eBay: Half of all consumers access Web during the shopping experience


BARCELONA, Spain--Half of all U.S. consumers access the Web at some point during the shopping experience, with mobile devices playing an increasingly significant role in how customers shop both online and off, said eBay president and CEO John Donahoe during his keynote speech here at Mobile World Congress 2012.

Consumers look to digital services to purchase goods, compare prices, determine product availability and read reviews, Donahoe said. "Mobile devices are blurring the boundary between what used to be called e-commerce and retail," Donahoe stated. "Mobile devices are making that boundary redundant."

Donahoe believes the world of commerce and payments is at an inflection point, forecasting that consumer experience will change more dramatically over the next three to five years than in the previous 10 to 20 years. "Finishing a transaction on a mobile device is just part of the story--the bigger story is about changing the shopping and payment experience," he said. "Large retailers can now provide a seamless, interactive shopping experience."

Donahoe added that eBay is presently at work on a new mobile application that will enable users to compare prices across digital storefronts and nearby brick-and-mortar stores, purchase items from retail partners like Best Buy, complete the transaction via eBay's PayPal solution and then pick up the product from their local Best Buy store. Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn, who followed Donahoe, said that 77 percent of the big-box chain's shoppers who complete a purchase via mobile device pick up that item later the same day.

eBay is on pace to reach $8 billion in mobile gross merchandise volume in 2012, up from $5 billion in 2011, Donahoe said. He added that more than 70 million consumers worldwide have downloaded the eBay app to their mobile handset, up from 65 million in mid-January.

In addition to Donahoe's keynote appearance, eBay announced a new preloading agreement with operator 3UK. Moving forward, all 3UK smartphones running Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android mobile operating system will ship with eBay directly on the device. eBay additionally said that it is updating its app for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone to enable users to calculate shipping, research pricing trends and make sales from virtually anywhere--the app also brings improved image quality, push notifications on bids and Twitter integration.

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