It started from humble beginnings as a software programmer’s hobby, but has since grown into one of the world’s biggest e-commerce firms.
The auction site we all know and love is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
Yep, eBay has been flogging our unwanted Christmas gifts, picking us up designer shoes at bargain prices and helping us get in touch with our entrepreneurial sides for two decades now.
Here are 12 things you need to know as eBay celebrates its 20th Anniversary.
- eBay first launched in the US in September 1995, when computer programmer Pierre Omidyar listed a broken laser pointer pen as his first item for sale – and being stunned to find a buyer.
- The site first arrived in Europe in 1999 – and a three-track CD by German rock group The Scorpions became the first ever item sold in the UK at £2.89.
- The most expensive item sold was a Frank Mulder-designed gigayacht, auctioning for $168 million (£109.8 million) in 2006 to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.
- eBay has sold enough paintings to fill the Louvre more than 45 times, including artwork by artists such as Picasso, Warhol, Rembrandt, Dali and Banksy.
- Around 25 million sellers and 157 million buyers are signed up to the online auction shop, which has a stock market value of more than $32 billion (£21 billion).
- Since 2007, eBay has sold more than 241 million pairs of shoes worldwide and enough wristwatches to line the way from Athens to Brussels when laid end to end.
- On Christmas Day 2014, eBay saw listings for tablets and iPads shoot up 43% and listings for perfume increase by 300%, as people rushed to sell their unwanted presents during the Queen’s Speech.
- But it isn’t just unwanted gifts flogged on the site, people have (somewhat controversially) been posted for sale too.
The list is somewhat extensive but includes a word search-loving (but extremely moany) granny who was put for auction as a joke by her 10-year-old granddaughter, a Brazilian student offering her virginity and, erm, footballer Raheem Sterling…
- There are more than 2,000 eBay millionaires in Britain, alone as savvy sellers – from so-called mumpreneurs to graduates – tap into the site’s unique market where there’s a buyer for almost anything.
- Those who like the finer things in life (for a much cheaper price tag) are able to buy garments worn by the likes of Kim Kardashian, Ryan Gosling and Katy Perry themselves.
eBay’s “Giving Works” allows stars to post their listings on the site, with a portion of their sales going straight to their chosen charity.
- eBay for Charity launched in the UK in 2006 and has raised close to £90 million, including more than £80,000 for Princess Beatrice’s hat (dubbed “the pretzel”) from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding, and over £3,500 for a bow tie worn by One Direction’s Harry Styles.
- There’s a dedicated page to bizarre sells to cater to the more zany customers, conveniently called “Weird Collectable Stuff”. Present offers including a preserved alien in a jar, a haunted vintage doll and a bunch of sheep bones (to satisfy all your voodoo ritual desires).