Etsy Vs. eBay For Side Hustle to Make Money

By Scott Voelker •  Updated: 06/05/23 •  8 min read

Over the last couple of years, the popularity of side hustles as a way to make money has steadily risen.

Working a second job or getting a side hustle is now seen as a viable option for supplementing income or even as a primary source of income in some cases. 

With technology advancing and more people accessing the internet, online side hustles have become very popular. 

This has made sites like eBay and Etsy attractive to entrepreneurs. But which platform is the best fit for your needs? 

This blog post will examine each site, listing their pros and cons and outlining which site might be better suited to what type of seller. 

Etsy Vs eBay logos

An Overview of Etsy and eBay 

Etsy: Etsy is known as handmade and craft heaven. It's where sellers go to showcase their skills for making various items and where sellers go for unique items. 

eBay: on the other hand, is more like an online attic. You can find almost anything on the site ranging from new clothes to vintage toys and memorabilia from the days gone. 

Customer Base 

In the world of online crafts and handmade goods, you may be aware of Etsy as the haven for it all. This has garnered the attention of a mostly American audience looking for unique items that, most of the time, are handmade.

In fact, in 2020, the site attracted 81.9 million buyers. 

On the other hand, eBay is where customers go for just about anything, new and old. The customer base is also largely American. However, there are other customers from other countries as well. The site saw 159 million buyers worldwide in 2021.

Shipping For both Retail Giants 

Shipping through Etsy offers significant advantages, making it a worthwhile option for sellers.

Etsy provides sellers with discounted postage labels for carriers like USPS, FedEx, and Canada Post. This allows sellers to ship their products at a lower cost than shipping directly with carriers, saving money.

Additionally, Etsy enables sellers to create, edit, and bulk edit delivery profiles, streamlining the shipping process and saving time.

These profiles can be customized to automate shipping settings, ensuring consistent and efficient shipping practices.

On eBay, sellers often face significant pressure to provide free shipping as a competitive advantage.

However, it's crucial to consider that offering free shipping comes at your own expense and should be factored into your listing pricing.

While not everyone can afford to offer free shipping, it's worth noting that a majority of purchases made on eBay (71%) include free shipping. 

However, eBay simplifies the shipping process for its sellers by offering a range of valuable shipping tools and capabilities. 

These include offering free Co-Branded Shipping Supplies, allowing sellers to ship their items internationally, and providing sellers with the flexibility to offer shipping discounts, set flat rates, or even provide free shipping to buyers

A man holding a box in an office setting


At a glance, eBay appears more appealing to new sellers due to its enticing offer of up to 50 free listings per month as an incentive.

However, when it comes to fees, Etsy offers a more predictable structure compared to eBay.

While Etsy consistently requires listing fees, these fees are well-defined and standardized, providing sellers with clear expectations. On the other hand, eBay's fees can vary significantly, as they are determined by various factors specific to each seller.

At the most basic level, each item listed on Etsy incurs a fee of $0.20, for both the initial listing and subsequent renewals.

Listings are automatically renewed every four months (or when they are sold) unless manually terminated by the seller.

To learn more about exactly how Etsy fees work and calculate what they would be for your product, you'll want to check this article out here.

eBay imposes monthly and annual fees on sellers, the specific amounts of which vary depending on several factors. These factors include the quantity and type of listings published, the volume of items sold, and any advanced listing options purchased.

The payment of eBay fees can be made automatically or through one-time payments, offering sellers flexibility in managing their financial obligations.

It's important to note that the fees on eBay can differ significantly between casual sellers and those who operate an eBay store.

A man holding his phone sitting at his desk

The Seller Experience 

The seller experience differs on eBay and Etsy.

eBay is competitive, while Etsy is communal.

eBay requires sellers to stand out in a competitive marketplace, while Etsy emphasizes collaboration among sellers.

eBay provides advanced tools, while Etsy focuses on tools for artisans and small businesses.

Factors To Consider When Deciding Between Etsy and eBay:

When deciding between Etsy and eBay, consider the following factors:

Nature of the products being sold:

Etsy is ideal for handmade, vintage, and craft-related items with a personalized touch. eBay is suitable for many products, including new, used, and collectible items.

Personal preferences and skills:

If you enjoy the artistic process and are passionate about handmade products, Etsy may be a better fit.

EBay might be more appealing if you prefer a diverse range of products and enjoy the excitement of auctions.

Time and effort required for managing the side hustle:

Etsy may require more time and effort to create and fulfilling custom orders.

eBay may involve more time managing listings, responding to buyer inquiries, and promptly shipping products.

Competition and saturation in the respective platforms:

Evaluate each platform's competition and market saturation level in your specific product category. Consider whether your unique offerings can stand out in a crowded marketplace or if there is untapped potential.

Long-term growth potential and scalability:

Assess the scalability of your side hustle on each platform and the potential for long-term growth.

Determine if the platform aligns with your goals, such as building a brand, expanding product lines, or reaching new markets.

So Which Platform is Better As an Income Generator?

Ultimately, deciding which platform best suits your needs depends on what you intend to sell. If you're selling handmade products or vintage goods, Etsy may be the better option, as its specialized marketplace is designed to give those products more visibility. 

On the other hand, if you're selling various items such as electronics, books, and collectibles, then eBay may be more appropriate.

Its wider selection makes it easier for buyers to find what they want.

Pros of Selling On Etsy and eBay

Advantages of selling on Etsy 

Red sale ribbons scattered across a black table

Advantages of selling on eBay 

Disadvantages of selling on Etsy or eBay 

Despite the many pros both of these e-commerce giants offer, they also come with their own disadvantages. 

  1. For starters, sellers need to be aware of the fees, taxes, and shipping costs associated with their business operations. These expenses can add up rather fast and eat into potential profits. 
  2. Furthermore, the time required to run operations effectively includes customer service, product inventory, and fulfillment. 
  3. Another con is the risk of loss or theft due to fraud or damaged goods in transit. This is usually out of your control as, in most cases, you entrust a third-party company to ship the order to the customer. 

All this is to say whether you choose one company over the other, you must be aware of the potential cons. While one company might seem favorable over the other, you must take all of the above considerations to ensure that your side hustle becomes something that generates an income and not the opposite.

Good luck!

Scott Voelker

Over the years I’ve helped thousands of people TAKE ACTION to UNLOCK their true potential on building their ultimate freedom business, by developing the skills to make them resilient, confident and FUTURE PROOF. I’ve clocked my 10,000 hours over the years working in the trenches myself and helping others build and grow their brands. I know the power in TAKING ACTION better than anyone and I’ve seen people lives changed as a result of it...including my OWN!