eBay sales up as mobile payments boom

eBay has reported sales growth boosted by the "new normal" of mobile commerce, with purchases via smartphones and tablets more than doubling.

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eBay has reported sales growth boosted by the "new normal" of mobile commerce, with purchases via smartphones and tablets more than doubling.

The online retailer announced a total sales increase of 21 percent in 2012 compared to the previous year, with substantial increases in mobile payments across its eBay online marketplace and PayPal digital payments platform.

Mobile sales through eBay more than doubled to $13 billion (£8.2bn) in volume sales worldwide, as 4 million new consumers began using it mobile payments apps. At the same time PayPal handled around 250 percent more payments from mobile devices, reaching $14.1 billion (£8.9bn). Active accounts for the payment platform grew 15 percent to reach 123 million registered accounts.

Overall mobile now accounts for around 10 percent of the company's total payments, eBay said, predicting that mobile transactions through each of its platforms will exceed $20 billion (£12.6bn) respectively during 2013.

"Mobile continues to rewrite the commerce playbook, and we continue to be a mobile commerce and payments leader," eBay CEO John Donahoe said.

"Web-enabled multichannel commerce is evolving quickly, and consumer shopping behavior is changing rapidly.

"Our focus is on being a global commerce leader in this new environment, connecting buyers and sellers everywhere, and being a preferred multichannel partner of choice for retailers and brands of all sizes."

With sales of smartphones and tablets booming, retailers are seeing sales increase through mobile devices. According to an IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index report, mobile commerce during December grew 304 percent in the UK compared to the same point during 2011, with online sales in general continuing to rise.

“The big stand out is mobile commerce and its growth in the last 12 months has been staggering," said Chris Webster, head of retail and technology at Capgemini.

"The developments in the technology and the steps taken by retailers to improve their mobile services have seen a shift from browsing, to a fully fledged commerce site integral to our shopping experience.

"Visits and sales from either a smartphone or a tablet device are nearly four times higher than last year - we are reaching a point where we are spending longer on our phones shopping than making calls."

He added that the trend towards shopping on mobile devices is unlikely to slow during 2013.

“This year, we’ll see the role of mobile devices evolve as retailers use the technology as the default channel to reach us and personalise our shopping experience, whether we’re online at home, on the bus or even in store.

"Retailers will adopt a more connected retail model, merging the physical shopping experience with an online one, such as offering customers tablets to browse the internet while they compare products in store.”

Troubled retailer Argos announced yesterday that it has increased its sales, citing growth online and through mobile devices.   Internet sales for the year to date now represent 42 percent of its total, with mobile commerce sales increasing by 125 percent following the launch of smartphone and tablet apps, alongside a revamped website.

Earlier this week Visa announced that its had seen ecommerce transactions increase substantially, supported by an increase in mobile payments.  

The company is gearing up to launch its own digital payments platform V.me to enable sales through browsers accessed on mobile devices.

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