eBay or AliExpress? Reasons to Shop at Each

Weigh the pros and cons of AliExpress and eBay

A woman makes an online purchase
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AliExpress is an online shopping site that represents another option for consumers who traditionally purchase items through eBay. Both sites provide distinct advantages for their customers and deciding which one to shop with often comes down to personal preferences. Proponents of either site can make strong arguments for choosing one over the other. 

The Case for Shopping AliExpress

Whenever you find the same product on both sites, the odds are AliExpress is offering the item at a lower price.

That’s because most of the sellers are manufacturers or wholesalers, whereas many of the sellers on eBay are, in effect, retailers who have to mark up the merchandise. 

As a vendor for products that are shipped directly from China, AliExpress offers many goods you won’t find on eBay, simply because eBay sellers don't think the market outside of China is big enough to warrant carrying the merchandise. So, if you’re looking for a hard-to-find product specific to China and the neighboring region, AliExpress may be the place to shop. 

People who hesitate to use PayPal when they purchase goods also may find it easier to shop on AliExpress. All of the sellers on that site accept most major credit cards. Finding a seller on eBay who accepts credit cards can be difficult.

The Case for Shopping eBay

While the prices for identical goods may be better on AliExpress, high shipping fees can offset those savings.

Remember that AliExpress sellers ship most of their goods out of mainland China. That means you’ll not only incur the freight charges, you may wait weeks for the shipment to arrive. If you need something by a particular date, say for a wedding or birthday, buying it on eBay means it's more likely to arrive on time.

 

eBay accepts payments through PayPal, which makes it a better choice for shoppers who don’t want to use their credit cards online. PayPal reportedly places a high premium on cyber security, going so far as to hire hackers to search for vulnerabilities in its system. If you're worried about identity theft, using PayPal on eBay should provide some measure of comfort. 

Unless you’re a traditional manufacturer, supplier or wholesaler, AliExpress largely functions as a shopping platform.  If you want to sell those items you recently discovered hiding in your attic, or hold an online garage sale or fundraiser, you would be looking in the wrong place. Customers who want to sell and buy on the same site should choose eBay. 

With eBay's classic feedback system, its detailed seller ratings, and its Cassini search promoting sellers with low defect rates, the likelihood of making a purchase you’ll regret is low. Many of the biggest sellers on AliExpress offer the same goods on eBay. The difference is that eBay customers can easily check the seller’s past performance and reliability.

The Verdict

It really comes down to what you value and the sort of item you're looking for. For general online shopping, however, eBay still ranks as a reliable source for most North American shoppers.

Although AliExpress and Amazon are providing fierce competition, eBay still has plenty to offer.