Brussels (OTS) - Small and medium-sized enterprises on eBay in the European Union are growing at a record pace, according to a new survey conducted for eBay by ACNielsen International Research. More than 170,000 people in the European Union now rely on eBay sales as their primary or a secondary source of income.

"eBay is a significant enabler of economic opportunity in Europe," eBay President and CEO Meg Whitman told a press conference in Brussels today to announce the results. "At a time when Europe is striving to create jobs and promote small businesses, this survey shows that the Internet allows European SMEs and entrepreneurs to compete and succeed in the global market."

The online survey found 170,732 people depend on eBay for approximately one-quarter of their income, while more than 88,427 earn roughly three-quarters or more through their eBay sales. The survey covered sellers in the eleven markets in the European Union where eBay has a website, namely Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK, as well as its new marketplaces in Ireland, Poland and Sweden.

"The survey reveals that small businesses in the eBay community are growing, demonstrating how our thriving marketplace of buyers and sellers actively encourages and facilitates SME entrepreneurship," Whitman added.

The findings also indicate eBay’s positive impact on the SME workforce with 29 percent of eBay SMEs (each employing an average of 9.4 employees) stating they will hire more staff during the next two years. eBay’s influence in the SME market can also be seen in other areas, with 70 percent of eBay sellers citing that eBay positively contributes to their success by facilitating cross-border trade, helping to increase sales and improving

"eBay gives our large community of SMEs access to a global market which allows them to grow their businesses beyond what many of them thought possible," said Philipp Justus, senior vice president and general manager, eBay Europe. "We now have nearly 50 million users in Europe, a 25 percent increase in just 12 months, reinforcing our belief that Europe represents an expanding and exciting market for business and consumer sellers alike."

EU leaders will meet in approximately six weeks in Brussels to review the progress being made towards achieving the Lisbon objective of making Europe the most competitive, knowledge-based economy in the world by 2010. "The results of this survey certainly reveal a dynamism that will play a key role in helping achieve this objective," Justus said.

eBay’s first European Small Business Summit, which takes place Feb. 7-8 in Brussels, will bring together one top seller from each market in the EU in which eBay operates, MEPs from these countries, and eBay executives from both Europe and the U.S. to demonstrate how eBay has become a viable and relevant source of employment and entrepreneurship in Europe.

Survey Methodology

A two-part online survey was conducted by ACNielsen International Research for eBay. The details of the survey are as follows:

- The online questionnaire surveyed a representative random sampling of 3,864 eBay sellers whose trading volume has reached a certain minimum within the last 12 months. This trading volume varied in each of the eleven markets, depending on the size of the national market, the average revenue and the age of the eBay operation. The cut-off volume, therefore, ranged
from roughly Euro8,000 in Spain to Euro13,000 in the UK.

- The survey was carried out in two parts. The survey of German sellers was conducted from September 16 - 26, 2005, and the survey for the other 10 aforementioned countries was conducted from December 2 - 16, 2005.

- The survey has a margin of error of +/-1.6%.

About eBay

Founded in 1995, eBay created a powerful platform for the sale of goods and services by a passionate community of individuals and businesses. On any given day, there are millions of items across thousands of categories for sale on eBay. eBay enables trade on a local, national and international basis with customized sites in markets around the world. Through an array of services, such as its payment solution provider PayPal, eBay is enabling global e-commerce for an evergrowing online community. eBay has 181 million registered users worldwide of which Europeans represent nearly 50

Editor’s Note:

Details from the survey and photos from the press conference will be available from 15:00 CET/14:00 GMT on February 7.

Rückfragen & Kontakt:

At Burson-Marsteller Brussels (for eBay):
Elizabeth de Bony
+32 (0) 477 38 18 32

Julie Valente
+32 (0) 497 53 87 37

Media Contacts:
At eBay:
Peter Burin
+32 (0)473 53 10 97