Craigslist, eBay & Amazon: 2008 Trending & Site Efficiency


I've always been struck by the different experiences Craigslist, Amazon and eBay offer. For certain needs and products, each has it's own positives / negatives. For instance, all of our household products (from toiletries to electronics to groceries) are purchased on Amazon; our time sensitive and high-value products are sold on Craiglist; and our unique products are bought / sold on eBay. As 2008 wraps up today, I plotted data from each of those big three against each other. The results are fascinating.

Unique Visitors

eBay entered 2008 more than twice the size of Craigslist and 33% larger than Amazon. But while eBay dropped significantly and Amazon flattened - Craigslist grew from less than 30m monthly uniques to over 40m... approaching the traditional big boys. But both eBay and Amazon saw huge growth in Q4 while Craigslist (which is not an ideal experience for end-of-season shopping) flattened. Interesting questions arise out of this:

- How large a role does holiday pricing and incentives play for Amazon and eBay? - Conceptually, eBay and Craigslist shouldn't see drastically different swings in Q4... so marketing budgets must be in play? - Will Amazon pass eBay in December (after a record month)?

Craigslist eBay Amazon Traffic

Pageviews per Visit

This is the most interesting analysis: Craigslist users view over 50 pages per session, eBay users ~25 and Amazon users ~12. A couple reasons why:

- First, listing on Craigslist has become increasingly more cumbersome. To list a single item can take over seven steps. The same can be said for eBay. - Second, the finding experience on Craigslist and eBay is predicated on hunting for values... back and forth through search results. - Meanwhile, Amazon is the king of targeted search results and streamlined purchasing

... which leads to me to conclude that this data is more of an example of efficiency than of stickiness. Amazon is more than twice as efficient as eBay and four times as efficient as Craigslist.

eBay Craigslist Amazon Pageviews

That same trend is evident in minutes spent on these sites per month. The trends are nearly identical and again speak to the efficiency of the sites:

eBay Craigslist Amazon Minutes