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eBay results highlight the growing importance of mobile to digital retailers

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eBay’s full-year results, out this week, pointed once more to the huge importance of mobile commerce to digital retailers.

One fact stood out: 40%, or more than 14m, of the 36m new customers eBay won in 2013 joined via mobile devices. As a group they contributed $35bn (£21.04bn) in enabled commerce volumes, 88% up on the previous year. eBay alone saw $22bn (£13.2bn) in mobile commerce volume, while PayPal hit $27bn (£16.2bn) in mobile payments. It’s a result, said eBay, that beat its own expectations of mobile commerce.

That’s a pace of growth that contrasts with overall marketplace gross merchandise volume up by a healthy, but more moderate, 13% in both the full year and the fourth quarter, both to December 31 2013. It also points to the coming importance of mobile-only customers, who will arrive as ownership of smartphones and tablets allows more people to shop online than those who have desktop and laptop computers.

The Christmas season in particular, said eBay chief executive and president John Donahoe, had shown “how online, mobile and other omnichannel commerce capabilities are changing expectations for the year.”

Elsewhere, revenues rose by 14% to $16bn, enabled commerce volume by 21% to $212bn (£127.5bn) and net income by 9% to $2.8bn (£1.68bn).

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