Stockholm trip Part 2, Jan 23: I met and interviewed the two founders of Sweden’s biggest online auction, Tradera.com.
Although it’s an easy pitch to call them an eBay copy, in fact these like-able young entrepreneurs started and stuck with the auction business right the way through massive competitions from outside players like eBay and QXL, and the dotcom nuclear winter of 2001-2003. They have emerged with 90% of the Swedish auctions market. In other words they out-ebay’d ebay.
Now, instead of having to sell the contents of their attic to only three people in the local hamlet, Swedes can sell to all 9 million of their countrymen online. In fact, for many, snapping up items in the newspaper classifieds and then wacking them into Tradera.com has become a lucrative second or even first new income stream. Vintage clothing is now the largest category on site, as Swedes try top up their heavily taxed incomes through auctions.
His partner Daniel says: “Right we’re in a transition phase where the Internet population is maturing. It’s going from a behaviour which is to just read, to one where people search and then start to act online.”
Some 50-60,000 items are listed every day – 10 times as much as the biggest classified sites.
As co-direct Jonas Nordlander says, their success is partly down to the weather: “It’s COLD to stand outside and do a yard sale in Sweden!”