3 Reasons eBay Sellers Should Not Buy Inventory from China

eBay inventory China
Goods made in China are often inferior in quality. Getty Images

 Sourcing inventory is a major challenge for some sellers. Many sellers, especially those new to eBay, are often looking for the easiest way to source the most inventory at one time, and want to sell items that are repeatable. For example, the novice eBay seller often wants to buy 500 – 1,000 of one product and sell it repeatedly. Statistics show that 80% of inventory on eBay is in new condition, so logic says this business model works on eBay.

But is it profitable?

Sourcing from China is often an idea in many sellers’ minds. Products made in China can be sourced cheaply and sold in quantity on the American market. America is flooded with cheap plastic or rubber products like mobile phone accessories, toys, and kitchen gadgets. Sure, anyone can source from China these days, but if you can do it, so can thousands of other sellers. Here are a few reasons why sourcing from China may not be the best business model for eBay, for America, and for the planet.

Buying from China Harms the Environment

Importing wastes resources - from both an economic standpoint and an ecological standpoint, buying local is always preferable to buying from overseas. Fewer resources including fuel are used when buying local. One container ship from China pollutes as much as 50 million cars. And these ships operate 24/7, 280 days a year. Container ships use the lowest quality fuel (because it is the cheapest) and it is the worst for the environment.

One container ship uses 1,600 gallons of fuel an hour.  Container ships are basically floating pollution factories that are damaging to the environment. Why would anyone want to support an industry that is so harmful to our environment?

Furthermore, products made in China are usually very low quality and do not last very long.

For example, cheap iPhone cases are made of inferior materials like thin plastic. These cases don’t last long, they break or fall apart, and end up in America’s landfills. Consider the amount of imported Chinese goods that break or fall apart daily such as toys, kitchen items, phone and computer accessories, handbags, and the list goes on. When Americans buy inferior Chinese goods, we are ultimately adding to our own garbage problem.

Buying from China Harms America Economically

Buying from China has sizable negative economic effects in the form of lost jobs, lower wages, and lower labor-force participation in the US. Bloomberg posted this enlightening report about how China is Killing US Factory Jobs. Americans in blue collar jobs continually face unemployment and layoffs, financial struggles, and uncertain futures because of the China trade. People are pushed out of jobs in the US due to Chinese imports. When you buy from China, you choose not to buy American, and that hurts the people living in the USA.

Buying from China Results in Low Margins

If one seller can buy from China, anyone can. eBay is saturated with cheap goods made in China. Think about it. Let’s say you order a shipment of 500 iPhone ear buds for $2 each.

You start selling them on eBay for $10 each. Another seller comes along selling the same earbuds for $9 each. Your sales slow down, you reassess the situation, and discover you have been undercut by one or more sellers. You then lower your price to $8.50 for the iPhone earbuds. The other sellers follow suit, and pretty soon, no one is making any money. This is the way it works in retail – competition is brutal even on very low priced items. Now you have 400 or so pairs of iPhone earbuds, that you can’t return to your supplier, and you can’t sell on eBay. Your venture into buying from China has now resulted in a loss of $400 because you have inventory you can’t sell.

In the event you do sell cheap Chinese goods on eBay, and they break or fall apart quickly, buyers will contact you for a refund.

 Make sure the goods you sell on eBay are solid, dependable, and of good quality. Remember that buyers have 30 days to request a refund.