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eBay's 2012 Shopping Season Begins Well

eBay posts strong mobile numbers and bests Amazon's increase

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eBay's 2012 Shopping Season Begins Well

The big 2012 holiday launch news is that mobile grew like mad and that eBay took the five-day holiday launch performance prize—not Amazon.

Sean Gallup / Getty Images
Updated November 28, 2012

All trends in recent years have pointed toward continued growth in online shopping during the holiday season, and eBay's Thanksgiving weekend and Cyber Monday sales this year have borne this out, providing not just very strong growth numbers but some interesting news about eBay's competitiveness over the five-day shopping stretch as well.

By the Numbers

Amongst the encouraging results released by eBay are all of the following indicators at this season's start:

  • Global mobile payment volume on PayPal was nearly three times larger on Cyber Monday in 2012 than it was in 2011.

  • eBay Mobile transaction volume on Cyber Monday was more than double what it was on Cyber Monday in 2011.

  • Analysts are touting both of these numbers as evidence that mobile shopping has become a force to reckoned with during the holiday shopping season.

  • The hottest mobile shopping hours on Cyber Monday worldwide were from 1:00 to 2:00 in the afternoon, Pacific Standard Time (10:00 to 11:00 in the morning on the U.S. east coast).

  • Interestingly, the biggest mobile shopping day of the year on eBay was Sunday, falling squarely between the traditional Black Friday and Cyber Monday pushes.

  • eBay mobile transaction volume more than doubled on both Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day versus the same days last year.

  • PayPal mobile payments volume was up even more, approaching three times the volume seen in 2011 for both Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

  • According to ChannelAdvisor, who has a nice breakdown of the five-day span by sales platform and device choice, eBay was the big winner this year in online holiday shopping growth, far outstripping its 2011 numbers and beating Amazon.com to the punch with a bigger than 38 percent increase in volume over the five-day holiday shopping launch period.

The Mobile Push Continues

The interesting thing to note here is that all of the numbers released by eBay, whether through its eBay Inc. corporate portal or in interviews with the press like those reported at EcommerceBytes, are mobile numbers.

This reporting supports eBay's current strategic orientation toward both mobile shopping and mobile payments, all made possible with eBay's mobile apps and supplemental mobile features like selling and comparison shopping.

eBay's Turnaround Continues

The numbers from ChannelAdvisor are at least as important, though, and cement the argument that eBay is, in fact, turning things around in terms of overall marketplace performance and returns for investors, whether or not the policy and strategy shifts of recent years sit well with small and independent sellers that in many cases have expressed a preference for the "old" eBay.

Investors certainly liked what they saw during the period, sending eBay's stock to a 52-week high on Monday.

Though analysts in some corners have basically pronounced the war over with Amazon having come out on top, this holiday season's numbers seem to indicate that competitive sellers would be mistaken to leave eBay behind and focus entirely on other platforms (most notably Amazon) just yet, particularly for seasonal sales.

Despite rumors to the contrary, the buying public has not yet left the eBay building. They're likely more focused on what eBay has done right in recent years, including some things that have met with mixed responses from sellers—things like revamping the marketplace to be more mobile-friendly, free shipping, buyer protection, top-rated seller promotion, best match search results, special shopping portals, and mandatory returns, photos, and catalog use policies.

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