eBay, PayPal, Skype by the Numbers

On reviewing my notes from last week’s eBay DevCon and eBay Live, some interesting numbers came out in the various sessions:

  • eBay: last year sold a “Gross Merchandise Value” of $44B, representing 14% of all ecommerce on the Net.
  • PayPal’s highest growth is in “off-Ebay” commerce. Last quarter (Q1-06) “Off-eBay” transactions grew by 59% while overall PayPal growth grew by 43% to $8.8 billion of transactions. On PayPal $1.5 billion of stored value is turned over every three weeks.
  • Skype, in Q1 of 2006, provided infrastructure for 6.9 billion minutes of long distance calling; representing 7% of all long distance call minutes worldwide.


  • eBay – 30,000 whose work contributes to 25% of all eBay transactions
  • PayPal – 2,500 supporting 350,000 web integrators
  • Skype – 3,500 delivering 350 applications and over 400 hardware devices

As mentioned previously, eBay developers and Skype developers have two totally differentiated motivations: eBay developers serve as micro-IT departments to eBay resellers producing customized Seller websites while Skype developers produce Skype-embedded applications for resale to the general public.

User numbers:

  • eBay answers 22 billion SQL queries per day across 2 Terabytes of data storage.
  • Last weekend eBay passed 200 million registered members (only four nations have larger populations: China, India, U.S. & Indonesia)
  • 1.3 million eBay sellers rely on their eBay activity as their primary or secondary source of income
  • 15,000 eBay Sellers registered for eBay Live; this was the first time it was sold out (and two weeks before the event at that).
  • PayPal services 105 million accounts in 50 countries; PayPal provides the payment mechanism for 67% of eBay transactions. (PayPal has more accounts that Amex and Discover combined.)
  • Shopping.com has 40 million products in their “catalog”
  • Skype (as we can see every morning around 11 a.m. Eastern Time), now supports over 6.5 million concurrent users on its peer-to-peer backbone.


  • To support the conversation on localization triggered by Nicole Simon (with comments by Scoble and Segal) on what it takes to build international markets for products, 72% of Skype users use one of the 26 non-English versions of Skype. (Nicole, can we assume you are a heavy Skype user?)
  • PayPal currently supports seven currencies in 50 countries with a goal to support 20 currencies in 100 countries within the next six months.
  • 15% of all eBay transactions are across international borders.

Implications for Skype:

  • It was readily apparent that eBay resellers have little or no knowledge of Skype. In fact, recruiting eBay resellers would be a good test of Skype’s ability to appeal to a non-technical consumer market. Apparently Meg Whitman’s speech Tuesday evening generated lots of interest at the Skype eBay Live booth for the next couple of days.
  • eBay Sellers and Buyers also provide potential customers for Skype Partner products such as Skylook, Unyte’s web conferencing or any of the USB phone hardware. Will be interesting to see if, for instance, eBay Resellers develop Power Point (or equivalent) presentations to complement their Skype communications activity with desktop sharing. (More to support one-on-one conversations with prospective premium product customers as opposed to doing webinars.)
  • As a two way payment mechanism, Skype has the potential to provide communications support for the PayPal trust network for monetizing any transaction activity whether it be loyalty programs, contextual advertising placement and response, expert services (such as JyvePro) or exchanging real value for a virtual currency (as is currently available with Second Life).

Skype Journal would like to acknowledge the assistance of Multi-Link, Inc. in facilitating our attendance at eBay Live.

About Jim Courtney

Bringing over thirty years' experience in the sales, marketing and management of cutting edge technology businesses.

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