For rural small businesses, the ability to expand beyond their local market is extremely challenging and important. The impact eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY) is making on this front just came to light as the company partnered with a team of economists from Sidley Austin LLC to analyze the sellers on its platform.
According to the report (PDF) from the eBay Policy Lab, online marketplaces give small businesses and entrepreneurs access to outside economies in these rural areas. This is driving growth in counties across the country which are not experiencing the same amount of expansion as in the coastal or more popular regions.
The eBay Economy
Looking at the eBay economy in the US, the company said commercial sellers and full-time entrepreneurs on the platform are responsible for creating more than 690,000 jobs. And 36% of these sellers come from small towns and rural areas.
Keeping these communities intact is getting more difficult as fewer jobs become available locally. President and CEO of eBay Devin Wenig, says in a press release his company wants to use technology to keep these communities together. Wenig explains, “It’s about using technology to make people competitive and vibrant and to put life into communities, and not take it out.”
eBay by the Numbers
There are 6 million sellers on eBay and 63% of these sellers use the platform to reach global markets and customers. For 80% of them, eBay is the tool which enabled them to start an eCommerce business.
For rural small businesses unable to afford all the associated costs for this global availability, eBay provides a great opportunity with minimal investment. And when you take into account 36% of these businesses also operate a brick and mortar store, the revenue eBay generates has become vitally important as part of their overall income.
In the release, eBay says it aims to be a force multiplier for small businesses — exactly what the report shows it has become. And when economies are not growing at the same rate in different parts of the country, eCommerce platforms provide opportunities to distressed regions, which often times are in rural areas.
Whether you are an individual or a small business, eBay gives you a global presence so you can start selling your products and services on a proven and trusted platform.
Photo via Shutterstock
I guess ebay needs to change its target market and look for a need that it can fill. It needs to be something more than an online selling platform.
eBay sure has grown out of their old online garage sale mold.