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EBay Sees Boom in Shopping Via Mobile Devices Over Holiday

Tuesday, 29 Dec 2009 | 12:50 PM ET

Online retailer eBay saw purchases made from mobile apps soar this holiday season, with three-times as many items purchased via mobile device than a year ago.

Consumers worldwide bought 1.5 million items from eBay using their mobile device during the 2009 holiday season, with luxury items being a consumer favorite, the company said.

A Deloitte survey predicted consumers would be turning to mobile devices in 2009 to assist in their holiday shopping and purchasing.

About 20 percent of shoppers were expected to use their mobile device, while about 25 percent planned to buy from their mobile phone, according to the survey.

Although the company has seen growth in its mobile market, Amanda Miller, a spokesman for eBay, said it is hard to tell how much mobile commerce will play a part in 2010 for the company.

eBay mobile applications include iPhone and Blackberry apps that give users access to a streamlined buying and selling process. The apps send alerts to users when they are outbid, when an item’s auction is ending, or when a user is making an offer on an item. The apps also let users share favorite items on social networking sites.

eBay Deals is another app available on the iPhone that searches some of the most discounted items for the users to browse. It generates both daily deals and items that are about to expire so users can place a last minute bid.

Consumer Nation Holiday Central Edition
Consumer Nation Holiday Central Edition

Users can also use eBay’s Mobile Web site, where they can sell, browse and purchase items. Users can sign up to receive text alerts to notify them when they have been outbid and when an item is almost out of time.

Consumers purchased an item from one of eBay’s mobile outlets every two seconds in 2009, with buyers and sellers making over half a billion dollars in transactions from their cell phones.

The company declined to comment on how much mobile shopping boosted its overall sales this holiday season, but will release sales information in its fourth quarter earnings report, expected Jan. 20.

Currently, eBay ranks in the top three free downloaded apps in the Lifestyle category of the Apple App Store. According to eBay, about 6 million people have the eBay app on their mobile phone and approximately 750,000 unique visits to eBay are generated by mobile apps.

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