Industry sector: Retail and wholesale

Ebay trader: What to sell

The 'perfect' item to sell on eBay is not too large or heavy to send, easy to package, difficult to damage and easy to photograph and describe.

You may know exactly what you intend to sell on eBay, maybe because you already sell these items from a traditional shop, or it may be that you are looking around for ideas to start up your eBay business. You may find that if you sell items that relate to one of your own interests, this will give you a head start because of the knowledge and enthusiasm you have about the products you sell. For example, if you're a climbing enthusiast you could look into selling climbing equipment and other outdoor gear.

Be aware that some items - like alcohol, tobacco, knives and fireworks - are prohibited by eBay policy. Other items, like food, are restricted under eBay policy because of the laws regulating their sale.


eBay started out as a collectors' trading site and collectables still feature very strongly on eBay. An online marketplace is an ideal outlet for people who trade in collectables. For example, there may be only a few hundred stamp collectors in a town - nowhere near enough to keep a shop going. But by selling on eBay a trader located anywhere in the country can reach many thousands of collectors throughout the UK and even around the world.

Some examples of the types of collectables that are popular on eBay include:

  • stamps
  • coins
  • sports memorabilia
  • antiquarian books
  • comics
  • bottles and pots
  • china
  • antique and collectable dolls, teddy bears and accessories
  • a wide range of memorabilia
  • general antiques and curios

Other popular items

A huge range of different things is available on eBay. Below are just some examples of popular items that are regularly traded on eBay:

  • books, particularly second-hand
  • business and computer supplies
  • DVDs, videos, computer games and recorded music
  • sports goods
  • clothing and accessories
  • household and garden goods

You might decide to sell a range of different things, depending on whatever you have available for sale at any particular time. Perhaps you will do house clearances and buy in job lots of goods which you then sell on eBay.

High value items

As a general rule, the higher the value of an item, the fewer people will be prepared to bid for it in an online auction. There are, however, some high value items that are regularly traded on eBay and which attract a significant number of bidders, for example:

  • cars, vans, motorhomes and motorcycles
  • antiques and fine art
  • jewellery and gemstones
  • high value consumer electronics
  • computers
  • expensive musical instruments

When trading high value items, it is particularly important to demonstrate to your buyers that you are an honest, professional trader. Offering written guarantees can be a good way of reassuring bidders.