August 5, 2010, 12:02 PM

Mobile site traffic rankings look a lot like e-commerce stats

EBay and Amazon compete for the top spot in mobile retail site traffic.

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 It’s déjà vu all over again. EBay and Amazon are battling for the number one spot in mobile retail site traffic, as they have for years in e-commerce traffic, a new report from Nielsen Mobile Media View shows.

The Nielsen rankings are based on consumer surveys, not tracking of sessions as Nielsen does for many other reports. Nielsen tracks about 360 mobile sites per month and survey questions account for both visits to retailers’ mobile web sites and traffic coming through web-based apps—such as Amazon for the iPhone, Nielsen says. 

EBay mobile ranked No. 1 in mobile retail traffic for the month of June, according to the poll, with 6.40 million unique visitors, followed by Amazon’s mobile sites and apps  with 5.82 million. EBay-owned payment platform PayPal ranked third with 2.47 million visits. That’s likely because users paying with PayPal from a mobile device must go to the PayPal mobile site where they log in, review the transaction, select their payment method and shipping address and authorize the transaction—and because many consumers on No. 1-ranked eBay pay with PayPal.

PayPal and eBay go together hand in glove so that would give PayPal an immediate boost,” says Paula Rosenblum, managing partner at research and advisory firm Retail Systems Research LLC. She adds PayPal is a common choice for mobile payments because all a mobile consumer has to do to use the system is type in password, not a long and unwieldy credit card number plus expiration date and security code.

Julie Ask, an analyst with Forrester Research Inc., agrees the eBay/PayPal combo comes into play in the rankings. “Consumers will use mobile services if they are convenient,” she says. “Convenience means the benefits outweigh the inhibitors. Benefits in mobile are value in immediacy, simplicity and content. Auctions by nature value immediacy.”

 What’s more, some customers might feel more secure using PayPal from their phones because it doesn’t expose payment information to the merchant, Rosenblum says.

PayPal expects to process at least $500 million in mobile payments volume in 2010, up 255% from $141 million in 2009, says Bill Zielke, senior director for merchant services.

The Top 10 mobile retail players ranked by the number of unique visitors for June, according to Nielsen Mobile Media View were:

 eBay                          6.40 million

Amazon                      5.82 million    

PayPal                        2.47 million

Walmart                      2.23 million

Target                        2.16 million

Barnes & Noble           1.25 million

Macy’s                        1.07 million

Kohl’s                         1.07 million

Overstock                    1.02 million

J.C. Penney                 1.02 million


Nielsen also ranked sites by the number of average visits per person per site for the month. In that category, eBay led again with 7.5 visits. However, Yahoo, ranked No. 13 for traffic with 639,000 unique visitors, came in second with 6.4 average visits per person per site. It was followed by, No. 11 for traffic with 906,000 unique visitors, with 6.2 visits.

When it came to average time spent on a mobile retail site, Macy’s and QVC—No. 20 for traffic with 316,000 unique visitors—tied for first with 11 minutes. EBay, Amazon, Walmart and Barnes & Noble all tied for third with 10 minutes.

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