eBay wants to be a part of a business that has a $1.4 billion potential - but it might be too late


ebay wine

Kate Taylor

You can now buy wine on eBay.


The company announced on Thursday that it has launched eBay Wine, allowing users to purchase and ship wine to 45 states across the United States.

Users can now can purchase and ship more than 10,000 different wines through eBay. The site allows users to sort through the selections by options including price, vintage, region, and type.

"eBay is offering a fresh, modern way to find the perfect bottle," Alyssa Steele, DMM of Home and Garden at eBay, said in a release announcing the launch. "Combining eBay's unparalleled reach and innovative platform with unmatched inventory, the launch of eBay Wine is yet another way we are providing shoppers with amazing choice and selection."




Unlike the process of selling items like apparel or electronics, there is a vetting process for those who want to sell wine on eBay. The company is partnering with mobile wine app Drync (which allows users to identify and purchase wine by taking a photo of the bottle's label) to bring wine retailers to eBay, with retailers who sell wine on the Drync platform applying to list their inventory on eBay.

eBay isn't the only e-commerce company trying to get into the wine business. In fact, if anything, it's late to the game.

Amazon launched Amazon Wine in 2012, the company's third attempt to enter the wine market. The company is now testing delivery of wine, beer, and spirits through Prime Now in markets including Seattle, Manhattan, and San Diego.

Prime Now wine 8

Kate Taylor

The online alcohol market is estimated to reach $1.4 billion in sales by 2020, according to IBISWorld. The reason for the predicted rise is the influence of millennials: a generation that loves both wine and shopping for food and beverages online more than any other.


Entering this market could be the boost that eBay needs. The company's growth hit a major slump two years ago, and has struggled to recover since, with growth rates among active buyers dropping since the second quarter of 2014.

Increased competition from more modern and convenient e-commerce companies has played a key role in the sales slump. eBay announced on Tuesday that it plans to debut new user experiences and product categories to attract more shoppers, though the company did not provide many details. Wine perfectly fits the bill, as a trendy, exciting category that promises to grow in the coming years.

However, to cash in on the opportunity, eBay needs to make buying wine online more convenient and enjoyable than its e-commerce competitors, from Amazon to its own partner in eBay Wine, Drync. With competitors already established in the industry, entering the online wine business may be an uphill battle for eBay.

Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

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