Depop Drops Selling Fee In UK, Shifts Burden To Buyers Directly Via Marketplace Fee Instead

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


Etsy-owned Depop is dropping selling fees in the UK as it competes with eBay for circular fashion business, but buyers will soon be directly footing part of the bill for site improvements through an "up to" 5% Marketplace Fee instead.

Depop announced the change in a press release today:

With more and more people now looking at resale as an alternative to retail, we want to make it easier than ever for people to take their first step into secondhand, and sell the clothes they no longer wear. To support this, we are saying goodbye to charging selling fees for sellers based in the UK.

Sellers listing items on Depop will now receive more money in their pocket from each sale, with the removal of the 10% selling fee for new listings created from 20th March onwards.

Why are we making this change?
We want to empower our sellers to list more, sell more and earn more, and make it as easy as possible for people who’ve never sold before to give it a try

More listings means more choice and variety for UK buyers, at a greater range of price points

Our aim is to open up access to secondhand fashion, fuelling a dynamic marketplace with greater power to change the world of fashion for good.

Alongside this, we’ll be introducing a marketplace fee for UK buyers on every purchase, which will apply from 15th April 2024.

This will support continued investment across the Depop marketplace including in Depop Protection, customer support, platform improvements and growing our community, and will be up to 5% of the item purchase price (plus a fixed amount of up to £1, excluding taxes and postage costs).

Per the Depop help pages, while the 10% selling fee is going away for the UK, there will still be a 2.9% + £0.30 assessed for orders placed using the Buy Button and of course any additional advertising fees will still apply as well.

The 5% buyer's service fee or "Marketplace Fee" was originally discovered by Depop seller and YouTuber Just Old Things and reported about by TechCrunch when an early version was made public through Depop's help desk site.

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Originally it was thought to have been in addition to the selling fees, but the official release has now clarified that issue.

Depop says this "evolved fee structure" will allow them to continue to improve the site and enhance the experience for both buyers and sellers including:

  • Making search more efficient: By investing in technology that powers our search experience, buyers are now 42% more likely to find an item they want to buy through search*
  • Improving matching: Surfacing intelligent recommendations to match buyers with the perfect item in our catalogue of 34M items, so they are 54% more likely to view a product recommended to them**
  • Enhancing support: We’ve driven a 40% improvement in resolution time for incoming support enquiries, and a 48% improvement in average support response times year over year***.
  • Accelerating product enhancements: Launching new features like Send Offer and Boosted Listings, with a 70+% increase in product development velocity
  • Streamlining listing: Through predictive, AI-powered autofill listings, we've radically improved the listing flow, helping our users create listings faster and easier - driving more choice and variety for UK buyers

This update comes at a time when Etsy is under increasing pressure from activist investor Elliott Management to make their House of Brands strategy with Depop and Reverb pay off.

Etsy CEO Josh Silverman previously worked at eBay and has been accused on more than one occasion of liberally borrowing from his old employers playbook, so this move is not particularly surprising considering eBay also recently began testing fee free selling for private (non-business) sellers in the UK.

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eBay's initiative spans across all categories, but pre-loved fashion has been a particular focus for the company in the UK with an ongoing partnership with TV show Love Island and other major marketing campaigns.

Fee-free selling for private or consumer-sellers has been very successful for eBay in the German market as well, leading to a recent strategy pivot back to a broader consumer-seller focus at the company as CEO Jamie Iannone touts C2C success to investors and Chief Business Strategy Officer Stefanie Jay is confirmed to have departed the company in January.

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Depop's strategy is markedly different by introducing a 5% buyer fee - in theory, consumers wil likely be paying less overall (assuming sellers lower their prices in line with the new fee structure) but sometimes perception matters more than reality and consumers can be fickle.

Many buyers of course logically know there isn't really any difference between a $20 item with $5 shipping and a $25 with free shipping, but "free" shipping still holds a psychological appeal.

Will the Marketplace Fee be stated separately at checkout or simply rolled into the price? If stated separately, will buyers blak at the idea of being charged this fee, even if the total price is less than it otherwise might have been with the seller being charged 10%?

Let us know in the comments below what you think of Depop's "evolving fee structure" in the UK and whether you think more marketplace might consider buying fees in addition to or in place of existing selling fees!

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Liz Morton is a seasoned ecommerce pro with 17 years of online marketplace sales experience, providing commentary, analysis & news about eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Shopify & more at Value Added Resource!