Since I put out a lot of information about reselling online, I often get the question “Is Mercari better than eBay?” So I thought I’d write a post breaking down Mercari vs eBay and let you decide for yourself.
When it comes to online marketplaces, there are a few big names that come to mind. eBay and Mercari are two of the most popular, but which is better? In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of each platform and help you decide which is the better choice for you.
Note: This post is sponsored by my favorite reseller tool, Vendoo, and contains affiliate links. Although Vendoo is sponsoring this post, all opinions are mine and I only work with companies I have experience with and genuinely recommend.
What are Mercari and eBay?
Both Mercari and eBay are online selling marketplaces where people can sign up to buy or sell items. They are pretty similar in that sense, but they function quite differently when it comes to actually buying and selling on the platforms.
Ebay is the older of the two and has been around since 1995 while Mercari (a Japanese selling platform) didn’t get started until 2013 and expanded to the United States in 2014. Because of this eBay is more widely known, however, Mercari is really starting to gain popularity due to its simplicity. But I’ll go more into the similarities and differences shortly.
The main point is that both eBay and Mercari are popular online marketplaces where you can buy and sell almost anything from video games to designer clothes to toys and household items. But is Mercari better than eBay for sellers? Let’s take a deeper look.
What are the similarities between Mercari and eBay?
When it comes to Mercari vs eBay, there are quite a few similarities. Here are a few of the biggest ones:
- Both platforms allow you to sell almost anything
- You can sell both new and used items
- There are seller fees associated with listing and selling items
- Both have buyer and seller protection policies in place
- Both have a feedback/review system
There are a lot of things that are similar when it comes to Mercari and eBay, but what we really want to look at today is the difference and which is actually better for sellers to make money reselling online.
What are the differences between Mercari and eBay?
There are a few key ways in which Mercari and eBay differ. Although they’re both online selling marketplaces, they have different policies, fees, and processes when it comes to buying and selling items.
Here are a few of the biggest ways Mercari and eBay differ:
- eBay allows you to sell via auction while Mercari does not
- Mercari is available in the United States and Japan while eBay is available in over 100 countries
- Mercari has a flat fee across all categories and eBay has a more complicated fee structure
- eBay allows you to have your own storefront (for a fee) which offers features like markdowns
- Mercari is completely free to list on and only charges a fee when something sells, while eBay will charge a fee after a certain number of listings (250 for most accounts) regardless of if they sell
- You can pay to promote your listings on eBay which isn’t something you can do on Mercari
- Mercari has a more simplified/easy to use shipping structure, but eBay’s is more customizable
Pro Tip: Sell on BOTH
Before I go on, I’m going to give you a little spoiler. I think that once you get started and feel confident in what you’re doing, you should sell on both if you want to increase your sales. I personally cross-list most of my items on eBay, Mercari, and Poshmark with Vendoo to ensure I’m making as much as I can with the inventory I have. You can learn more about crossposting here if that’s something you want to look into. I highly recommend it if you’re serious about your reselling business, even if it’s just a side hustle.
Now let’s get to ranking Mercari vs eBay in a few important categories.
Mercari vs Ebay: Ranking the Criteria
This wouldn’t be a very good post if I didn’t go over the top criteria and rank both Mercari and eBay to see which one is better in each category. Below you’ll find basic information about each category or feature along with which one comes out on top.
Traffic & Potential Buyers
Since eBay has been around for decades longer, it makes sense that they have a much bigger user base and higher traffic coming to the website. But keep in mind that this also means more sellers to compete with. However, the proof is in the sales for me and I personally sell much more on eBay than I do on Mercari. Below you’ll find a comparison of my revenue and profit based on selling platform and you can see that I sell much more on eBay than I do on Mercari. Most resellers who sell on both platforms will tell you the same and it’s simply because there are more potential buyers on eBay.
Mercari definitely has the edge when it comes to the listing process. eBay’s listing process is still pretty clunky and tedious when you compare it to Mercari. Mercari is easy to list on whether you’re using the website or the Mercari app. Meanwhile, eBay’s mobile app is much more complex (and a little frustrating if we’re being honest) and I prefer using the website to list. All in all, eBay probably has probably double the form fields to fill out to list an item so it takes a bit longer.
Comparing shipping rates is pretty complicated because the way they approach shipping is pretty different. But let me do my best to explain.
For shipping on Mercari, you have two options: ship with a Mercari label or ship on your own. If you ship on your own, your buyer simply gets free shipping so you need to make sure to build your shipping cost into your listing price.
If you ship with a Mercari label, you enter the item’s weight and dimensions (packed up and ready to ship) and decide if you want to have the buyer pay for shipping or if you want to pay for shipping at the rate Mercari provides. Once you enter the weight and dimensions of your item, it will provide you with options for shipping and you will select just one to offer to your customer.
For shipping on eBay, you also have a couple of options: calculated shipping or flat rate shipping. With flat-rate shipping, you can decide to charge a flat fee for shipping and then either ship the item on your own or use eBay’s shipping labels.
With calculated shipping, your buyer will be provided a shipping quote upon purchase based on the weight, dimensions, and location. This can be a little more confusing just because the rate will depend on your buyer’s location, however, what’s great about it is that the buyer pays the exact shipping cost so you don’t have to worry about calculating it yourself and you can offer multiple shipping services for your buyer to choose from rather than just selecting one. You can also choose to offer free shipping on eBay and then either ship with an eBay label or your own.
Winner: Tie. This one is tough because they’re so different. If you prioritize ease of use, Mercari wins. If you want to offer multiple shipping options to your buyer, eBay wins.
Once the sale is made, which shipping process is easier: Mercari or Ebay? With Mercari, if you choose to ship with a Mercari label when you set up the listing, you simply download the shipping label and put it on the package. So simple.
With Ebay, you will have to confirm the weight and dimensions of the item and then choose a shipping service. It’s a little more complicated than just printing pre-generated label.
One of the biggest considerations when selling online is fees charged by the marketplace. So, which online marketplace charges more in fees, Mercari or eBay?
Mercari fees are the same no matter what you sell: 10% selling fee + 2.9% + .30 processing fees. This comes out to a total of 12.9% + .30 of the sale price of the item. There are other fees like a $2 fee if you want a direct deposit and haven’t hit the $10 minimum, a $2 fee if the direct deposit was rejected by your bank, and a $2 fee if you want an Instant transfer, but these aren’t common fees.
When it comes to eBay, fees are beyond complicated. When it comes to insertion fees (this is what they call the listing fee), every user gets 250 free listings per month. After that, more listings will cost you $0.35 regardless of if the item sells or not. Then you will pay around 12.9%-15% in final value fees on items that sell, including the shipping you collect. There are some categories, like Heavy Equipment with very low fees like 3%, but the categories most sellers will be selling in will have a final value fee in the 12.9%-15% range.
Additionally, you can have an eBay store subscription which is handy if you’re a serious seller because it gives you more of a storefront and allows you to have features like markdown sales where you can put your items on sale and offer discounts. Because eBay’s fees are so complicated, it’s probably easiest if you take a look at the eBay fee page. To keep things simple, I generally just estimate eBay fees at about 13%.
Winner: Mercari. While eBay has some categories with lower fees, it’s complicated and not low enough to give this win to eBay.
An important thing to consider when looking at selling online is how each marketplace protects it’s sellers. Due to scams, lost items, etc. there are times when it’s helpful to have a good seller protection policy in place. So, which marketplace offers better seller protection: Mercari or eBay?
I will say that both platforms really tend to lean towards protecting buyers, but they do both have some seller protections in place.
Mercari’s seller protection policies cover:
- $200 in shipping protection for Mercari labels if an item is damaged or lost in transit
- Reimbursement eligibility if you don’t receive an item back after an approved return or if it’s returned in a different condition than you sent it
For more detailed information, you can click here.
Ebay’s seller protection policies cover:
- Abusive buyers: eBay will take action and remove negative or neutral feedback and defects if eBay finds a buyer’s behavior to be abusive
- eBay will also remove neutral or negative feedback and defects for events out of your control such as weather or carrier delays
- Top rated sellers get additional protections if they offer 30+ day returns such as: subsidizing shipping labels for false claims by a buyer that an item was not as describe and up to 50% from a refund to recover lost value of an item that was returned after being used or damaged by the buyer
For more detailed information about eBays seller protections, you can click here.
Winner: Tie. Mercari seems to have better and more simplified protections for what they do cover, but eBay covers more such as feedback removal, etc.
While it’s probably rare that you’ll actually have to contact customer support, it’s still important to know how responsive and helpful they are when you do need them. So, which marketplace has better customer support: Mercari or eBay?
Mercari does have a help center that is designed to answer most questions you’ll have as a seller. If that doesn’t cover your questions, you can also email them. I’ve personally had to deal with Mercari customer service due to my account being hacked and it was kind of a pain and several weeks of back and forth before I got my account back.
Ebay, on the other hand, is a bit easier to get in contact with when there’s an issue. I’ve also dealt with ebay before and sometimes having phone support can be helpful in getting something resolved quickly.
Winner: Ebay because they’re easier to get on the phone and get the problem resolved quicker.
Finally, let’s look at returns. Returns can be a pain for sellers no matter what marketplace you’re selling on, but some are worse than others. So, which marketplace has better return policies for sellers: Mercari or eBay?
The great thing about Mercari’s return policy is that in general all sales are final and the buyer only has 3 days to accept the item or request a return if you misrepresented the item. This means they can’t decide weeks later that they don’t want an item or that the item isn’t in the condition they expected, etc.
Ebay on the other hand is a bit more complicated. You can have a return policy in which you offer buyer returns, or you can decide not to take returns, but buyers can still file an “item not as described” claim (INAD) and get the return that way which ends up giving you a defect, something you want to avoid on eBay. In addition, buyers can file an INAD to get a return up to 30 days after the delivery date.
Last but not least, let’s look at how you get paid on each marketplace. We’re all here to make money and being able to access it quickly and easily can be really important, especially in the beginning when you may not have a lot of capital and you need to get your money to reinvest it frequently.
With both Mercari and eBay, you need to link your bank account to get a direct deposit transfer into your account.
On Mercari, your money is held by Mercari until the item is accepted by the buyer or after 3 days has passed since delivery if they don’t accept or rate the item. At that point the money is released into your Mercari balance and you can request a direct deposit which usually takes 1-3 days, unless you pay a $2 fee to have it instantly transferred to your account with a debit card.
Ebay is a bit different because in most cases you don’t need to wait until the item is delivered to access your funds. The exception is with new sellers, you may experience a delay of up to 21 days while eBay confirms that the item was successfully delivered. Once you’re past that new seller status, you usually have the funds as “available” in your balancewithin about 1-2 days of the buyer paying. Then to get your funds, you will set up your account to automatically pay out either daily, weekly, biweekly, or monthly and the funds will automatically deposit into the bank account you provided. You can also request a payout whenever needed, unless you’re on the daily payout option, and payouts will process in 1-3 business days unless you select to have it sent to your debit card which means you’ll have it within 30 minutes for a 1.5% fee.
Winner: Ebay due to being able to access funds faster.
Pros & Cons
Now let’s go over some simple pros and cons when it comes to Mercari vs Ebay as a seller.
- You can sell locally much easier than on eBay and the item will be delivered to your buyer for you
- Free to list (you only pay a fee on items that sell)
- Lower, easy to understand fees
- Easier listing process
- Easier shipping process
- Buyers only have 3 days to decide if they want to return an item so less likely to get returns
- Slower payments due to having to wait until after the buyer receives the item
- Can be hard to manage a large number of items
- For best results, you need to relist items regularly since your item will move down as newer items get listed
- It can be hard to get in touch with customer support if there’s an issue
- Most popular secondhand marketplace with millions more buyers than Mercari
- Wider audience than Mercari
- You have can an ebay storefront which includes features like allowing promotions and marking down items (example 10% sale)
- Customer service available via phone
- Items don’t need to be relisted regularly (although it can help to do it once in a while when an item hasn’t sold)
- Automatic daily, weekly, biweekly, or monthly payments
- Ability to list items as fixed price or auction (I recommend fixed priced/buy it now for most items)
- Fee structure is complicated and a bit higher than Mercari in some cases
- More competition than on Mercari
- Shipping is a bit more complicated
- Listing is a lot more tedious
- Getting a defect like shipping late or getting an item not as described case, etc. can really bring down your account and impact your sales
- Someone can open an item not as described case up to 30 days after delivery
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Mercari shipping cheaper than eBay?
In some instances, Mercari shipping costs may be cheaper than eBay, but it’s not cheaper across the board. Mercari does offer flat shipping fees across all of their users based on the size and weight of the package which can be affordable. However, eBay offers calculated shipping prices based on the size and weight of the item combined with the potential buyers location which can sometimes come out cheaper.
Can you sell on Mercari and Ebay at the same time?
You can definitely sell on Mercari and eBay at the same time! This is called cross listing or cross posting and it’s something I do to ensure that I’m getting my inventory in front of as many people as possible to get items to sell faster. My favorite reseller tool for cross listing is Vendoo and I wrote all about cross listing in this post, if you want to check it out.
Conclusion: Is Mercari better than eBay?
At the end of the day I have to admit that Mercari is NOT better than eBay. However, this is going to be strictly based on your opinion and what you prioritize. If you want to sell as much as possible and only want to list on one platform, I recommend going with eBay simply because they have such a large customer base. If you want something that’s easy to use and you don’t mind selling a bit less, go with Mercari. If you want to make even more sales, I recommend cross listing on both eBay and Mercari! Again, my favorite tool for this is Vendoo because it makes it so quick and easy to cross post without having to do each listing manually.