Is eBay (EBAY) the Hottest Buy Ahead of Its New Acquisition?

Global commerce company eBay Inc. (EBAY) was founded in 1995 as an auction site. Since then, the company has grown into a major online marketplace for peer-to-peer sales operating in 190 markets globally, and has enabled $74 billion of gross merchandise volume in 2022.
Enhancing experience by utilizing the latest technology to empower sellers and buyers and building the trust of customers has been an integral part of the strategy of the online marketplace.

In 2020, EBAY launched its Authenticity Guarantee program, which draws on independent experts to vet and verify items sold on the platform. It was followed up with the debut of an authentication service for luxury handbags that allowed customers to get professional authentication for new and pre-owned handbags from luxury brands such as Saint Laurent, Gucci, and Balenciaga.

Even EBAY’s acquisitions reflect the platform’s unwavering focus on building trust while it increases its penetration in the fast-growing pre-loved segment to differentiate itself from numerous peers focusing on new and largely in-season goods.

As a result, after acquiring marketplace compliance solution 3PM Shield in February 2023 and used-sporting-goods marketplace, SidelineSwap earlier this month, on May 15, EBAY signed a definitive agreement to acquire Certilogo, a provider of AI-powered apparel and fashion goods digital IDs and authentication.

The acquisition is subject to the satisfaction of customary conditions, including regulatory approvals, and is expected to be closed in the third quarter.
Certilogo's platform uses digital technology to tag products with virtual IDs, or “product passports,” that enable traceability and protection against counterfeits. It empowers brands and designers to manage the lifecycle of their garments while providing consumers with a seamless way to confirm authenticity, access reliable information about branded items, and easily activate circular services.

According to Charis Marquez, VP of EBAY, "Certilogo's technology and talented team allows eBay to build on this commitment, establishing eBay as a leader in pre-loved fashion and offering new ways for consumers to connect and engage with brands."

Despite ten consecutive interest-rate hikes by the Federal Reserve in just over a year, the red-hot and decades-high inflation is yet to be sufficiently tamed. Amid the rising cost of living crisis, the appetite for second-hand goods has witnessed phenomenal growth, especially among young shoppers.
Moreover, with increasing awareness and emphasis on sustainable consumption, the stigma surrounding pre-owned goods has all but disappeared while community and circularity have been embraced.

Unsurprisingly, ThredUp’s annual Resale Report showed that the global pre-owned apparel market is set to double by 2027 to $351 billion -- 9 times the growth of the broader retail sector.

However, the concern of ending up with counterfeited goods has fueled the trust deficit and has emerged as a significant roadblock preventing greater adoption. The global market trading in fake goods is worth a staggering $4.5 trillion, with faux luxury merchandise accounting for up to 70 percent ($1.2 trillion), according to a 2019 Harvard Business Report.

Even Washington has expedited its crusade against dupes. It has also received legislative firepower through INFORM Consumers Act, which modernizes consumer protection laws and requires web marketplaces to collect and verify basic business information from sellers before they are permitted to sell online. Moreover, SHOP SAFE Act incentivizes platforms, such as EBAY, to follow best practices for screening and vetting vendors and the products they put up for sale, and forces them to address repeat-counterfeit-sellers.

Given the political emphasis on building and retaining consumer trust, the importance of Certilogo’s assumption can hardly be overstated.
This acquisition would also benefit EBAY’s ecosystem by offering fresh opportunities for small businesses to engage with consumers. By assuring their customers of the legitimacy and sustainability of their products, these businesses could be benefited by improving toplines, driven by repeat purchases from loyal customers.

Lastly, with EBAY’s earnings report last month showing increased traction in the luxury sector, with in-focus categories including watches, handbags, jewelry, and sneakers, its acquisition of Certilogo keeps it well-positioned to keep building momentum.