10,000 eBay Cottage Industries in the U.K.

The United Kingdom is now eBay’s third largest market, after the United States and Germany. The U.K. site for eBay has 10 million members and is growing at the rate of more than 160% annually.

What’s more, there are 10,000 entrepreneurs in the U.K. making a living as eBay sellers:

For the more entrepreneurial, the site is a powerful new way to reach customers. The company estimates that at least 10,000 people in the UK now rely on eBay to make a living, having recast an established “offline” business as an internet-based “shop window”, or turned a hobby into a commercial venture.

eBay has transformed certain industries entirely. The antiques and collectibles industry is one of them.

I remember in the 1990’s going on a business trip to Brighton, England. In between meetings I managed to steal a few hours to visit the antique shops in the “Lanes” in Brighton, and bought a small lacquer box. The price was right. The dealer was knowledgeable and helpful.

A few years later I went online to eBay and found the same dealer. It turns out the dealer had closed his physical shop in Brighton’s Lanes. He was selling exclusively online through a website and eBay — still is today.

I emailed him and re-introduced myself. I inquired about the change.

He explained that the Internet and eBay in particular had changed his business. He felt he could find more collectors and interested buyers online for the niche antiques he carried. He now sold items all over the world, and in particular to the United States market.

Read the Times article that I’ve linked to above. It is long and substantive, and gives a good flavor for how British entrepreneurs are leveraging eBay.

Technorati tags: ebay; small business; ecommerce.

Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.