Recent research clearly demonstrates that eBay is in steady decline, with Craigslist picking up all the traffic they're losing. Meanwhile, Amazon is relying more and more on Christmas sales to boost its coffers.
Viewing data from the near 4-year graph derived from reserach at Citi Investments we see that in its coarsest terms that Craigslist is on a steady increase, growing from 15,000 unique monthly US visitors to around 50,000 in May this year; similarly eBay in the same period has shown a steady and equal decline from 75,000 in November 2006 to 50,000 in May 2010.
In the same period, Amazon grew from around 40,000 to 65,000. In particular, eBay suffered a major decline during their battle with vendors over a variety of terms of service changes. They really never recovered from that.
That's the simple story. The real saga is somewhat more interesting.
Please, look closely at the graph in the provided link then come back.
OK, it's now fresh in your mind.
Did you notice the substantial 'bump' that Amazon experienced every November and December? It sure looks a lot like Christmas shopping. Probably panic Christmas buying! But, a 25% increase in visitors every Yule is nothing to be sneezed at.
Note also that eBay had a similar bump in the last couple of years, but not before and nothing like as large as Amazon's. That would probably mesh with their recent expansion in promotional emails attempting to rev-up a variety of significant events.
Did you also notice that Craigslist doesn't appear to have heard of Christmas - their visitor activity shows no evidence of a Christmas bump at any time in the past four years?
Most interestingly, aside from the March to May 2008 slump at eBay (mostly due to other reasons) none of the three showed any real evidence of the famed Global Financial Crisis.
"Below is an actual message I received from an eBay seller FEARFUL I may post negative feedback because it took him 4 days to ship an item. This is eBay fear at its finest. Ebay pitting buyer against seller with ridiculous seller DSR performance policies."