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Almost 1.5 million items bought on eBay via mobile this holiday

The number of items bought via eBay mobile applications this year was triple last year’s holiday volume. In 2009, eBay buyers and sellers are generating more than half a billion dollars of transactions via mobile, with strong momentum this holiday season.

 “This was the year that shopping broke free of the traditional boundaries of the physical store or the computer,” said Steve Yankovich, vice president of platform business solutions and mobile at eBay, San Jose, CA.

“Consumers had the power to seek out the best deals regardless of time or location, to the point that you could even do comparison shopping on your mobile device while you’re in the store at the mall,” he said. “The lines between online and offline were permanently blurred in 2009.”

Mobile commerce up
Nearly 6 million people have eBay on their iPhone and shoppers are making 750,000 unique visits a day to eBay via mobile applications.

Mobile purchases this season range from designer handbags to a $75,000 1966 Chevrolet Corvette.

According to an IDC report, mobile Internet users will double in number by 2013 to surpass one billion. Here are some mobile eBay trends:

• Nearly six million people are carrying eBay around in their pocket
• Users from more than 165 countries visited the eBay mobile Web site and iPhone application
• 1.5 million items were bought on eBay using mobile phones worldwide this holiday

“Mobile commerce addresses the challenge of providing consumers with the ability to shop at what we call the point of impulse, that point at which the consumer first has a notion or inspiration to purchase a product, either out of need or desire,” Mr. Yankovich said.

“If that person is not near a store or their PC at that moment, it very likely may pass and that’s an opportunity lost,” he said. “Mobile commerce bridges that gap.”

In 2009, an item sold every 2 seconds via eBay mobile applications worldwide with luxury items a favorite of shoppers this holiday season. Some recent mobile transactions in the United States include:

• $19,108 for a 23-foot deck boat
• $10,025 for 250 grams of pure gold bullion
• $10,000 for a Boston grand piano made by Steinway
• $3,888 for a Hermes Kelly bag
• $770 for a Jean Paul Gaultier wool and leather coat
• $600 for a pair of Christian Louboutin camel colored patent leather pumps

Texans love mobile shopping
In the U.S., the early adopters in mobile commerce are the Texans. Four of the top 10 U.S. ZIP codes for number of people buying via their mobile phones are from Texas, including Burleson, TX 76028; El Paso, TX 79936; Frisco, TX 75034 and McKinney, TX 75070, followed closely by Florida, New York and California.

“Mobile is very important to our strategy and will only become more critical as consumer adoption and usage becomes more widespread,” Mr. Yankovich said. “EBay’s core mission will always  be to provide the best deals and the richest possible shopping experience. Mobile is an excellent representation of that.

“[Shoppers] turned to us because we’re able to offer them robust, secure applications that provide 24/7 access to the world’s largest online marketplace, where they can complete transactions using only their mobile device,” he said. 

“In addition, we offer alerts and features that in some cases surpass even the PC experience. Simply put, eBay mobile made the holiday shopping season a lot more convenient for consumers.”

So, what do these numbers mean for widespread adoption of mobile commerce?

Mr. Yankovich believes this is just the beginning. 

“The important thing to remember is that eBay was very early to this game, which has put us in a position of leadership,” Mr. Yankovich said. “But only now are we approaching a point where other leading brands are developing transactional applications for the iPhone as well as other emerging mobile platforms.”