eBay providing unseen economy boost

Uncounted retail sales from online auction sites could be boosting the UK economy by £5bn a year

Households which use Internet auctions to get rid of their unwanted items can make up to £3,000 per year, according to new research, and this activity could be a major boon to the UK economy.

The Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) consultancy has predicted that more than one per cent of the UK's high street retail sales — that's some £4bn — will be spent through Internet sites such as eBay this year.

The government doesn't currently include the trading figures for eBay et al in its retail trade figures, meaning the boost to the UK economy coming from online auctions is going unrecorded and the UK high street could be growing faster than Whitehall's statisticians believe.

While selling through eBay may be a nice sideline for some, it has already become the livelihood of thousands of individuals. According to eBay, some 724,000 Americans now acquire their main source of income from eBay, while another 1.5 million dabble with the online marketplace.