eBay and Record Store Day Set to Increase Record Stores’ Sales by the Masses During Pandemic

By Thomas Price Monday, August 31, 2020

In partnership with the online shopping website, eBay, Record Store Day has put a spotlight on dozens of independent record stores in an attempt to boost sales during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Record Store Day is an annual event founded in 2008 meant to support both the sales of records and, in particular, the independently owned stores that sell them. In previous years, the event was much more focused on in-person performances of live music, cookouts, and other general festivities. Due to the inability for this to be the case this year, the event has instead created a virtual store on eBay that gives buyers a wide selection of vinyl records for sale, all still coming directly from small, independently-owned businesses.

Record Store Day 2020: What to Expect

After having to cancel their initial event set to take place in April, Record Store Day will operate this year by having a series of three drops taking place once a month for three straight months. These drops are massive selections of records with standout highlights in the mix. The first drop took place on August 29, with highlights including works from David Bowie, Billie Eilish, and Charlie XCX. The next two drops will take place on September 26 and October 24, with highlights including Fleetwood Mac and Miles Davis, respectively. This year, though nearly 1,200 stores across the nation are planning on participating in different ways, 43 different independent record stores are participating in the event through the eBay portal, with the possibility of consumers to choose a specific store to support and shop from a curated list of just that store’s inventory.

eBay Earnings and Platform Boost

The benefits that might be possible due to the partnership with eBay cannot be understated. With about 182 million active users on the website, the record stores who have decided to participate through eBay have exposed themselves to a far larger market of buyers than perhaps ever before. Those 182 million active users have translated directly into incredibly high levels of revenue for the company within the past five years. This revenue has grown as well, from $8.59 billion earned in 2015 to over $10.7 billion in 2019. Even with the ongoing pandemic, eBay reported a better than expected second-quarter report in 2020, with the company taking in $2.86 billion. This number outpaced their revenues in the same quarter from 2019 by 18%, with eBay earning approximately $2.42 billion that year. Now, with the obvious benefit that these record companies have by partnering with eBay, what possible benefits can they bring to the table?

Rise in Vinyl Record Sales

The main and obvious source of potential for eBay by featuring these independent stores is bolstering the collection of vinyl records they have available on their website. This comes from the fact that vinyl record sales have been making massive gains within the past few years. After bottoming out in 2006, with only about 900 thousand total units being sold, the vinyl record industry has made a significant turnaround. In 2019, the industry as a whole sold 18.8 million total units — a stark contrast to the lowly numbers of 2006. Breaking this down into raw dollars made, those units sold equated to about $36 million in total revenue in 2006, while in 2019, the sales made came to about $700 million. Even with the massive hit coming from the cancellation of Record Store Day in April due to COVID-19, since then, sales have outpaced 2019 to such a degree that even without the boost, vinyl record sales are still up 17% in comparison to last year. Putting this into numbers, up to this point in 2019, approximately 9.9 million vinyl records were sold. In 2020, that number has bumped up to 11.5 million.

Concluding Takeaways

These impressive numbers in 2020 for vinyl records do not take into account any of the Record Store Day events that are now taking place around the country and online. This partnership with eBay will surely lead to a large boost to record sales, as the event has done in person for so many years before. Even when looking at the positive numbers for record sales up to this point in the year, it still does not give us the full picture of how big the industry has grown. This partnership should end up being mutually advantageous for both parties involved, even if it is not quite the same as going to the record store in person.

About the Author

Thomas Price

Tom Price is a writer focusing on Entertainment and Sports Features. He has a degree from NYU in English with a minor in Creative Writing. He has been previously published for Washington Square News, Dignitas, CBR, and Numbers on the Boards.

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