eBay Finds Small Businesses Optimistic About Holiday Sales


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eBay has released the results of its first U.S. Online Business Index (OBI), a new report that focuses on small business owners views across a variety of topics.

More than half (60%) of eBay small business owners surveyed said they are considerably optimistic about the future of their online businesses during the 2010 holiday season.

eBay-Business Nearly three-quarters (72%) expect their total online sales to increase during the holiday months of October through December. Similarly, in an Online Business Index survey of top eBay sellers in the United Kingdom, 62% agree that they expect the holiday months to be their busiest of the year despite the continued tough economic climate.

In a year-over-year comparison, the index also shows that 80% of U.S. OBI respondents expect to carry the same or more holiday inventory on eBay in 2010. Among these, 36 percent plan to increase their inventory through 2011 by up to 15 percent or more.

In forecasts for 2011 online sales, more than half (53%) of the OBI small businesses  plan to raise their sales targets from 2010. The majority of these respondents (66%) are targeting increases of up to 20%.

Highlights of mobile commerce include:

*73% of respondents say it is important to them that shoppers have the ability to browse and buy items on eBay using mobile devices

*60% say they are willing to adjust their eBay listings for easier viewing on mobile devices

When asked about the possibility of an Internet sales tax, 88 percent of respondents said they would not support it, and 81 percent said they would support a small business tax exemption if the proposal was put into law.

Key factors of small business sentiment include fear that an Internet sales tax would:

*Reduce the number of online transactions (74%)

*Reduce online small businesses’ out-of-state sales (69%)

*Make it difficult to maintain business profitability (69%)

*Negatively impact the U.S. economy (68%)