eBay is deepening its commitment to the sneaker resale market by acquiring the authentication business of Sneaker Con.
Sneaker Con, which began in 2009 by hosting events for people to buy and sell shoes, has provided sneaker authentication services to eBay for just over a year as a third party. While eBay now claims ownership of that side of the business, Sneaker Con will continue to host events as an independent entity.
“eBay has always been a vibrant community of enthusiasts, with deeply knowledgeable buyers, sellers and employees,” Jordan Sweetnam, senior vice president and general manager of eBay North America, said in a release. “We partnered with Sneaker Con to launch sneaker authentication on eBay last year because the team shared our passion for the category – with best-in-class capabilities to deliver what our customers want most. The response to our authentication offering has been overwhelming, and this acquisition allows us to continue to transform eBay and bring a higher level of trust and confidence to every transaction.”
Trying to recapture the market — While eBay served as a go-to platform for reselling in the earlier days of sneaker culture, it had fallen behind in recent years to dedicated sneaker and resale platforms such as StockX and GOAT. Rolling out free authentication services for all sneaker sales greater than $100, a threshold that also eliminates fees for sellers, was a move to match the offerings of its competitors and reestablish eBay in a market expected to be worth $30 billion by 2030.
Terms of the detail were not disclosed, but over the year eBay must have seen Sneaker Con’s authentication services as valuable enough to no longer pay as a third party and instead bring in house. For the most coveted of sneakers, buyers expect peace of mind in acquiring the real thing — making authentication a prerequisite service in order to stake a serious claim in the market. Currently, Sneaker Con has operations in the U.S., U.K, Canada, Australia and Germany.
Selling fees from competitors can reach as high as 10 percent, and eBay eliminating its take for any sneaker sold for more than $100 is an appealing proposition to bring sellers over to its platform. How long this lasts, however, remains to be seen, as eBay will certainly have to make the business more profitable once it’s enticed enough buyers and sellers.