Online Sales: ebay versus Gumtree


This is a follow-up post to my Milestone/iPhone Day article, posted last Friday. As the title suggests, this is a reflective composition on the two online sales website/channels. On Friday evening, being the same day as the recent iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus launch, I took advantage of the unique opportunity and listed both my second Gold iPhone 6 64GB device as well as my dad’s Black iPhone 5 64GB. The iPhone 6 was listed on eBay while the iPhone 5 on Gumtree.

iPhone 5 on Gumtree – SOLD!

At 8:45pm, a successful Gumtree advertisement was posted, with a handful of pictures highlighting the complete box/package that was the iPhone 5. The asking price I decided on was $400. For a simple ad, within the space of 30 minutes I had my first enquiry via SMS, which was for an offer of $340. After the potential buyer refused to make a second offer closer to my asking price, I moved on. Within the space of 10 short minutes, I had 2 email replies via Gumtree. One guy simply said that he would buy the phone and requested details to make settlement. The other email response was for an offer of $300. Amidst the email responses, I also fielded a direct phone call where one guy offered $350 and another SMS asking if the phone was still available.

I responded to the potential buyer who had responded with the vague answer which signalled a willingness to pay the asking price, requesting that he call me so we could finalise the deal. I explained that there was considerable interest and we came to an agreement on the price and also the collection/transfer to be made the next day in the morning. I quickly paused the Gumtree advertisement, which is a handy feature for delisting the advertisement during that phase of settlement. The concept of pausing the advertisement is very easy and convenient. It also protects against unsuccessful settlements and allows the seller to quick un-pause or realist the advertisement straightaway. Pausing the advertisement was also effective immediately, and the enquiries ceased immediately.

Gumtree’s listing of an advertisement is free of charges. I like Gumtree for its localised audience, managed through the location categorisation. The simple nature of Gumtree also differs from being an online auction system; it is more of an online classified system whereby buyers simply search the listings and contact the seller. Gumtree itself does not manage the financial aspects of a sale, or any of the negotiation/bids. Gumtree also has very limited capabilities in terms of ensuring quality postings. It does offer adequate security to sellers in that the buyers can only make contact if they are registered.

Saturday morning arrived and the buyer came to collect the iPhone, making a cash on delivery payment. With the whole transaction over, I then proceeded with deleting the advertisement off Gumtree, completing the short survey/drop-downs to indicate a successful sale. One of the great things about the Gumtree business model was that the listing was completely free – I had consciously chosen not to go with any one of the many promotional extras that came with a cost. This was primarily because I knew the product itself would sell itself – this was true given the short burst of calls and messages enquiring of the product. I even received a final call on Saturday night asking if the phone was available for sale – apparently the interested party had seen the listing the night before but for some reason did not get around to calling up 24 hours earlier.

iPhone 6 Listed on eBay – UNSOLD

At the same time of listing the iPhone 5 on Gumtree I decided to have the iPhone 6 listed on eBay simultaneously. Given the eBay marketplace operates differently, I decided at the time to list it as an auction with a starting price of $1350 and local pickup only. I revised the advertisement:

  • Expanded the accessibility by including postage handling for an extra $40
  • Reduced the auction duration to one day, in the hope that someone would simple jump at the immediate availability
  • Added in a Buy Now option

The advertisement did generate a fair bit of interest in the form of 40+ views and one watcher. Unfortunately, now that the 24 hour auction duration has passed, the item has not succeeded in being sold.

iPhone 6 Listed on Gumtree

Now, the lack of success on eBay is not a real concern to me because I strategised to have the iPhone 6 listed on Gumtree as the next wave if eBay did not succeed. It is important to explain why it followed this order/sequence. With both phones going for sale at the same time, I did NOT want buyers to see them listed side-by-side on either Gumtree or eBay. It has been my view thus far that to have listed them both simultaneously on the one platform/site would not have been in the best interests of ensuring the right exposure for either phone. Buyers seeking an iPhone 5 are a totally different market segment to buyers of an iPhone 6.

Potentially the asking price on eBay was a little excessive, but I had the mindset that if I could actually get that price I would be absolutely happy. According to the Apple website, if you attempt to purchase an iPhone 6, there is now a waiting period of 3-4 weeks.

So, as of Saturday night, the iPhone 6 is listed on Gumtree:

  • BRAND NEW (SEALED + UNLOCKED) Apple iPhone 6  – 64GB, GOLD.
  • Selling a pre-ordered (from Apple) iPhone 6 which was one of two unites.
  • GOLD, 64GB
  • Completely brand new in a still-sealed box.
  • Photos taken of inside the box are from when I was de-boxing my own unit.
  • Asking price: $1250 negotiable

The advertisement actually took a little longer to get posted online so responses will likely start flowing through Sunday…


I find Gumtree a better overall experience. In truth, Gumtree offers a different kind of online service compared to eBay. eBay has a global marketplace reach whereas Gumtree caters more for the local buyers and sellers. Whilst eBay charges a transaction fee based on a successful sale, Gumtree’s model relies on sellers using and purchasing the premium extras to promote their service.