M-commerce profit surge helps ring in the holidays

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Special offers, deals and free shipping spurred online traffic
Special offers, deals and free shipping spurred online traffic

This year's Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend proved a big one for e-commerce — and mobile commerce in particular. Thanks to a combination of generous deals and increasingly savvy and mobile-focused consumers, the biggest shopping weekend of the year was bigger than ever for online retailers.

Few brands had as impressive an m-commerce showing as eBay, which enjoyed a 516% rise in mobile payment volume on Black Friday and a 552% increase on Cyber Monday, compared with last year. 

 “Last year online was the big player, and it's still significant, but when it comes to growth numbers in mobile shopping, what we've seen is breathtaking,” said Claudia Lombana, PayPal shopping specialist.

Lombana said a big part of this surge comes from consumers who are becoming more familiar and comfortable with mobile technology and making purchases online, with the combination of eBay and PayPal allowing customers to make purchases anytime.

Though not quite enjoying eBay numbers, the home product retailer Wayfair saw the volume of purchases made using mobile devices double this year compared to the previous year, with tablet devices playing a key role in the increase.

“The iPad was the mobile channel of choice,” said Jeff Steeves, director of marketing for Wayfair. Indeed, according to the National Retail Federation, 70% of tablet owners reported plans to use them for holiday shopping this year. “Online has performed well this holiday season and retailers continue to push promotions,” says Kathy Grannis, director of media relations for the National Retail Federation.

One of the major drivers of this e-commerce traffic was free shipping offers, which more than 92% of online retailers provided to customers, according to Shop.org

“I wouldn't say that the Web channel is different here — if anything, they've caught up with stores which have been masters at this type of point-in-time promotional activity for years,” says Sucharita Mulpuru, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research, which forecasted a 15% increase in online sales overall.

Mulpuru points to online marketplaces, like Amazon.com, which offer a set of holiday-specific resources for their sellers. For example, Buy.com Marketplace enjoyed big sales on Cyber Monday, thanks in part to the addition of retailers such as Barnes & Noble, Tiger Direct and PETCO.


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