eBay’s Mobile Momentum: 100M App Downloads, 100M Items Listed

EBay is not the only e-commerce company seeing a significant shift to mobile, but it may be the only publicly held company that talks about it. Today, it has even more to say, and since the subject is big numbers, it threw in a nifty infographic (see below).

The San Jose-based company says its mobile app has been downloaded 100 million times since its launch four years ago. That’s equal to the number of the service’s active users — those who bought, listed or sold something on eBay last year. The company is not saying how many of those downloaded apps are used regularly, but by at least one measure, activity is fairly high — users have now listed 100 million items to its marketplace using the eBay app, by taking a picture of the item with their phone and uploading all the data within minutes.

While many other companies are fretting about how they will make money from mobile, roughly 16 percent of eBay’s revenue this year will be coming from mobile devices. While that’s still a fairly small percentage, that number has doubled in just the past year.

Steve Yankovich, eBay’s VP of mobile, said the average transaction on eBay’s mobile apps runs between $30 and $45, in contrast to companies that sell 99-cent mobile games or virtual goods. On the high end, he notes that more than 9,000 cars are sold every week through the app, some of which are priced above $100,000.

Yankovich says they see the most sales coming from the iPhone out of all the smartphone apps, and a lot of transactions are also coming from the iPad and the mobile Web.

Yankovich calls mobile commerce “situational shopping.” Maybe you’re admiring a friend’s fancy new espresso machine, and you buy it on the spot from your phone, he said. Or you’re on the sidelines at your kid’s soccer game, or stuck on the train, or in a meeting, with some spare time for a bit of shopping. “I could be a consumer just for that moment,” he says.

So far this year, the most expensive item that was listed and sold on eBay via mobile was a $22,500 framed Peter Lik photograph. But if that sounds ridiculous, Yankovich has a plausible explanation: “There’s all kinds of things that are bought on mobile that are six figures. People who have lots of money are also busy,” he said.

EBay previously forecasted that it would hit $10 billion in revenue on mobile this year. Based on last year’s gross merchandise volume of roughly $60 billion, that works out to 16 percent of the company’s revenue. The main app, which gets a five-star rating on the iPhone, is available in eight languages and in more than 180 countries. The company has a separate app for cars and parts, called eBay Motors. It also operates Red Laser, which provides bar-code scanning technology, and an eBay Fashion app, which focuses on clothing. There are versions for a myriad of smartphone operating systems and tablets.

Among private companies that discuss mobile revenue, some are seeing even higher percentages, albeit off a much smaller base. Fab.com, which sells trendy home decor and apparel online, said recently that 30 percent of the company’s revenue and 30 percent of its daily visits are now from mobile. One Kings Lane, which is projecting $200 million in revenue this year, reports that mobile makes up 22 percent of the company’s sales.

A more direct comparison would be to Amazon or Walmart, but neither breaks out mobile revenue, although Amazon does allude to positive metrics, such as selling more e-books than hardbacks and paperbacks combined.

Here’s the eBay infographic with all the fun facts:

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