Sales of sneakers on Ebay Australia have increased by 51 per cent since the launch of the company’s Authenticity Guarantee service in May, where third-party experts verify any Nike, Adidas, New Balance, Converse or Vans sneaker sold for over $150 to ensure shoppers aren’t getting duped by a fake. Now with the opening of a local authentication centre in Sydney, sales are expected to grow even further. This will make nearly 80,000 additional sneaker listings in Australia eligible for the
the service, bringing the total number of listings to over 180,000. Previously, only sneaker listings in the US were eligible. “Sneakers are a lucrative market worth over a billion dollars in Australia and expanding at a rapid rate,” Brooke Eichhorn, Ebay Australia’s head of luxury and consumer selling, told Inside Retail. “Ebay’s Authenticity Guarantee gives sneakerheads certainty they’re getting the real deal and we’re already seeing buyer confidence drive growth in the category.” In the US, where the Authenticity Guarantee is more established, sneaker sales saw triple-digit growth last year, according to Eichhorn. Rise of counterfeiters Ebay’s move follows StockX’s launch of an authentication centre in Melbourne in May, marking the US-based resale site’s 11th authentication centre globally and its first in Australia. At the time, Saskia Fairfull, a brand experience consultant and founding member of the Independent Fashion Advisory Board, declared: “The sneaker authentication wars have begun.” There’s a real need for authentication, according to Eichhorn, with the scarce supply and high prices commanded by collectible items like limited-edition sneakers making them ripe for counterfeiting. “Sophisticated fakes are widespread, with sneakers the second most popular category for this type of behaviour, according to US Border Protections,” she said. “Authentication from a credible source is becoming more important – particularly when it comes to high-end items – as more people continue to shop online.” Ebay plans to expand its Authenticity Guarantee to luxury sneakers including brands such as Gucci, Chanel and Louis Vuitton in the future. This year, it sold a pair of Louis Vuitton Virgil Abloh X408 for over AU$17,000. “Sneakers are not just something sneakerheads wear – they’re a form of art and often an investment. Just as you wouldn’t want fake gold jewellery or fake diamonds that are of poor quality or worthless – counterfeit sneakers are the same,” Eichhorn said. More than sneakers When a customer in Australia buys a pair of sneakers that is eligible for Ebay’s Authenticity Guarantee service, they are shipped to the company’s authentication centre in Sydney where they are verified by third-party experts. Ebay has teamed up with Sneaker Con to verify products using a strict data-driven process that involves checking everything from the logo placement, to the stitching, leather quality and even smell. Once confirmed as authentic, the sneakers are express shipped to the buyer from the authentication centre with a unique NFC tag, which shows a digital authenticity certificate when scanned by a phone, including product details and date of authentication. All of this is done at no extra cost to the buyer or seller. “Our tags offer secure digital authenticity certificates, meaning that they can’t be copied or tampered with, while also providing information on the item you bought such as the product, size, SKU and even how much it’s currently selling for,” Eichhorn said. Ebay Australia plans to expand this service beyond sneakers to other categories in future. In the US, for example, the Authenticity Guarantee is also applied to high-end handbags and watches.