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E-commerce experienced a “quantum shift” and there’s no going back, says senior eBay executive

Ilya Kretov, who leads the online marketplace’s operations in roughly 200 countries, said people everywhere formed new shopping habits during the pandemic

CTech | 13:15  09.03.2021

Ilya Kretov, General Manager of Global Emerging Markets at eBay, experienced the 2020 e-commerce revolution brought about courtesy of the Covid-19 pandemic from a unique perspective. As the person in charge of the online marketplace’s operations in roughly 200 countries, including China, Russia, and also Israel, he described the developments of the past year as a “quantum shift.”

“Basically what happened this past year was that all of the forecasts and all of the analytics were wrong. In the U.S. e-commerce jumped a year and a half ahead. In European countries, especially the emerging European countries, it jumped three years ahead of all the forecasts. We’re seeing a huge inflow of new buyers and new sellers into the e-commerce ecosystem,” he said in an interview during Calcalist’s 2021 Forecast Conference.

“It has probably been one of the most successful years over recent times. Globally, eBay grew by close to 30% each quarter,” Kritov said, stressing the increase in people coming into the online shopping space for the first time because of the pandemic restrictions that prevented people from conducting traditional trade. “In Israel alone, we see a 31% increase in sellers compared to 2019, with 16,000 new sellers beginning to trade.”

He noted that there has been a natural decrease since the e-commerce surge of the start of lockdowns, but that the numbers had stabilized at an “encouraging” higher level. “I think people will keep on buying. They try it once and get into the habit. They see it’s coming in and they keep buying it.” He noted that not all countries were at an as advanced stage of vaccinations as Israeli is and that many places are still experiencing lockdowns and figures remain in flux.

“What I am seeing in multiple studies… is that 70% to 80% of people are saying they will continue their online shopping behavior (after the pandemic) and the same goes for the sellers. You were forced to do the shift of going into marketplaces, getting to know them, getting to know what eBay Is about and how to work with that, and then you see the revenue stream coming in. It’s silly to stop the revenue stream that is coming into your business, so I think that from that point they will just extend their activity.”

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