Open Thread-Is art on eBay over?

Smallest Painting on eBay by Jim Harrington
Smallest Painting on eBay by Jim Harrington

I got a rather meaty set of questions in my inbox the other day from EBSQer Catherine LaChance. I’m re-posting it here (with her permission) :

Hi Amie!

I have a question. I was wondering if the “old” ways of selling art on eBay are obsolete. It seems there have been many changes since the past few years, and I used to successfully sell art on eBay, while nowadays it’s harder.

A few years ago, I used to put EBSQ in my title – nowadays, it seems almost nobody does that anymore. Also, I used to add watermarks to all my pictures. Is it still a thing to do?

I saw that my big paintings aren’t selling, but if I sell ACEO’s, they seem to be the most popular format and they sell better. Are there still people (for example in the EBSQ Juried category) who still start their art at 99$ and sell? Or are we now reduced to sell ACEO’s only?

I know I’m asking “big” questions, it’s just that I’m a bit confused as to how the art market has changed on eBay.

Can you tell me if what I’ve been observing is right?

Thank you!


So–I figured you all are smarter about this sort of thing than I am since I’ve been on an active-selling hiatus for a while and all of my knowledge is second hand.  I’ve heard a lot from former eBayers who are now selling their originals almost exclusively on Etsy, via their EBSQ portfolios, their personal websites, etc. But what about those of you who have stuck it out at eBay? What’s it like out there? Any strategies you’d like to share for finding success on eBay without going broke in the process? Or is the heyday of great sales for independent artists on eBay finally at an end?


4 thoughts on “Open Thread-Is art on eBay over?

  1. Sales (in my experience on ebay) are going to artists who are constantly visible, or have been there for an extended period of time – in a word established, with a huge following. Then you have to pay for featured listings, (it’s all in the upgrades baby), to really get your art seen. I also see artists start their art at prices where they can take a loss sometimes – everyone is looking for a deal, and bidders have gotten smart to the swoop.

    I for one would rather keep more profit for myself, when your ebay fees can total more than your profits – something is wrong with the system.

    Don’t get me wrong, I will still sell on ebay from time to time, but no more store, and no constant listings. That said, on ebay I will fade away and be forgotten except by my die hard fans.

    I’m ok with that.

  2. There’s no question eBay *was* a great place to sell original art. When I was an active seller there 5 years ago, I could easily start my work in the $150-300 range and easily get multiple bids. And I see artists who have stayed the course with an established following, such as long-time EBSQer Jasmine Becket Griffith still doing excedingly well there. She supliments her large-scale originals with ACEO originals and varying sizes of repros of her most popular work. The diversity is good for her bottom line as well as good for buyers who want to own her work at various pricepoints.

    Consistency has always been the key at eBay. List regularly. List consistentally good work. Establish good conversations with past customers. Blog the heck out of your work. Listing a piece here or there is not going to cut it, especially in this market. I guarantee that if I popped up on eBay today with the same work I listed 5 years ago I would not get the same prices I did then, especially not right away. And this is a VERY iffy market to be sticking the toe back into those waters. Competition is fierce, fees have gone up exponentially, and buyers are looking for bargains. But if you’re determined and willing to put in the work (and money) it takes to get truly established there, it can be done!

  3. I’ve never been successful listing on eBay but I have on Etsy. I think eBay is oversaturated with good and bad art. I’ve tried about 5 or 6 times over the years and haven’t sold a thing.

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