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17 Best eBay Business Ideas
Written by: Carolyn Young
Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.
Edited by: David Lepeska
David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.
Updated on October 2, 2023
17 Best eBay Business Ideas
Started in 1995, eBay has become an internet powerhouse, with more than $21 billion in sales in just the second quarter of 2021. The site has 187 million users worldwide, so it’s a fantastic platform for selling nearly any kind of merchandise, if you’re looking for an at-home business idea to start. The below list details a sizable number of eBay business ideas — hopefully you’ll find one that’s right for you.
If you’re an antique lover with some relevant knowledge, an eBay antique store can be very profitable. Many people collect antiques, and there’s huge online demand for unique antique items. Online antique sales have been growing rapidly, with the online antiques and collectibles industry expanding more than 50% in the last decade. You can find antiques by visiting yard sales, garage sales, and estate sales and sell them for a sizable profit. Sometimes you can find items at local auctions as well.
Electronics and accessories are the top-selling items on eBay, representing more than 16% of sales. You can find electronics at garage or yard sales, or buy at low cost in bulk from wholesale suppliers and sell them on eBay at a slight discount from retail. That way you can attract buyers, but still make a profit.
If you have crafting talents, you can probably sell your creations on eBay. It could be anything from sewed clothing and Cricut goods to art collage. Pinterest predicts that the bestselling crafts will be glass etchings, crochet, bottle painting, and leatherworks, and the same should apply to eBay. Your profit margins should be high since your only costs are the materials you use to make your craft creations.
4. Refurbished or Repurposed Items
If you’re a true creative, you can find old items that can be refurbished or reimagined into something of more value. For example, you could turn old barn wood into a rustic tabletop, or transform a couple pairs of old jeans into a hip jacket. The possibilities are endless. Again, you can find items at garage sales or yard sales, but your best bet would probably be flea markets. You could have fun searching with your creative eye for any number of things that could become something wonderful.
5. Home Décor
The U.S. home décor industry is worth nearly $190 billion and expects steady growth in the next few years. Used home décor items are popular on eBay, as people look for bargains to spruce up their homes. Unwanted home décor items are commonly sold at garage and yard sales, and one person’s trash is often another person’s treasure. Another alternative is, again, to find a wholesaler or manufacturer of items, that you can buy from in bulk and sell at a slight discount from retail.
The U.S. online T-shirt market has more than doubled in size in recent years to more than half a billion dollars. Seriously, does anyone not own a few T-shirts? If you have an eye for creative designs, you can use software to make your designs and have them printed by a manufacturer. Alternatively, you could buy your own screen-printing equipment, and make them yourself. One way to make your t-shirts stand out is to quickly capture trends in pop culture or the news and design t-shirts that reflect those trends.
7. Used Clothing and Accessories
The global second-hand clothing industry is worth $119 billion, up 24% from 2021 and expected to nearly double by 2026. People are looking for brand-name clothing at bargain prices, or for retro items from previous eras. Clothing is often sold at garage sales, but your best bet might be thrift stores. You’ll have to do some sifting to find high-quality items, but if you find brand names, you could markup the prices you pay by and still be way under retail.
An eBay jewelry store has all sorts of potential. You could make your own as many sellers do, or you could create designs using software and have them manufactured. If you don’t have the creative touch, garage sales can again be a gold mine, literally. If you want to find fine jewelry, estate sales are a great option. Buyers are always looking for fine jewelry at discount prices since new jewelry prices are often astronomical.
Watches, just like jewelry, offer a world of possibilities. It may be surprising, given that most every adult has a smartphone that tells time, but the watch industry is alive and well. In fact, the global luxury watch market is projected to expand nearly 25% in the next few years. You can go through the same channels to source your watches, but eBay could also be a great platform to launch your own watch brand. You could design a line of watches with a certain style and good quality materials and sell them as luxury watches.
10. Auto Parts
Surprisingly, automotive items account for 11% of all eBay sales. Car people are always searching for hard-to-find auto parts for older or classic cars, and they’re willing to pay good money for them to get their cars back on the road. You should have some car knowledge to start this business, but if you do, you could be very successful. You could find auto parts at yard sales and flea markets, at your local auto body shops or even the junkyard.
11. Kitchen Supplies
Garage sales are a kitchen item haven, with nearly every garage sale featuring at least a few. Kitchen items are in high demand, whether it’s small kitchen appliances or sets of dishes. You’re not going to sell items at a huge margin, but you can make up for that in volume since items to sell will be so easy to find. Antique kitchen items are also in high demand, so you might try estate sales to see what you can dig up.
12. Phone Cases
Some 6.4 billion of the world’s 8 billion people, or 80 percent of humanity, use mobile phones. Phone prices are going up, so most people want cases to protect their investment. An eBay phone case business is a great way to use your creative talents to come up with your own unique designs and find a manufacturer. Just like T-shirts, you could capitalize on current trends to make your phone cases stand out in a crowded market.
Candles set the mood in a room, whether for romance or relaxation. People love unique and handmade candles that are more interesting than what they can find at the department store. You can purchase candle-making equipment and supplies for very little money, then let your creative juices — and wax juices! — flow. Profit margins on candles are high since the cost to make them is low. If you sell candles at $10 each and have a 75% profit margin, that can add up to good money.
14. Video Games
Gamers of all ages are plentiful, and many still buy used video games or will pay good money for the newest, latest games. You can find used video games at garage sales and flea markets and sell them for a good markup. Another option is to buy the latest video games when they first hit the market. Usually, they sell out quickly, but people are still looking for them, so they turn to the online market. eBay is the perfect place to sell these brand-new games at premium prices.
People collect all sorts of things, from coins to stamps to sports memorabilia. If you recall the online antique market numbers, they included collectibles, so clearly the demand for collectibles is high. Good items may be harder to come by for this eBay business, but often collections are sold at estate sales, so you might find some real treasures. You could certainly combine antiques and collectibles in your eBay store, to increase your profit potential.
16. Pet Accessories
People spend a fortune on their pets. In fact, Americans spent nearly $110 billion on their pets in 2021, nearly double the total a decade ago. Some of that money goes to pet accessories, including fancy collars, leashes, food bowls, and even clothing. You could choose a niche of that market, like collars, and make them at home. They don’t cost much to make, and if your designs are unique, you should be able to find some buyers.
People love to display pottery in their homes, and ceramic mugs and bowls are commonly used in homes, offices and beyond. If you make pottery as a hobby, or if you want to learn how, why not make some money at it? Alternatively, many types of antique pottery are collectibles. If you know what to look for, you could hunt for those pieces at yard sales and estate sales and sell them for nice profits. Some types of pottery have really appreciated over time, so you should do some homework to see what will sell best and for the most money.
To sum up, eBay is a thriving marketplace where people buy and sell almost anything you can think of, and many people make a good living with their eBay stores. You’ve got some ideas to ponder now, or you could just consider what you’re passionate about and an idea may come from that. It’s always a good bet to start a business that relates to what you love. Whatever idea you decide to pursue, don’t hesitate! Work hard and go for it, and you can be successful.
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