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eBay Celebrates 15 Years Since Its UK Launch

29 August 2014 - 21:31 by Graham Miller

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It may only seem like yesterday, but one of the world's biggest online retailers is celebrating the 15th anniversary of the launch of its UK site. Auction giant eBay opened its digital doors to British consumers back in 1999, and this month it has been taking the time to recognise its long tenure serving eager bidders and sellers alike.

Today eBay's global operations generate ?65 billion in annual sales, but back in 1999 the first item to be sold on its UK launch went for just £2.89. This was probably a fair price for the product in question, which was a CD single for a European rock group, according to the Telegraph.

Of course, eBay was not built solely on selling knick-knacks and curios. It managed to secure ongoing growth because its auction infrastructure meant that entire companies could be established around it. Entrepreneurs have harnessed eBay to offer safe shopping online to customers without having to build their own websites in the process.

In 2014 there are more than 200,000 businesses which market their wares through eBay?s platform, with companies from the UK using it to help them sell products overseas and catering to 39 countries which might otherwise be out of their reach. So the economic impact of this auction site is well documented and wide-ranging.

Another aspect of its success has been its ability to recognise emerging trends and exploit them to its benefit. For example, it became the first major retailer to launch an m-commerce app on the iPhone back in 2008, allowing it to get ahead of the competition as more and more people started shopping from their mobiles.

The success of its app for shopping online has been especially significant in the UK, where an item is sold through it each and every second.