eBay investors are hoping the online marketplace goliath can build on a strong opening quarter of 2019 when the company holds its Q2 earnings call on Wednesday. 

In the first three months of 2019, eBay said it grew its “active buyers” base by 4%, to a total of 180 million people worldwide. Net revenues for the quarter were up year-over-year, and the company had an optimistic outlook for the rest of 2019. 

In light of the upcoming earnings call, CivicScience studied eBay customers and their shopping habits. First, a look through the long-focus lens: 

While CivicScience’s data have tracked periodic peaks and valleys in eBay usage since 2015, most categories of eBay shoppers have held relatively firm over the past four years. We’ve seen a slight upward trend in the number of respondents who say they “never” buy or sell on eBay (up from 67% in 2015 to 70% today), perhaps coming at the expense of the pool of occasional eBay shoppers (down from 19% of respondents to 16%). Moderate and heavy users of the online marketplace appear to be remaining loyal.

In a CivicScience study of more than 62,000 people in early July, 30% of Americans age 13 and older said they’d used eBay at least once in the past year.


Men were more likely than women to say they used eBay moderately or heavily.

And in terms of age, Gen X had the winning bid for the “biggest eBay shoppers” crown, if such a thing were to exist.

Another interesting finding of the chart above? While Gen Z respondents were the least likely to be eBay users in general, the website seems to have a strong niche following of dedicated users across all age brackets. In other words, young Gen Z respondents were just as likely to say they use the site very often as were their Gen X parents.

While the idea of hunting for bargains on used goods online might seem to be more attractive to lower earners, the opposite holds true. The likelihood of using eBay increases alongside household income. Maybe it’s all the collectors.

Though the similarity is less pronounced in the chart above than in the age comparison, note again the similar following of frequent eBay users across the income spectrum.

eBay vs. Amazon? Eh, not really.

Amazon might be eBay’s main competitor, but it seems that eBay customers (grouped by users and non-users of eBay for the next few charts) don’t feel like they need to pick sides.

eBay users were 25% more likely than non-users to say they like to shop on Amazon. For reference, Amazon favorability is sitting at about 66% among the general population for the past year as of this writing.

However, this may be a side effect of just being online more often. eBay users were more likely to say they use social media than non-users, and tended to use social media slightly more often, too.

We won’t belabor the point with four different charts, but this trend did hold true across specific social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.

eBay Users Take a Different Approach to Managing Their Finances

First of all, eBay users love PayPal …

… but that’s no surprise. After all, the online payment system is a built-in payment option on eBay’s auction interface.

eBay users are also really into interest-free payment programs (one of which, coincidentally, is run by PayPal).

In general, eBay users are just more comfortable with banking online. Sixty-one percent of eBayers overall reported conducting the majority of their banking on the internet, a rate about 20% higher than that of the general population.

Other Insights About eBay Users

It turns out that eBay’s most ardent users are really optimistic about the viability of cannabidiol (CBD) products.

And one final insight that stood out from the pack: It seems that one’s likelihood of enjoying a nice, cold Coke Zero every now and again tends to shoot up alongside eBay usage.

Sure, the typical eBay user tends to be a wealthier Gen X man. But it’s important to note that eBay commands a niche following of super-users that stretches across all age groups and income brackets — certainly not a bad spot to be in.