2019 Trends for Buying and Selling Online Businesses

Greg Elfrink Greg Elfrink July 15, 2019

2019 Trends for Buying and Selling Online Businesses (Final)

At Empire Flippers, we are known for more than being the number one curated marketplace in the world. We also have a reputation for unparalleled transparency.

After completing hundreds of deals over the past several years, we willingly open our doors to share everything we’ve learned.

As our team grew from a handful of employees working out of an apartment to a company of more than 55 people spanning the globe, we evolved our internal processes to increase efficiency and greatly enhanced our data collection and reporting. We went from tracking listings on Google Sheets to developing a proprietary software solution that will speed up all of our processes and increase deal flow. We are already seeing a big uptick in deal flow and on track to broker more than 300 businesses in 2019.

We take data seriously. After all, this industry has a reputation for being shrouded in secrecy. We’ve read reports published from other brokers, and we found them lacking in a lot of areas. Their figures included businesses’ data on listing prices, and their numbers were inflated by the asking price, with no mention of what the business eventually sold for, how long it took, or the actual sales multiple.

We decided to take a different approach and share data on our marketplace from real-world completed transactions.

2019 Empire Flippers State of the Industry Report Cheat Sheet

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It took us some time to compile the data. But we’re proud to announce that we created a 2019 State of the Industry Report. It contains our actual historical figures, an analysis of the industry, and predictions of where this industry is headed in the coming years.

Why Did We Create This Report?

We created this for both buyers and sellers. We believe sellers should understand which types of businesses command the highest multiples to make sure they are maximizing their profits on an exit. We want buyers to be familiar with industry trends so they can spot good deals and make successful decisions on their next acquisition.

Consider this analysis a road map for your entrepreneurial and digital investing career.

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Our State of the Industry Report includes information about the actual sales details, along with the average selling price and multiples. We also share how many days they were on our marketplace, including a comparison of 2018 metrics to figures from 2017. The comparison reveals how things have changed in the past couple of years.

Furthermore, this isn’t just a handful of deals. We’ve analyzed hundreds of transactions⁠—472 to be exact.

Our State of the Industry Report also includes an in-depth analysis of 14 types of business models, from Amazon FBA to info products. We identify the opportunities buyers have to maximize profits after the acquisition and potential risks they should consider before pulling the trigger.

If you’re a current business owner thinking of selling, our analysis will reveal ideas you can implement to increase the value of your company before listing it on our marketplace.

While every business model is different, we’ve identified three universal levers you can pull that enhance the value of any enterprise:

  1. Branding: What makes you unique? Can you expand your brand?
  2. Diversify traffic channels: If your revenue is coming mostly from organic traffic, consider adding paid and social traffic.
  3. Diversify revenue: An e-commerce company selling through Amazon with AdSense is more valuable than a business selling through Amazon FBA alone. We call this concept “mixed monetization.”

Key Trends You’ll Discover in This Report

Here’s a teaser of critical statistics we’ve observed since 2017:

  • A significant decrease in average days to sell. We’ve broken out the average days to sell across 14 different business models so you’ll be able to see what’s moving quickly and what takes longer to sell.
  • A slight increase in the average multiplier. The multiplier increased by just 1% from 2017 to 2018. This rate signifies that the market isn’t skewed more favorably toward buyers or sellers. There are opportunities on both sides of the marketplace.
  • A 24% increase in the average deal size. This rate is unique to the Empire Flippers marketplace and is not necessarily an aggregate trend. It does, however, imply more demand for online businesses, especially among traditional investors, as well as increasing profits as the industry continues to grow and mature.

A Framework for Growing Your Business

Whether you are buying a business and want to grow it, or you want to sell your business for maximum value, you’ll discover the lowest hanging fruit so you can achieve that goal. We include more details about the following tactics:

  • Advertising
  • Buyer guides
  • On-page SEO
  • Pinterest
  • List building
  • Video creation
  • A/B testing
  • Conversion rate optimization (CRO)

The Future

No State of the Industry Report would be complete without a discussion of the future. We answer the following questions at the end of the guide:

  • Will tariffs change the business landscape?
  • Will multiples continue to rise?
  • Will there be more demand for seven-figure businesses?
  • Will buyers prefer quick cash opportunities or long-lasting brands?
  • How will the e-commerce business model change?
  • What will happen to this industry if there’s a recession?

This 20,000-word report is jam-packed with real-world figures and actionable data. If you’re ready to see what’s going on in the industry today, download the industry report right now.


Greg Elfrink

Director of Marketing

Greg Elfrink

Gregory joined Empire Flippers in April 2016 as the Content Manager. He manages the flow of content surrounding our brand – blog posts, guides, podcasts etc. – from producing the content to promoting it. His goal is to grow the reach of the company and introduce us to new audiences. Gregory was born in Anchorage, Alaska where he worked in the oil fields and now travels around Southeast Asia. He loves fiction, science and in his free time he moonlights as a novelist.

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