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Boom in businesses selling on Amazon, eBay and Google

  • Sharp rise of businesses joining GS1 UK to sell their products via online marketplaces, up 300% annually
  • Amazon is the top choice for three quarters of GS1 UK’s members looking to sell on marketplaces
  • More than £1 billion of goods are expected to be sold online on Cyber Monday

London, 27 November 2017 - There has been a surge of businesses joining GS1 UK to sell their products via online marketplaces.

The number of business joining membership organisation GS1 UK to secure their unique identification numbers in order to trade on sites such as Amazon, Google Shopping, and eBay has jumped 300% year-on-year.

More than 2,400 businesses joined GS1 UK, the supply chain standards organisation, to sell via online marketplaces in 2017, compared to 800 in 2016 and 450 in 2015.

Amazon is the most popular online market place for new joiners with 75% looking to sell on the site, while 41% are looking to use eBay.

The average revenue of business joining GS1 UK to use online marketplace has fallen 15% year-on-year, from £1.3m in 2016 to £1.1m in 2017 as more small businesses look to sell products via third-party platforms.

The growth in the use of online marketplaces looks set to continue with more than half (53%) of UK retailers planning to do more business through online marketplaces in the next five years. Just 3% of business plan to use online marketplaces less often and 24% said they don’t use these third-party platforms now and have no intention of starting.

Monica Bird, Head of Marketplaces for GS1 UK, said: 
“Online marketplaces are fast becoming the top choice for businesses looking to sell their products around the world. Many SMEs are now choosing these sites as their first route to market, with some using them as their only sales channel, as they provide access to millions of consumers, without the costs of developing their own website.

“While online marketplaces offer businesses the chance to increase exposure and sales, each site is different and comes with its own unique capabilities. Businesses must ensure they use a tailored strategy each site to increase profits and make to most of the opportunities available.”

Today (Cyber Monday) will be one of the biggest shopping days of the year for online marketplaces, with retailers offering significant discounts on their products. Last year, consumers spent £1.1 billion shopping online on Cyber Monday.

GS1 UK has also published new research into the personas of businesses using online marketplaces, and how businesses can get the most out of these sites: The rise of UK’s digital entrepreneurs: harnessing the power of online marketplaces.

The research found that small businesses make up the majority of traders using online marketplaces to sell their goods. Businesses also had different motivations for using third-party platforms, such as being their only sales channel or using online marketplaces as a testing ground for new products.

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Small business case studies

Zakera Kali, founder of Peace & Blessings, said“We considered an online marketplaces as one of our first routes to market. It's a great way to test the market with your products and the support you have from the marketplace can make your online e-commerce journey a lot easier. Since we are a luxury brand, we benefit from the exposure and association of our brand to curated or niche marketplaces who are targeting the same audience as we are.”

Jay Sagoo, Director of Paw Soulz, said: "As a start-up, having an online presence was absolutely essential for business growth. After all, everything everyone from our lawyers and graphic designers to our product suppliers and learning materials were sourced from online."

Catherine Curtis, founder of BabyHub, said: "Online marketplaces allow us to display our products to a mass audience, to respond to customers' concerns, and to sell – while maintaining a reasonable margin."

Notes to editors

Research based on GS1 UK member data. Businesses join GS1 UK to ensure their products meet the global standards needed to help their businesses grow. GS1’s unique identifying numbers and barcodes are the most widely used in the world – by over two million members in 150 countries.

About GS1 UK

For further information or requests for interviews, please contact Tim Haidar: 020 7092 3584 /

GS1 UK is a community of over 33,000 members working in retail, foodservice, healthcare and more. GS1 UK is one of 112 independent, not-for-profit GS1 organisations operating across 150 countries worldwide. GS1 UK helps everyone involved in making, moving and trading goods, automate and standardise their supply chain processes using the common language of GS1 global standards.