Online Business Trends for Buying and Selling Websites in 2021

Greg Elfrink Updated on July 15, 2021

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 over 1,000 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 about 71 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 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.

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It took us some time to compile the data for over $160M in deals, but we’re proud to announce the third annual State of the Industry Report for 2021. This report contains our actual historical figures over the past 3 years, 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.

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 metrics from 2018–2020. These comparisons reveal how things have changed in the past few years.

Furthermore, this isn’t just a handful of deals. We’ve analyzed hundreds of transactions⁠—844 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”.

Buying and Selling Myths Debunked

Because we own the data end to end, it gives us a vast amount of information that we can use to answer some of the common myths about buying and selling online businesses. This should help you to better understand the M&A online business landscape, whether you’re planning to become a seller or a buyer.

  • Brokers Only Send Emails to Sell Businesses
  • You Can Only Buy Niches You Know
  • These Assets are Too Complicated to Invest In
  • Thinking Price is the Only Way to Identify an Undervalued Business

The Future

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

  • The Seller Market Will Continue
  • An Explosion in Ecommerce
  • More SaaS Businesses Listed and Sold
  • More Eight-Figure Businesses on the Marketplace
  • Influx of New Money

This over 35,000-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.

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