An eCommerce powerhouse, eBay is no stranger when it comes to being a digital commerce trend setter. Known as the “go-to” site for selling pre-loved goods, eBay is once again at the helm of industry change by becoming this season’s sponsor of Love Island.

With fast fashion (AKA disposable fashion) quickly losing its appeal, especially among those 30 years old and younger, the timing of this sponsorship couldn’t have been better. The genius of eBay’s sponsorship of Love Island touches many facets of the fashion industry, with shoppers, big brands, sustainability and ethics making headlines across the globe. 

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Attracting more shoppers and big brand sellers

eBay is once again hitting the sweet spot of consumers. The launch episode of Love Island drew a whopping 425,000 viewers with 50 per cent in the 15-34 age demographic, and women aged 25 – 44 making up a notable 59 per cent

During the pandemic eBay made an impressive comeback, with shares up by more than 30 per cent in 2021. With a lion’s share of over 182 million active buyers on eBay, brands are once again turning their attention – and their budgets – to the eBay platform. eBay CEO Jamie Iannone, who rejoined eBay in April 2020, raves about the company’s transformation into an “enthusiast-focused retailer” as part of “a multi-year reimagining of eBay”. This reimagining hasn’t gone unnoticed by major brands such as Lego, Dyson, and Asus who are now opening eBay storefronts, leveraging it as a channel to sell direct to consumers (D2C). 

Putting sustainability and ethics in the spotlight 

eBay’s sponsorship of Love Island has brought the environmental impact of fast fashion to the forefront. At a high level, fast fashion is responsible for consuming 93 billion cubic metres of water and is to blame for approximately 20 per cent of industrial water pollution. In addition, fast fashion is dependent on synthetic fibres, which results in half a million tonnes of microfibres (equivalent to more than 50 billion plastic bottles) released into the ocean every year. 

Then, of course, there’s the clothing itself. Designed to be worn only a few times, most fast fashion ends up in a landfill. Unfortunately, the impact of fast fashion doesn’t end there. With no regard for human rights, textile and garment workers, including children, are forced to work excessive hours in sweatshop-like working conditions for little pay. As sustainability and ethics continue to make their mark on the fashion industry, brands are now re-evaluating their presence in the marketplace. Some fashion brands are onboarding more sustainable business practices such as offering pre-loved clothing alongside their slow fashions. Still other brands are repurposing pre-loved clothing by using them to create new garments. In the words of Jemma Tadd, head of fashion at eBay, “Our goal with this partnership is to get people to consider switching up their shopping habits with pre-loved fashion – whether that’s taking baby steps and adding one or two items to your wardrobe or selling something you no longer wear to make way for something else.”

The reimagining of eBay is becoming a reality 

The fashion industry isn’t the only change. eBay has and continues to raise its image by improving the sellers’ marketing and the shoppers’ buying experience through ongoing and continual investment in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

Unlike Amazon, sellers are free from the concern that eBay is monitoring their top-sellers, reproducing, or selling these goods at lower prices – which, of course, drives down profitability. Another step in their growing relevance is in eBay UK’s recent collaboration with Orange Connex. This partnership provides end-to-end fulfilment services for sellers, providing them with access to dedicated fulfilment centres where goods will be stored, packed, and delivered. 

Additionally, sellers now have access to faster delivery options, improved logistics management, more streamlined processes, and enhanced seller protection. The reimagining of eBay is becoming a reality, making them a serious contender for brands wanting to expand into different eCommerce marketplaces.