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More than 6m new customers bought from eBay by mobile in the second quarter alone

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eBay is seeing fast growth in its customers’ use of mobile to buy – and predicts this can only grow, and quickly.

In the last quarter alone, the company eBay saw 6.6m new customers buy from it through mobile devices.

Its app was downloaded 20m times during the period, adding up to 260m downloads since the app was first launched in 2008. No surprise then, that total mobile sales grew by 68% in volume during the second quarter. The marketplace said that one item was bought via the eBay app every second, with $20bn generated through mobile devices in 2013 as a whole.

“Shopping,” said Jonathan Gabbai, head of international mobile product at the marketplace, “has been transformed over the past few years thanks to the adoption of smartphones. Today it’s all about a multi-screen experience – you may start a purchase by browsing on your tablet at home, do some additional research on mobile but finish your purchase in store.

“We know that 40% of eBay transactions globally are touched by mobile at some point in the transaction, and this is only set to increase. In the UK, an item is bought every second via the eBay app and we are one of the most advanced mobile markets in terms of the proportion of eBay sales transacted via mobile.”

The figures came as eBay, which trades in the UK as eBay.co.uk, reported revenue up by 13% at $4.4bn in the second quarter to June 30, compared to the same time last year. It enabled sales worth $62bn, up by 26% in volume on last year. Cross-border trade grew by 26% to $13bn, while gross merchandise volumes grew by 12%.

eBay-owned PayPal saw total payment volumes grow by 29%, and by 13% on eBay, with 4m new accounts registered during the period to take it up by 15% to a total of 152m.

While mobile performance already seems impressive, current experience is set to be dwarfed as the increasing adoption of universal 4G, available since last year, starts to make a fast, seamless customer journey the norm on mobile, says Gabbai.

“As 4G becomes more ubiquitous this year, we expect mobile to become even more central to retailers as a growing consumer base adopts the technology,” he said.

Gabbai says that apps are going to be central in converting this audience into omnichannel shoppers. Currently eBay has around 500 engineers working on smartphone apps from its San Jose headquarters. “One of our latest innovations,” said Gabbai, “is the launch of the RedLaser app for Google Glass, which allows customers to scan item barcodes and search using their Google Glass technology.”

And wearable technology, said Gabbai, is one key factor that retailers must bear in mind as they develop their mobile commerce offering for the future.

“Shoppers want convenience, speed and choice – they want to shop anytime, anywhere, on any device,” he said. “Convenience is forming an even greater part of the shopping experience and providing competitive advantage. We are seeing smart retailers creating user-friendly mobile, tablet and online platforms that work in a joined-up way.

“Thinking about how to make shoppers’ lives simpler is a sure-fire way of tapping into consumer need. Wearables are growing in popularity for this very reason – they represent new services that reduce (or even remove altogether) the clicks you need to make a purchase.”

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