By Marcus Leach

New figures published today (Friday) show that the number of million pound businesses on eBay is set to rise by 25% this year.

eBay expects to see 159 ‘million pound businesses’ trading on the site, with the Home and Garden, Fashion, Motors and Consumer Electronics sectors driving this growth.

Despite fears of a ‘double dip’ recession, this will be the fourth year of consecutive growth in the number of eBay millionaires. For the last full year, 2010, five businesses achieved turnover on eBay of £1 million in just their first year of trading, and this year, over 10% of millionaire businesses are expected to turnover at least £3 million.

Nearly all (98%) of this year’s millionaire businesses are boosting their sales through exports. Overseas sales from eBay’s UK small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) accounted for £446 million of sales on the site in 2010.

New figures project that 11 of this year’s millionaire businesses will see over £500,000 of revenue generated through exports, with two online SMEs projected to achieve over £1 million of sales in exports alone. The top export markets for eBay SMEs are the United States, Australia, Germany, Ireland and France.

“We’ve seen a surge of businesses starting up on eBay since the recession which shows the vital role online businesses play in supporting the fragile UK economy. Many eBay businesses including some of our millionaires are selling offline as well so their total contribution to the UK economy is even more substantial," Angus McCarey, Retail Director for eBay UK said.

“Whilst the UK economy is often compared unfavourably to Germany, our figures show good reason to be optimistic. Online SMEs are growing faster on with millionaire businesses developing at three times the rate compared to Germany.

“Exports are helping to drive this success as UK SMEs benefit from the international audience that selling online gives them. There are considerable opportunities for SMEs willing to ship internationally to EU and global customers.”

London tops the list of eBay millionaire hotpots, with the highest number of businesses turning over more than £1 million. Birmingham comes in a close second, followed by Nottingham in driving economic growth in the UK.

It’s not just major cities breeding the most successful online businesses. Manchester is joined by Wakefield in the cluster of Northern cities, and both share joint fourth place with coastal Essex town Southend-on-Sea.