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Selling on Amazon vs eBay in 2021: Which is Better?

Ecommerce underwent an incredible surge in 2020 as consumers shifted from shopping in-store to online. By the end of the year, 74% of consumers believed the majority of consumer shopping would happen online in the future — up from 69% just months earlier. This and other trends indicate that 2021 holds immense potential for ecommerce entrepreneurs.

In order to provide all the information sellers need to succeed with their Amazon ventures—from launch, to first sale, to growth and scaling—we’ve updated our content for 2021.

Interested in starting an ecommerce business? Our guides for selling on Amazon and eBay will teach you everything you need to know.

Nowadays, e-commerce sellers have many choices as to where they can sell their products online. Shopify, Walmart, Alibaba; they all offer sellers the opportunity to get their products in front of consumers. 

Yet there are two platforms that have been around longer than the rest: Amazon and eBay. And as the oldest online marketplaces (as well as the #1 and #3 top-performing e-commerce sites respectively) you may want to consider selling on one or the other. 

But how do you know which will work better for you?

There are good arguments for both, so we’re reviewing the differences between the two marketplaces to determine which store is — overall — the best option for your type of business.


Difference #1: Consumer trust

Amazon and eBay are both well-established, and have been around since the mid-1990’s. Amazon originally launched in July, 1994, under the name Cadabra (it changed its trade name to Amazon in 1995), with eBay following suit shortly thereafter, in September, 1995. 

However, when it comes to consumer trust, Amazon tends to edge out its competition. In fact, Amazon is so focused on gaining and maintaining the trust of its customers that it’s included in the company’s vision, mission, and values

And that focus appears to be paying off. In a recent Jungle Scout survey, 73% of U.S. consumers said they consider Amazon to be a good company for buyers

Another reason Amazon is often seen as the go-to for online shoppers is the ease in which products can be returned. Their A-Z Guarantee ensures that shoppers can receive a full refund if they are dissatisfied with the quality of their purchase, or its delivery time.

In contrast, eBay’s policy is much more complicated when it comes to returning items and receiving full refunds. Not to mention, sellers can even tick eBay’s ‘No Returns’ box, leaving buyers with no recourse if they are unhappy with the product.

As a seller, you may think that’s a good thing. But, in actuality, it can be extremely detrimental to your business. 

By setting your listing to ‘No Returns’, you’re sending signals to potential buyers that they can’t trust what you’re selling. And, as a consumer, which types of businesses do you buy from? Those who continue to support you post-purchase, or those who take your money and run?

So, in ensuring support post-purchase, Amazon is building brand loyalty and giving buyers the security they need to feel comfortable taking a chance on a product they might not otherwise purchase. 

And, as a seller on their platform, you reap the benefits of that trust.


Difference #2: Fulfillment methods

When selling on eBay, you have one choice when it comes to fulfillment: pack and ship orders yourself. 

Amazon, on the other hand, offers you two options: fulfill orders yourself (Fulfillment by Merchant; FBM), or have Amazon fulfill your orders for you (Fulfillment by Amazon; FBA). 

And that second option — Amazon FBA — is really what sets Amazon apart. 

While eBay requires sellers to run every aspect of their business themselves (aside from payments that is, if you decide to sign up as a ‘Managed payments’ seller), Amazon offers to take a significant portion of the work off your hands. 

By storing, picking, packing and shipping your products for you (and don’t forget, they also handle returns and refunds!), Amazon is giving you time to work on other areas of your business. 

Also, in addition to saving you time, Amazon FBA can also save you money.

Yes, Amazon’s fees are higher when you use their FBA program to fulfill your orders. But, when you calculate the cost to store, package, and ship your products, the cost differential goes down significantly.

Ultimately, though, how you fulfill your products is entirely up to you. It’s just nice to have a choice, which is something you don’t have when you opt to sell on eBay.


Difference #3: Seller fees

In general, eBay’s fees are lower than those incurred when selling on Amazon.

eBay’s fees

When it comes to selling on eBay, these are the fees you will have to pay: 

  • Insertion fees: This is the fee a seller is charged when they create a listing on the site. According to eBay, sellers are given “50 zero (free) insertion fee listings” per month. And, if you run a store on the site, there is a possibility for more. 
  • Final value fees: Once your product sells, eBay takes a percentage based on the item’s final sale price. This includes shipping and handling, but not the sales tax. 

This is the basic ‘Final value’ fee schedule for most items, along with the corresponding ‘Insertion fees’:

Amazon vs eBay: eBay fee schedule

  • Payments processing fees: The amount of this fee is dependent on whether you are a ‘managed payments’ seller or not. If you use eBay’s managed payments, then this fee is included in the ‘Final value’ fee. But if you use PayPal to process your customers’ payments, then you will pay $0.30 in addition to 2.9% of the total selling price. This includes sales tax.
  • Optional listing upgrade fees: These fees only come into play if you want to create a specialized, standout listing. Optional upgrades include: adding bold font, adding a subtitle, and setting a minimum/reserve price for your product.

If you use any of eBay’s listing upgrades, their fees quickly start to add up. However, you can use eBay’s fee calculator to determine how much you’ll be required to pay before you list your product. 

For example, for a fixed-price product selling at $22.95 in the Baby & Toddler Clothing category (with added listing upgrades), eBay’s fees come to $5.02. On top of that, if we planned on offering free shipping, we would have to absorb that cost. 

Nevertheless,  eBay’s fees are less than Amazon’s overall.

Amazon’s fees

With Amazon, fees vary depending on the product being sold, and its fulfillment method; either FBA or FBM

To get an idea of the fees associated with a product being sold FBA, let’s take a look at one of our Million Dollar Case Study (MDCS) products: Jungle Snugs.

Currently, Jungle Snugs sells for $23.17. Using Amazon’s FBA calculator (for the U.S. store) and entering that price point into the ‘Item Price’ fields, we can get a good idea of the fees we’d be charged if we were selling the towel FBA versus FBM.

Note: The total cost for ‘Your Fulfillment’ (FBM) does not include shipping. If you choose to sell FBM, you will have to factor in shipping expenses when determining your profit margin.

Amazon vs eBay: Jungle Snugs FBA fees

Selling FBM, the only fees you would incur product-wise are the ‘Selling on Amazon fees’, which include the ‘Amazon Referral Fee’ and the ‘Variable Closing Fee.’ FBA sellers are responsible for those as well. 

But, in addition to the ‘Selling on Amazon fees’, FBA sellers are also required to pay a ‘Fulfillment by Amazon fee’ that is calculated based on the weight and dimensions of the product you plan to sell. 

This fee consists of ‘Monthly Storage’ and ‘Fulfillment’ fees.

So, if you offer a product on Amazon for $23.17 and are an FBA seller, you will have to pay a minimum of $8.48 in fees. And if you offer the same product, at the same price, as an FBM seller, you will have to pay a minimum of $3.48 in fees.

Those aren’t the only fees you’ll have to pay as an Amazon seller though. Regardless of your fulfillment method, all Amazon sellers have to pay the following as well:

  • Individual per-item fees or subscription fees: When you sell on Amazon, you can choose between two different seller accounts: individual or professional. If you sell as an individual, you will be required to pay a $0.99 fee per unit sold. Professional sellers, on the other hand, pay a monthly subscription fee of $39.99.
  • Refund administration fees: While these fees only come into play if a customer asks for a refund, it’s still important to know that Amazon does charge you for processing that reimbursement. The fee for this will either be $5.00, or 20% of the refunded charge; whichever is less.

Read more about Amazon’s fees here.

Difference #4: Amazon Prime

One key feature that Amazon has that eBay doesn’t is Amazon Prime. And while this may seem like something that solely benefits shoppers (much like Amazon’s return policy), it is one of the primary reasons why Amazon has such a large, dedicated customer base.

Because shoppers pay a monthly fee to ensure speedy delivery, they’re more likely to purchase from Amazon, rather than let their Prime subscription go to waste. 

Moreover, loyal Prime members don’t just go to Amazon first before trying other online stores; they also spend money on the site during major holidays like Black Friday and Prime Day.

And considering there are over 112 million Prime users in the U.S. alone (and over 150 million worldwide), that means sellers on the platform have immediate access to a massive audience that shops on the site regularly.


Difference #5: Product price and quality

Since its launch in 1995, eBay has remained a marketplace for others to conduct their businesses. Amazon has not. Instead, it has morphed into a retailer, in addition to being a marketplace for third-party sellers. 

Plus, unlike Amazon, eBay doesn’t restrict what can be sold on the site based on a product’s quality. From brand new products to threadbare used items, eBay sellers can sell virtually anything. (Obviously, illegal items are prohibited.) 

And this is where eBay really comes into its own. 

Compared to Amazon (and even though you can buy used items on both), people prefer eBay when shopping for second-hand goods. Also, its auction-model lends itself perfectly to selling used items, offering buyers a chance to purchase them at competitive prices.

The cost of the auction model

It’s important to note that when you sell on eBay using their auction model, you have little control over the final price of your product and, ultimately, your profit margin. 

On the other hand, when you sell on Amazon your product price is fixed and set by you. That means you have complete control.

(You can run fixed-price listings on eBay too, though they tend to be a harder sell as eBay shoppers are looking for major bargains!)

The only real exception is selling used books. For the most part, Amazon is the better marketplace for vendors looking to sell second-hand books (which makes sense, considering Amazon began as an online bookstore).

But, when looking for an item that is brand new, or in pristine condition, most shoppers gravitate towards Amazon. In fact, a whooping 66% of consumers use Amazon as a search engine when looking for new products.

Amazon SEO: Feedvisor survey results

Therefore, overall, Amazon is the better option for selling high-quality products, with a ready-to-buy audience built right in. 

And, if you do your product research, find the right supplier, and create a listing that attracts buyers, you can generate profits that enable you to grow and expand your Amazon business year after year. 

Depending on your chosen business model, though, either platform could work. You just need to decide if you’re going to build your business by finding and selling second-hand items, or if you’re going to sell brand new products. Maybe you plan to do both!

Either way, Amazon and eBay each have a clear purpose with respect to these two types of consumers.


Amazon or eBay? Your choice

Now that you know the differences between the two platforms and, hopefully, have a better understanding of how each could benefit your business, it’s time to decide. Amazon or eBay? Or both!

But, no matter what you choose — eBay or Amazon — there’s never been a better time to launch your business online.


If you’d like to learn more about how Jungle Scout can help you get started on your seller journey, check out our subscription options (which all include access to Academy training content reserved for Jungle Scout members):


35 comments on “Selling on Amazon vs eBay in 2021: Which is Better?

  1. If you do not participate in FBA (professional sellers account) you cannot determine what the charge for shipping would be. Amazon dictates what the shipping shall be. On ebay the shipping can be determined for each and every item, their shipping really works. If you get an order to ship to California and one to Maine or Florida, they will all be calculated from your origin (Correctly) and will be different if the selected carrier charges differently.

  2. Up until the end of 2020, I used to use Amazon 100%. I then decided to get back into selling (personal, low volume) and tried both Amazon and Ebay. Upon signing up on Amazon, the process led me through signing up for a Professional Account (which they said I could easily downgrade) and also added the Global Marketplace. Once I got in, I tried to downgrade my account but it would not let me. I then found out that not only did Amazon add me to the Global Marketplace, but these other countries started charging me monthly fees for services I never desire nor used. While many might say that it was my mistake, Amazon was quite deceptive in leading new sellers down this path and not making it clear what the consequences would be. Nevertheless, I ended up only selling one item for $7 US on Amazon, and then quickly pivoted to using Ebay. I find that Ebay is much more seller friendly, transparent, and fair. Amazon is deceptive, has much higher net selling costs, and also does not help to rectify problems. If you’re selling, I highly recommend Ebay over Amazon.

  3. eBay’s Money Back Guarantee policy ensures that buyers who purchase from sellers that state “no returns” can still get refunds. “No returns” is not the same as “no refunds”.

  4. Selling books on Amazon has changed since c. 2021. They changed my seller’s strategy from FBM to FMA, which resulted in my book being sold at such a low price, that it cost out-of-pocket for me the seller. I anticipate leaving. It was wonderful while it lasted.

    1. Hi Sandy,

      I am sorry to hear it is not working out for you anymore! The only solution is to find higher priced books to list on Amazon instead of the low cost books.

  5. Neither but .I will be honest the Amazon is ok returns have short and extras short cut off times and
    I can’t print these labels any more have iPhone then cov library closes costs us more to return when using Amazon then some items are worth chance to buy see if they work so much defective electronics .
    They need if returning for another delivery pick it up being the big all all , this co put so many good places we kinda of never get over this love hate . Put some new folks in big deal . eBay allows seller reduction and like eBay now more .

  6. Ebay is now rampant with cyber criminals who “purchase” mostly electronics, with no intention of paying for the item. Many are foreign nationals with phony USA addresses that Ebay allows to pray on people. Many are crooks using someone else’s profile that Ebay does nothing about but says the profile is hacked and doesn’t remove it. I buy and sell a lot of tech equipment some ,of which is pretty $$. Like 4 out of 5 “sales” that I have had most recently, the buyers have disappeared or given excuses about payment. And the kicker is that Ebay charges you for the transaction when you cancel on these crooks and doesn’t allow you to even leave feedback, most times. I have to spend even more of my valuable time trying to dispute these charges and unfair practices. We need another platform!

  7. Hi,
    Thanks for sharing this information about Amazon and eBay now cleared my many confusions. I have some questions about an affiliate of Amazon. I am running a marketing company in London. I want to create an amazon affiliate marketing website kindly guide me it will work?

  8. I spent a lot of time and research on learning how to sell on Amazon FBA, sourced a product to sell from a reputable wholesaler and within 2 months Amazon suspended my product as someone disputed patent, tried to fight it and not even had a response from Amazon. I have requested my goods returned and will be closing me account and will never try to sell on Amazon again, way too much hassle.

    1. Hi Richard,

      I am so sorry to hear that! Yes, selling on Amazon can be difficult and frustrating at times. Use this as a learning experience and make sure the products you want to sell in the future do not have a patent.

  9. As someone who has sold on both Amazon and Ebay, yes, they do both have their advantage and disadvanages, but I think the winner would actually be Ebay. The issue that i had come into contact with is not only from the beginning did I have to get “verified” which took over 2 months long to even get paid, i’ve had non-stop issues with things going on with the account that I had no control over, despite being a private seller there. If a customer complained about something (and sometimes tried to scam the buyer to get a free item) Amazon just automatically rewards the customers and doesn’t really support the seller.

    I’ve never had that issue in Ebay and when there were a few times I had some people trying to scam me to return an item, Ebay had my back and protected me, where as Amazon seems to care less about it’s sellers. Sure, Amazon obviously has a bigger following now, but look at all of the recent issues with them as well. I still trust selling more on Ebay in the long run. This is just my opinion of course, but it’s also based off of my experience.

  10. Can ebay kick you off a listing if the brand tells ebay you can’t sell it? Or can a brand do an ip complaint about you selling their brand without their permission? Finally if either one of the previous questions is true, can you lose your selling privileges on ebay?

    1. Hey Jack,

      I have no clue! Never used eBay more than to sell a few products.

      However, I do know that eBay has 1/3 of the of the buyer traffic Amazon does (according to SimilarWeb) with (roughly 1.5m on Amazon vs 25m on eBay). So despite a few hurdles to get over with Amazon regarding IP which, honestly protects the customers and creates a greater experience anyways, in the end, there’s much more opportunity with Amazon. 🙂

  11. Yes however the problem with Adam is that their customer services is terrible to sellers. It’s beyond terrible. It’s possibly the worst customer service in the world when it comes to sellers.

    I had an Amazon seller account for a while that I used years ago to sell a couple of used textbooks. Then I didn’t use it anymore. Well, at some point Amazon decided to close my dormant account. I didn’t do anything wrong. There were no complaints. I had two books I sold, and two satisfied customers. Well when I went to reactivate it, they told me this wasn’t possible, but that I could open a new account associated with a new email address. I’ve been trying to do this for three weeks. I’ve spoken with about 100 people. I’ve spent hours and hours on the phone. Whenever I call Amazon seller support, they ask me to confirm who I am, my credit card info, etc. Then the say “your seller account is active”. I say “maybe so but I can’t log into it”. They say “did you change your password?” I say “yes – like 30 times, it still says ‘incorrect password.'” They say “let us change the password for you”. I say “ok – go ahead.” They send me a prompt to change my password, and, it still doesn’t work. Then they say “you need to talk with buyer support”. So I speak with buyer support, and buyer support says “sorry we can’t help you, it’s a problem with your seller account”. At one point they asked me to verify my identity, which I did but they never responded. In fact I sent in my ID and my bank statement in on five separate occasions, to five separate email addresses. I tried “[email protected]”. I tried “[email protected]” I tried the seller support email they gave me, as well as anything else I could think of. Yesterday I had a woman tell me “sir this will reactivate your original seller account, we will fix this, just wait 24 hours”. So I waited, but no word back today. Nothing. No response. I called back today and another woman tells me, “sorry sir since that seller account has been inactive for over 4 weeks, we cannot reactivate it”. It’s like you could talk to 20 different employees and get 20 different responses by Amazon seller support as to what’s going on. I asked the woman today if she was ever able to help anyone with a single problem, because to me it seems like the people that work there in the Philippines are given very, very little training and have a hard time understanding anything but elementary English. And the truth is, Amazon can shut down your seller account for any reason it feels like. It can do so because you sell too little product, or because someone filed a bogus complaint against you. You could be doing 1 million dollars in sales/day and if they decide to close you down, that’s it. There doesn’t have to be any rhyme or reason to it. Amazon can do whatever Amazon wants. They certainly don’t care about their sellers. In fact, I think they see sellers as an annoyance. I live in the Seattle area and after this experience, I truly hope that some other company comes along and leaves Amazon in the dust. I know it seems unlikely, but their customer service has so many holes in it, they deserve to fail. I detest this company. At this point, I give up. I think I’ll just set up a store on Etsy or Ebay or maybe my own website. Clearly, it’s not possible for me to set up an account. I even reached out to a couple of consulting firms that help people with Amazon. One of them responded “I can’t help you – you’re dealing with an endless walkabout”
    I’ve bought the Jungle Scout software. I’ve done tons of research over the last month. I found what looks like a good product to sell. It wasn’t a waste of time, but clearly, trying to deal with this insane brick wall of absolutely atrocious customer service, and I give up. It became crystal clear to me today that I could spend 1,000 years trying to get Amazon to give me a seller account, and they wouldn’t do it, because they have a rule that says once they’ve closed your account and it’s remained closed for a certain period of time, there is no act of God that will get them to reopen it. Amazon can go pound sand. I detest this company.

    1. Joe Smith, very worrying reading your story. I am a new seller from scratch, trying to learn up before entering into this field. Read so many positive story until yours. I think i need to study more before engaging.

  12. The one thing I like about ebay is you can produce your own quality of listing and photos, and add some personality to it. A lot of the times you simply put a barcode in on amazon and you list against a product amazon already have. So the advantage is you can list products a lot quicker, and for the beginner get started quicker, on amazon than ebay. The downside is you are listing against other suppliers so it tends to become a bit of a race to the bottom on price. Ebay is slightly cheaper than amazon, and if you become a higher rated seller you do get discount. The main difference I find is amazon will always back the buyer if there is a dispute, and as a retailer you are expected to pick up the loss, there attitude is you should be grateful you are selling on amazon. Whereas ebay I think tend to side with the seller, but are more even handed.

  13. This reads very biased towards amazon.
    The pro arguments on the final slate of amazon are unnecessarily blown up by listing “ownership of your products” twice! Plus adding a few points that are useless.
    Also, aren’t you owning your products on ebay, too?
    The hassle and huge $ loss due to with fba errors has been left out. In reality it is a big problem.
    The other hassle with having to babysit amazon so they reimburse you is another time consuming task.
    The third hassle or rather big risk is amazon suspending you at any time for any or no reason.
    The fourth hassle is fba tampering with your inventory.
    So yeah, I think this article is missing neutrality 😉

  14. Amazon and Ebay are time consuming in different ways. Selling used items is often more interesting to me, learning the history/provenance of items, more personal buyer contact, getting out locally to source. At a small business level (under 100K) Ebay is more hospitable and doable to me. Amazon is frustrating to deal with. I pray I never have an issue as a seller where I have to contact Amazon, getting caught up in their nonsense of scripted responses that don’t make any sense and take days, weeks, sometimes months to resolve, if they resolve. Amazon prides themselves on being customer centric, but they forget that third party sellers are also Amazon customers who they often treat very poorly.

  15. Your listing (hardwork+money) can be hacked on Amazon by listing hackers, while your listing is guaranteed safe on ebay.

  16. Your article really does not tell enough of the details. Amazon charges 39.99 per month to be able to participate in FBA. The freight is not discounted much better on Amazon than it is on ebay. If you do not participate in FBA (professional sellers account) you cannot determine what the charge for shipping would be. Amazon dictates what the shipping shall be. On ebay the shipping can be determined for each and every item, their shipping really works. If you get an order to ship to California and one to Maine or Florida, they will all be calculated from your origin (Correctly) and will be different if the selected carrier charges differently. On Amazon, all orders have the same shipping, even the professional seller accounts. You end up shipping three orders out to three different locations and you only get the same shipping charge for each and every one of them. Good luck trying to get paid what the shipping really costs you the seller for most orders on Amazon. The only shipping that is consistent is if you use USPS Priority Mail. Small Flat Rate Box Priority Mail, $7.20, Amazon charges the seller $6.50, ebay charges the seller $6.50. Where’s the better deal? Previous comment mentioned Amazon blocking sellers from offering certain items which happens a lot. They add restrictions at times as they go. Some items must be certified as to material content. It’s not as simple to sell on Amazon as this article made it seem. And the withholding of funds does go on for some time, longer than PayPal. Refunds are definitely a problem on Amazon as they honor products that are damaged from misuse and not from any defect. Yes the buyer has the A-Z guarantee, but Amazon passes the cost of that guarantee on to it’s sellers.

  17. Your writting needs to be updated. More than 80% sold on eBay is now NEW. There has been new improvements in past weeek and more to come. Oh I forgot you didn’t mention over half of Amazon is gated for new sellers.

  18. I sell on eBay. I buy on eBay and Amazon. Many times I found the exact same new item, same packaging and maybe even the same seller and eBay had the better price and equal guarantees and shipping times. For us, this is not a rarity.

  19. Big plus for eBay is that You are transferring money for fees to eBay and with Amazon You are that one who is waiting to be paid for. Amazon is quite often sitting on your money and you have to wait weeks and months to get your money from Amazon.

    1. Good insight, however you are incorrect about “weeks and months.” Amazon pays every other Wednesday. And they escrow your funds to account for fulfillment costs (which Ebay doesn’t have its own inhouse fulfillment), advertising so you don’t have to pay as you go and have a one time lump sum, and any refunds that Amazon will process on your behalf.

  20. The winner is Amazon, but only if you are buying from an authorized distributor and you can deal with all the scammers. Want to sell a name brand item, good luck as you will probably be blocked.

    Not new items (open box, used) eBay and Amazon are options if you are not blocked from selling on Amazon. This post forgets so much about selling on Amazon. It reads like it was 10 years ago when Amazon was easy.

    For the hobby seller, stick with eBay.

    1. Hey Jim that sells on both,

      Yes, Amazon is more advanced these days, although, still pretty easy if you just stick with the guidelines. Personally, I like Ebay more for buying wholesale products and selling “weird” stuff (I once sold a used breast pump and a Subaru owner’s manual on Ebay). And Amazon works best when you do your own brand, which, more or less, is what Amazon prefers to see versus selling someone else’s label and often competing directly with bib papa AMZ.

    2. Can you get kicked off a listing by because a brand complained your not allowed to sell their brand? or can they do an ip complaint to ebay and kick you off the listing that way and could that possibly make you lose your selling privileges on ebay?

  21. I realize the point of the article was to pick one in the end, but the right answer for the majority of sellers would be, sell on both.

    1. House,

      You make a good point. Although, our recommendation would be start with Amazon as it offers more resources for beginners (and typically higher returns). I, personally, have never had much success with Ebay beyond it being a great place to buy cheap stuff, but there are many who do find tons of success. 🙂

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