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eBay Application: The Premiere Mobile Marketplace

It's common knowledge that eBay is a major e-commerce player, but how much do you know about its role in the world of mobile commerce? Unsurprisingly, the mobile eBay application is insanely popular among users.

It's not all sunshine and roses for eBay, of course, as Amazon is the undisputed king of mobile commerce, garnering more traffic with its mobile app than even Facebook. Still, eBay has some distinct advantages even over Amazon.

The strengths and weaknesses of the eBay application are obvious in the numbers, and that's exactly what we'll go through together in today's blog post.

eBay and PayPal

eBay's ownership of PayPal is a great illustration of the company's unique market placement, and one of the advantages it holds over Amazon.

Procuring ownership of PayPal was the move that initially facilitated eBay's entrance and dominance in the world of mobile commerce, and it still benefits the company in both monetary terms, and through the additional influence that goes along with owning the world's largest online payment system.

Just consider that PayPal oversees a staggering amount of transactional volume every year. In Q4 of 2013 alone, there were more than 846 million separate transactions, which equals out to around USD $9 million a day.

It bears mentioning that in 2013 PayPal contributed roughly 41 percent of eBay's total revenues. More than $27 billion of that sum came in the form of mobile payments, which was a stellar bit of growth, approximately 100 percent more than in 2012  (in other words, double the total from 2012).

PayPal's easy-to-use and intuitive payment system still stands as a distinct advantage for eBay in stark contrast to other mobile commerce competitors.

eBay as a Mobile Application

Though the early days of mobile commerce clearly established eBay as a front-runner, many other major players have made up quite a bit of ground since. Perhaps somewhat ironically, PayPal's convenient payouts contributed to the success of many other US web merchants who launched mobile applications as well.

Even in 2012, eBay's potential as a mobile commerce platform was already coming to fruition, with close to $13 billion in transactions being conducted via mobile. This was already doubled from 2011.

The mobile platform has recently become intensely popular around the world. In the UK, for example, close to a third of all eBay purchases occurred on a mobile device.

The eBay application is looking quite unstoppable at the moment. Just consider the following statistics:

  • In 2013, eBay's mobile commerce volume increased by 75 percent.
  • 22 percent of eBay's sales are currently made via mobile.
  • In 2013, eBay increased its mobile users by more than 3.2 million individuals.

The word, ladies and gentlemen, is growth. eBay's mobile platform is already extremely popular, and still growing. Yet (as previously mentioned), it's still a distant second to Amazon in terms of monthly visitors, as the following graph illustrates.

Chart - leading mobile retailers

These big three in the world of mobile commerce represent the vast majority of traffic, data, and sales within the online shopping world, at least from a smartphone or tablet. 

eBay's mobile application has seen such a rise in usage recently that it's actually began making a mark in the realm of data contribution for mobile apps as a whole. It is, in fact, the first e-commerce application to pass the 1 percent threshold of both data volume and transactional volume, which is a surprising one-up on even Amazon's mobile platform.

Major apps by volume and transactions

This is enormously important in regard to eBay's popularity in the first place, but the numbers also confirm its continued dominance in the e-commerce market as a whole, especially considering Amazon is nowhere to be found on the same list.

The mobile commerce industry itself increased by 67 percent in the United States. The U.S. is, of course, eBay's prime market, but the gains have not been as great as the rest of the States' mobile commerce market.

eBay Q2 2013 numbers

Strengths of the Mobile eBay Application

The first advantage the eBay app has is the fat that it was one of the first. Being an early entrant into the market has allowed for global expansion into more than 30 countries around the world.

eBay has also had time to integrate a lot of different services into the application, such as online ticket trading and currency transfers. The aforementioned use of PayPal to make these transactions really played a huge part in this arena.

eBay holds another big advantage, and that's sheer scale. Being a huge international presence and a recognizable brand allows it to throw the support of its gigantic customer base and more than 17,000 employees behind the mobile interface.

eBay Mobile App Weaknesses

Though I've painted a compelling picture of eBay as an industry leader thus far, it should still be noted that Amazon is clearly a step ahead. Upstart Homeshop18 has also managed to come up with a mobile app that operates much faster and more smoothly than that of eBay.

Claims of fraud and litigation have also plagued eBay, both on desktop and mobile. Such fraudulent activities can include risking sales from illegitimate users. This is obviously because when dealing with the sale of homemade or used items, ownership details could easily be forged.

The mobile app does not work to minimize these problems by making a concerted effort at removing shady or illegitimate sellers. And you always have the usual security risks when transferring money via PayPal to unverified users or groups.

Still, even through sheer force of brand recognition, eBay is well positioned to secure a great deal of market confidence for many years to come, and signs remain positive as far as eBay's continued growth and profitability.

Though there is still plenty of competition, such as Amazon, Alibaba, and Rakuten, the market growth is abundant and should provide plenty of pie for everyone at the table.

Finally, eBay's position within the market is essentially cemented by its inclusion of PayPal, which transcends international boundaries because of its unique credit/banking hybrid payment system.

It doesn't seem like eBay is going away anytime soon, and neither is the mobile application. Do you agree or disagree? Sound off on your opinion of the mobile commerce market in the comment section.

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