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There was a time when eBay was the place to find rare goods. When Amazon’s strength as a logistics player started to hurt eBay’s bottom line, it seems like eBay tried to compete rather than pivot into their core-competency: a rare goods marketplace, not a dry goods store with anything and everything.

Two large startups, now eyeing IPOs, have filled in the gap in the marketplace that eBay could have just as easily owned.

On 14 January, its first day of trading, Poshmark popped. The peer-to-peer marketplace closed more than 140 per cent above listing price, valuing the company at $7.5 billion. It’s not the only one.

Competition in the resale and aftermarket categories has led to a rush of public filings and rumoured IPOs. The RealReal, luxury’s high-profile marketplace, was first, listing in 2019, although it is yet to report a profit despite collaborations with players such as Gucci and Burberry. Now competitors are jumping in as the pandemic hastens the shift to online shopping: consignment website Thredup confidentially filed for IPO in October (Crunchbase reported a series F funding round valued the business at $650 million in 2019). StockX, the five-year-old sneaker and streetwear platform known for its live-pricing model, raised $275 million in December, valuing the business at $2.8 billion, in what analysts have called “pre-IPO” behaviour. 

Vogue Business

While eBay maybe gun shy after it’s Close5 debacle, it could have just as easily purchased these startups, and integrated them into eBay’s back-end, much like Amazon did with Woot and Zappos. They are a incumbent auction website, a stalwart brand, and they will soon lose a generation of customers because they tried to compete with Amazon rather than cultivate their own market.