Online marketplaces helping SME owners reinvest in their local communities

A new study has assessed the impact of online marketplaces in creating economic opportunities that empower small-business owners and entrepreneurs.

eBay’s Global Marketplace Index (GMI) revealed that the opportunity to sell through online marketplaces has enabled SME owners to contribute to the development of their local communities while also allowing them to feel financially secure in their venture.

The study illustrated that online marketplaces have had a positive impact on local communities in the United States. Nearly half (44 per cent) of U.S. small-business owners say that selling through online marketplaces allows them to keep their physical stores open. When asked how the additional income has helped them, 23 per cent responded that they were able to reinvest in their communities. 33 per cent of U.S. small businesses, with annual marketplace sales greater than $200K, use this income to reinvest in their community.

“It’s fantastic to see that small-business owners… are able to leverage online marketplaces…to support their day-to-day financial and familial needs,” Marni Levine, Vice President Seller Operations and Engagement at eBay, said.

“Since the company’s earliest days, eBay has viewed e-commerce as a gateway to economic empowerment for entrepreneurs and small businesses by providing a pathway to reach new buyers online with little barrier to entry, regardless of size, background or geographic location.”

The survey also found that the majority of U.S. small-business owners (69 per cent) claim their income has improved compared to before selling through marketplaces and over 50 per cent say that selling through eBay or other online marketplaces expands their reach so that a majority of their sales come from outside their local community.

2500 small online business owners were surveyed across five countries (United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia and South Korea). The GMI identifies five universal dimensions as drivers of empowerment – Lifestyle Impact, Financial Security, Financial Growth, Marketplace Tools and Business Environment. Each dimension is equally weighted at 20 points, resulting in a maximum index score of 100 points.

Each country scored above 80 in the GMI, which illustrated that small businesses are greatly empowered by selling through marketplaces.

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