SWOT Analysis eBay

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  • eBay is the leading global brand for online auctions. The company is a giant marketplace used by more than 100 million people to buy and sell all manner of things to each other. Pierre Omidyar, a French entrepreneur, was just 28 when he sat down over a long holiday weekend to write the original computer code for what eventually became an Internet megabrand. The brand has grown tremendously over the decade or so since its conception.


  • Acquisitions provide new business strategy opportunities. eBay has agreed to buy online telephone company Skype Technologies in a deal reported to be worth $2.6 billion. Skype’s software lets PC users talk to each other for free and make cut-price calls to mobiles and landlines. eBay has been buying up firms – including payment system PayPal – in an effort to increase the number of services it offers to consumers and keep its profits growing.
  • New and emerging markets provide opportunities (Market Development). Countries include China and India. There, consumers are becoming richer and have more leisure time than previous generations. Aspirating consumers are a growing segment in many developing nations.
  • There are also still opportunities in current markets (Market Penetration). Western Europe and the USA still have many potential consumers that have yet to discover the benefits of online auctions. Remember products have life cycles that eventually come to an end, and such products are ideal for selling and buying on eBay.


  • As with many of the global Internet brands, success attracts competition. International competitors competing in their domestic markets may have the cultural experience that could give them a competitive advantage over eBay. In fact eBay has found that it has met with other USA-based Internet companies when trading overseas. For example, Yahoo! dominates the Japanese market.
  • Attack by illegal practices is a threat. As with weaknesses above, the brand is attacked by unscrupulous individuals. For example e-mails are sent to unsuspecting eBayers pretending to come from eBay. Logos and the design of the pages look authentic. However they are designed so that you input private information that the thieves can use to take passwords and identifications. -so beware!
  • Some costs cannot be controlled by eBay. For example delivery charges and credit card charges. If fuel prices were to rise, the cost is passed on to the consumer in terms of delivery and postal fees. This could make the overall cost of an auctioned item too expensive. Similarly, if a credit card company such as Visa or Mastercard imposed a charge for online transaction, the total cost of the same items would increase with similar consequences.

Founded in September 1995, eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY) is The World’s Online Marketplace® for the sale of goods and services by a diverse community of individuals and small businesses. Today, the eBay community includes more than a hundred million registered members from around the world. People spend more time on eBay than any other online site, making it the most popular shopping destination on the Internet. Read more…

This case study has been compiled from information freely available from public sources. It is merely intended to be used for educational purposes only.

  • The company exploits the benefits of Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Buyers and sellers register with the company and data is collected by eBay on individuals. This is the Business-to- Consumer (B2C) side of their business. However the strong customer relationships are founded on a Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C) business model, where strong interrelationships occurs, for example where buyers and sellers leave feedback for each other, and whereby awards are given to the most genuine of eBayers.
  • The term ‘eBay’ has become a generic term for online auctions. Other companies with such a strong position include Hoover for vacuum cleaners, and Google for search engines. Today it is common to hear that someone is ‘ebaying’ or is an ‘eBayer,’ or that someone is going ‘to eBay.’


  • The organizations works tremendously hard to overcome fraud. However, the eBay model does leave itself open to a number of fraudulent activities. Often the company deals with such activities very quickly. Fraud includes counterfeit goods being marketed to unsuspecting (and suspecting!) eBayers. Other forms of theft could include the redistribution of stolen goods. It should be pointed out that fraud and theft are problems with individuals, not eBay. The weakness is that unscrupulous individuals can exploit the C2C business model.
  • As with many technology companies, systems breakdowns could disturb the trading activities of eBay. In the past both eBay and its payment brand Paypal have encountered shutdowns and outages. As technology improves such a weakness is less and less of an issue.