ebay is not seller friendly, after selling for more than 10 years on ebay, I honestly would not recommend ebay to anyone.

      To me, ebay has a dictatorial communist taste, I am not kidding!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I've sold mostly vintage clothing & jewelry on Ebay for years (I never have or will have a Ebay store) & back in February of this year, I opened an Etsy shop.

      I chose to open an Etsy shop because Ebay, until recently, was allowing mis-represented listings. Sellers (mostly from China) used the word & category "vintage" in their listing titles, when, in fact, their items were "new", not true vintage. What chance did I have to sell my true vintage items when it was cluttered with "new" items?

      Well, Ebay has finally listened to me (& many others, I'm sure) to my many emails & phone calls about these mis-represented listings. Now, when you list vintage, you need to choose "true vintage".

      I've been rather successful selling on Etsy but I'm not a patient seller & prefer the speed of Ebay. I think that many sellers (like me) have left Ebay for Etsy, so now Etsy is loaded. I like to sell & I don't always care about Ebay's higher fees.

      Another downside to Etsy are the very high prices many sellers charge. What a turn-off to potential buyers! I list at fair prices. I also take quality photos, which probably helps me sell.

      To answer Shelby, no, you do not have to take those professional-looking photos, some of which are stupid! I can hardly see the item!? Etsy viewers love to put items on their favorites list. I contact them & ask if they'd like to make a reasonable offer for the item. This has helped to make a sale.

      I also sometimes list items simultaneously on Ebay & Etsy. This is allowed.


    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I don't know what I'm doing wrong but I haven't sold much on Etsy. Maybe it's because I'm not a professional photographer? Ebay I have had problems also with a bunch of people watching my item then noone ever pulling the trigger! I mostly sell vintage.

    • profile image

      Marie Brannon 

      6 years ago

      Interesting. After 12 years of operating an eBay store, with fixed prices instead of auctions, I've opened an etsy shop. I started on eBay with mostly books and magazines, and over the years book sales have drastically declined. Today my store has more than 1,000 items and sales have been dismal for months.

      My etsy store only has five items right now, but I have lots of stuff to list. Right now I'm thinking that etsy will be a better place to let my creative side shine, whereas eBay has just become a routine venue for certain items and feels like work. haha.

    • profile image

      Hate Ebay 

      6 years ago

      Ive been a seller on ebay and hate its high fees. I felt robbed at the end of the month when it was time for them to collect. I like that etsy has lower fees but wished that they did auctioning.

    • profile image

      Falkon Nightsdale 

      6 years ago

      I need advice. (complete_noob version)

      I decided to sell some stuff I have made as a relaxation or I designed them and now I come to making them real. And as I'm crafting them usually only as gifts for close friends - fully attuned to their personality, I have no idea about how it all works in practice...

      But It's kind of expensive hobby and I need resources for larger projects, so I decided to find out...

      You know, we're speaking about bobbin lace - quite simple but still worth of several tens of workhours - as example, as absolutely plain product you can take this:

      (Actually this IS a surplus stuff, as a friend I was making it originally for, vain and insidious hellokitty loving blonde - but in need of my help in her social-service NGO, turned out to be far more behind morally acceptable means in obtaining grant money and running organisation, so after 2 years of friendship and co-work, our ways split just few days before I completed this stuff, modern, strict and vain in same manner, as her flat, her life and her philosophy is.)

      Ok, back to topic - how about pricing - what is usual price for "simple example of complicated stuff" (still taking aprox. 30 hours of my life) like linked above...? Is there any guide...?

      I am little scared when looking at Etsy, searching "lace choker" only to find a LOT of "handmade", yet ornate stuff, custom made and shipped in 3 days - and apparently assembled from industrial lace, priced under or around 50$. (On the other hand, same kind of stuff is offered for more than 500$)

      ...after all, i was able to find only one lacemaker I have no doubt about - user "Decoromana" - should I somehow "follow" her pricing politics..?

      (despite differences in lace production method, it's closest to what I do)

      Once again - not going to be a "pro" at moment, just being little empty-handed after paying rent, having some stuff already created but not used, and a LOT of ideas that will require a LOT of materials to be destroyed during experiments and a LOT of crystals to decorate final products... And having to obtain them to keep giving my friend stuff like this - "The Infinite Ocean" - - birthday gift to my close friend, made in single stroke of 20 hours of pure lacing...

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I sell on both but am now leaning more heavily to Etsy. I sell vintage knitting machines , parts ,accessories, and patterns. They usually sell faster on ebay but the fees are way higher(they even started charging a fee on the shipping which many sellers must add to their cost, thus defeating ebay's claim of keeping shipping fees down). I can list the same thing at a better price for the buyer on Etsy and I have done well there. Another reason I am liking Etsy more is that ebay is doing some crazy things to sellers, many times very unfair. I have not run into anything like that with Etsy. I'm thinking of dumping ebay entirely and just listing on Etsy. I make the same money with less stress and the buyer gets a better deal.

    • profile image


      6 years ago


      I am a vintage jewelry seller on Etsy I get a far better price than I did on Ebay. This article is wrong in listings last a month , they stay ctive for 4 months. You can research my shop on Etsy Ich LiebeVintage...

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I am thinking of selling vintage jewelry, and I like the lower fees on Etsy, but I might receive a higher price by having an auction rather than setting a firm price.

    • profile image

      Jewelry Rage 

      6 years ago

      If you are selling jewelry or any handmade item it is not even a comparison etsy is 1000 times better then ebay. Ebay to but it nicely is terrible. I started selling handmade sideways cross bracelets on ebay and at first they where selling for what I expected, but only one month later the Chinese sellers came in selling cheap versions for around $2.00. Ebay is expanding into the chinese market and giving Chinese sellers special treatment. Search around ebay especial the jewelry categories and at the top of nearly every search is a chinese seller. Etsy is amazing site that any person looking to sell handmade items should think about joining.

    • Jared Zane Kessie profile imageAUTHOR

      Jared Zane Kessie 

      6 years ago from Richland, Washington

      Thanks Kathy and Dodie for sharing your experiences! It brings great insight to the reality of selling online.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I am on both and like neither. Etsy seems the best on the surface. Twenty cents for four months and five free pics to boot? Sounds great! But their search is awful. I listed a children's book three days ago, and today searched the first HUNDRED PAGES of relevant searches, and it's not to be found. It comes up only if someone searches for that exact book and author. The only way to stay on top of the searches in Etsy is to relist EVERY DAY. After a few days, you're lost somewhere on the outskirst of Etsyland. I sell better on Ebay, but hate their policies that are unfair to sellers. I have not yet had a problem, but should I have a problem, the buyer always wins on Ebay. Buyers can leave negative feedback for sellers, but sellers cannot leave negative or even neutral feedback for buyers. Once a buyer pays, Ebay considers his part is done and he can do no wrong after that. I once sold an expensive raincoat with a detachable lining at a bargain price. The buyer returned the item, minus the lining, and I had to way to prove it. Ebay is ALWAYS for the buyer. So, I feel stuck. I don't like either, so I go back and forth between them.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Ebay crushes etsy in sales.....sold the amount in 1 week that it took 6 months on etsy. I think a small percentage of people do well over there, but its so much work for so little return. I have etsy just for a little extra spending money

    • Jared Zane Kessie profile imageAUTHOR

      Jared Zane Kessie 

      6 years ago from Richland, Washington

      Sorry for the late reply, dawg1. I only now noticed it :0

      Men's clothing is such a mixed bag, there is no real clear winner for one over the other. I would say the sales have been almost identical for me in regards to selling men's clothing.

      Before I sold vintage clothes I would buy them for myself on dedicated store sites for vintage clothing. Maybe guys tend to go there. Etsy is predominantly female, though I do see more guys jumping on and favoriting men's items and selling.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Which do you prefer to sell mens vintage clothing?

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      everyone is missing the most important aspect between the 2: ebay is an auction site though you can list item with a fixed price, and etsy is NOT an auction site.

    • DIMIR profile image


      7 years ago from Pennsylvania, United States

      Great article and very true... though I secretly use both. There are benefits to each for certain items, and this covers that very well.

    • A Happy Man profile image

      A Happy Man 

      7 years ago from Washington State

      I've been on ebay for over a decade now and love it, primarily as a seller-have never heard of Etsy but as I'm not an arts and crafts guy probably not for me-but I will check it out-thanks for writing this!

    • justom profile image


      7 years ago from 41042

      Great, I would expect you to speak up. Good conversation is always best. Denying comments grinds my gears and is not an option IMO. I would never do it. Peace!! Tom

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 

      7 years ago from Central Texas

      Very informative HUB -- I've sold on eBay for years but never tried Etsy -- time to do that! Thanks for the great info -- well done HUB. Best, Sis

    • Jared Zane Kessie profile imageAUTHOR

      Jared Zane Kessie 

      7 years ago from Richland, Washington


      I am not taking your comments personally. That is why I allow comments like yours to be on here for all to see, as I do have the ability to approve/deny comments. I am simply trying to inform you of the intentions of the article, as I felt they were clearly missed.

      I should be more clear on what the article is about, and I have learned that from yours and David's comment. I think that is invaluable as a novice writer trying to develop better writing habits. Your comments are more than welcome, and if I feel that comments miss the purpose, then I like to speak up.

    • justom profile image


      7 years ago from 41042

      You get a bit defensive about comments that don't agree with you on your comparisons of the 2. I do not agree that it is, in fact, apples and apples. It's as simple as that and as for my logic about vintage I was commenting on how subjective selling is (and what folks think that word means) so maybe that wasn't clear. You'll find not everyone on this site is going to agree about things that are written and my comments are my opinions and not meant as anything personal. Peace!! Tom

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I'm very familiar with Etsy as a handcrafter, and who hasn't heard of eBay? I've considered selling handcrafted items at both sites, so I appreciate the comparison, especially regarding fees.

      With respect to saturation at Etsy, the key to making sales is to get traffic to your item. That means letting people know about your stuff through your blog (if you have one), social media, articles, etc. If you can do that effectively, then saturation isn't that big of an issue.

      Great information, much appreciated. Rated up and useful.

    • Jared Zane Kessie profile imageAUTHOR

      Jared Zane Kessie 

      7 years ago from Richland, Washington


      I am not entirely following your logic on people having different ideas and definitions of what vintage is.

      This article is in no means a controversial article and shouldn't warrant such comments trying to point out that they are different. Of course the two sites are different! Are they comparable? Of course they are!

      Once again, I wrote the article with intentions of assisting those who were deciding between the two, much like I had to do, and last year had decided on Etsy (I am rethinking this, which is a reason I wrote this). It has a lot to do with Etsy being a niche, whereas Ebay is a huge market, so it is hit or miss.

      I think artists have had a hard time on Ebay because it is so broad, and having Etsy come into the picture ten years later, provided a place for this community to thrive. Can they still sell on Ebay? Yes, and they do. Is it worth it? That is why I wrote the article, to assist in pointing out some issues I looked at when switching.

      Another interesting thing I pointed out is the over saturation of Etsy, which is causing some sellers to lose customers with having so many similar shops. This alone is a huge reason I am looking to possible start back up my Ebay shop. So for me this article makes perfect sense, as it is what I have and am currently doing to improve me customer base. I hope it assists in others making the same or similar decisions.

    • justom profile image


      7 years ago from 41042

      I agree with David, Etsy is geared more toward art and hand crafted item and is not really a good comparison to ebay. I've sold on ebay for over 10 years off and on and I can tell you with certainty that an artist will be very disappointed trying to sell their work there. The 2 folks I know that use Etsy told me they've sold a couple of things but nothing like they thought. Of coarse it's all very subjective, ask 10 people what the word vintage means and you'll probably get 10 different answers. Peace!! Tom

    • Jared Zane Kessie profile imageAUTHOR

      Jared Zane Kessie 

      7 years ago from Richland, Washington

      @David Stone

      I was hoping this article would attract those who were making decisions between the two, primarily for selling purposes. As such, I expect the reader to bring something to the table: knowing what Etsy is, which means they understand that Etsy is handmade AND vintage items. As for those who didn't know, glad that they were able to find a new website to visit.

      I point out throughout the article that my standpoint is from a vintage item seller. I have used both Etsy and Ebay to sell my items. I also noted a few times that Etsy is a boutique, whereas Ebay pretty much does any and all.

      Though Ebay is a whole other giant, there is still an overlap of products. As a seller who has used both Etsy and Ebay for selling vintage items, this article compares apples to apples.

    • David Stone profile image

      David Stone 

      7 years ago from New York City

      Hard to understand how you could write this article without noting the primary difference between these two, which is that Etsy is a community of handmade artists. Etsy sellers are required to sell only handmade products of their own.

      This makes any comparison between the too, as a generalized subject, like peaches in oranges. They just aren't in the same market.

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 

      7 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks for the detailed article about this topic! Having sold on both sites as well, I can say that some items sell better on one site over the other. However, overall, my experience selling on Etsy has been much more positive for a number of the reasons that you've outlined. I have been able to unload a lot of old books and other random items on eBay but I would never sell my handmade items there.

      Another thing to keep in mind with the cost is that the $0.20 listing fee on Etsy is good for 4 months. You'll never get that on eBay!

    • chrisand profile image


      7 years ago

      I appreciate the comparisons being made here as I have used Ebay before but never Etsy. It's good to know the pros and cons. Thanks for an informative hub

    • Chasing Riley profile image

      Chasing Riley 

      7 years ago from Los Angeles

      I had never heard of Etsy but it's nice to know there's an alternative to EBay. I wish there would be an alternative to Paypal that charges less. Voted up & useful.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      7 years ago from New York

      Very informative. I never even considered Etsy though I knew it was out there. Guess I'll have to look further. congrats on your nomination and good luck! Voted up and interesting.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Haven't tried any of the two..but your personal review is helpful for those who want to try it out.

      Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination! You have to check it out now: have fun with the Hubnuggets by reading and voting! Enjoy!

    • frogyfish profile image


      7 years ago from Central United States of America

      I had not heart of Etsy. Will have to check it out now.

    • profile image

      Deb Welch 

      7 years ago

      I now know more about Etsy - thanks to you. My daughter uses eBay - sells on it. She shops at Consignment stores - sometimes. I use Amazon or Charity Sites for handmade clothing from Third World Countries. I will let her know about Etsy. Voted Up and Useful.

    • thranax profile image


      7 years ago from Rep Boston MA

      Good article indeed! I never tried Etsy or even thought of it before. Just the cost alone would make ebay users switch to Etsy. Think if you sell 100 products for $30 a month, that's $255 ebay costs more then etsy off your example. That's huge to small companies and businesses that run only on eBay.


    • Jared Zane Kessie profile imageAUTHOR

      Jared Zane Kessie 

      7 years ago from Richland, Washington

      There are similarities. Etsy is more concentrated with a focus on handmade items and supplies, as well as a vintage nook. Contrast that with the wide variety found on ebay. From the standpoint of a vintage clothing seller there are benefits to both.

      Thanks for checking out the article!

    • glassvisage profile image


      7 years ago from Northern California

      Thanks for sharing this. I've actually never heard of Etsy - it's basically the same as eBay?

    • profile image

      Jessica Wienert 

      7 years ago

      I like amazon...they deal with the finances


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