We test eBay vs Facebook selling prices – which wins?

Second-hand selling used to be all about eBay, but now local Facebook selling groups and the social network's Marketplace are hot on its heels. With Facebook, the best bit is there are NO fees, so you keep all the profit. Yet with eBay, you've a wider audience, as most Facebook sales are local.

We wanted to put it to the test, pitting eBay against Facebook (for a full how-to, see our 29 Facebook Selling Tips and 47 eBay Selling Tips guides). To get an idea, we spot-checked sold prices for 20 items, from trainers to Nutribullets and backpacks to buggies.

How we compared prices

Our test looked at a random sample of 20 items marked as sold on Facebook Marketplace and selling groups. We compared the price quoted on Facebook to the closing price of the most recently sold similar item on eBay, and deducted eBay's 10% standard fee.

This isn't an exact science though, and this was only a rough-and-ready spot-check, so there are a few things to bear in mind.

We only looked at Facebook sellers' asking prices. While we know when an item was sold, it's possible some buyers ended up negotiating a different price via private message.

Our sample of Facebook Marketplace items was limited, as listings often disappear when marked sold. And we only looked at the prices sellers got, not the likelihood of items selling, which is obviously an important consideration when you're working out where to flog your junk.

And the winner is...

All that said, here's what our spot-check found:

  • Facebook won for 14 out of 20 items, once fees were factored in. From sandals to pressure washers, it seems the social network regularly beats eBay's sold prices. (See the full research below.)
  • eBay's fees had a big impact. Our spot-check highlighted how fees eat profits. For example, a Fisher-Price Jumperoo toy sold for £26 on eBay and £25 on Facebook. Yet after fees, the eBay seller earned just £22.40.
  • Some sellers underprice items on Facebook. One thing to be wary of on Facebook is pricing your goods too low, as there's no auction to drive up prices. So a pink Victoria's Secret backpack was snapped up for £15 on Facebook. Yet an identical bag listed on eBay had a starting price of £6, but ultimately fetched £31 after 21 bids. After fees, that's an extra £12.55 profit. So whatever you're flogging, benchmark prices first.
  • All sorts can sell on Facebook. As a general rule, we found baby and kids' items were often a hit. But it seems it's possible to shift anything from tents to running trainers.

    Our spot check only looked at sold items, so bear in mind there's probably much that did not sell. And of course, you've nothing to lose from sticking something on Facebook, then popping it on eBay if you don't get any interest.

The results in full

If you want to see the full set of results, here's what our spot-check found:

eBay vs Facebook – which wins?

Item Facebook asking price (1) eBay sold price, minus fees (2)
Airgo Nimbus 8 tent £650 £279.90
Asics running trainers £30 £44.10
Babyliss Curl Secret styler £25 £34.84
Belstaff biker boots £99 £28.40
Boden owl coat £14 £10.80
Ergobaby nursing pillow £7 £13.20
Feather & Black day bed £55 £45
Fisher-Price Jumperoo toy £25 £22.40
Ikea Besta TV stand £20 £18
Ikea Mydal bunk bed £100 £33.30
Karcher K2 pressure washer £45 £18.90
Micro Scooter £25 £17.10
Nutribullet Magic Bullet £25 £26.99
Phil & Teds pushchair £20 £45
Ralph Lauren child's coat £20 £13.99
Salt-Water sandals £20 £9.15
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge £90 £76.15
Sleepyhead cot £45 £36
Tefal Actifry £40 £32.30
Victoria's Secret rucksack £15 £27.55

Based on a random sample of 20 items. (1) Test looked at sellers' asking prices – buyers may have paid different amounts via private messages. (2) Most recently sold similar item on eBay after 10% selling fee.