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eBay UK trading to hit £4bn

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Trading on eBay UK is likely to hit £4bn this year - equivalent to 1.3 per cent of all UK retail sales, the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) has predicted. And all of this ecommerce action could represent a £3,000 per annum boost for the average UK household, the CEBR told the BBC.

In all, more than 50,000 Brits are currently happily eBaying away, taking advantage of the general boost in the value of second-hand stuff provoked by a cost-free disposal platform which maximises the potential profit from goods.

Naturally, this online orgy of capitalism is good for the economy generally, because "auction sites are increasing competition, widening consumers' choice and helping keep down inflation - both online and on the High Street", as EBR supremo Mark Pragnell explained.

One of the CEBR report's authors, Laura Phaff, added: "If people realise that they have sellable goods sitting in their cupboards, it ought to increase consumers' confidence just like any other unexpected boost to wealth."

Of course, it's not quite that simple. While reader Paul Gale told the BBC: "Thanks to these online auction sites, we can again be a nation of shopkeepers. I use a popular auction site. It's great fun, easy and a very good way to get rid of unwanted stuff.. a lot warmer than a car boot sale", an otherwise anonymous Jacqueline warned: "I personally would not use a site like ebay or any other auction site as there is little to no regulation of goods sold on there. As a buyer there is little protection and recently such sites have been subject to abuse for people running small businesses under the tax man's radar as well as the increase and seemingly acceptability of ticket touting on such sites."

Indeed, eBay UK recently pulled an illegal Live 8 DVD auction shortly after Saint Sir Bob Geldolf himself called for a complete boycott of the auction site due to a Live 8 ticket sale outrage. ®

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