November 30, 2011, 12:27 PM

Mobile commerce played its part on Cyber Monday

Sales were up significantly at eBay and other merchants.

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Cyber Monday 2011 was the biggest online shopping day in history: Consumers spent $1.25 billion on the web, comScore finds. Mobile commerce played its part, generating mobile sales and helping shoppers in stores.

This was quite evident at eBay Inc., the merchant that moves the most merchandise via a mobile site and apps. Shoppers in the U.S. spent two and a half times more via eBay’s mobile site and apps this Cyber Monday, Nov. 28, than last year’s Cyber Monday. It did not release exact sales figures, but sales surely were big for mobile—eBay says it’s on track to hit $5 billion in mobile sales this year, which would be an average of $13.7 million a day.

“EBay’s Cyber Monday mobile numbers underscore a trend we’ve seen in 2012: Shoppers are now just more comfortable using their mobile devices to shop for and purchase products,” says Tom Nawara, vice president of digital strategy and design at digital research and marketing firm Acquity Group LLC. “Acquity Group’s analysis of the m-commerce capabilities of the Internet Retailer Top 500 e-retailers shows a tremendous uptick in mobile adoption among merchants over the past two years, and that increase, along with consumers’ rapid smartphone adoption and mobile comfort level, is the basis for the terrific revenue numbers we’re seeing this year.”

EBay’s payments company PayPal reports a 552% increase in global mobile payment volume this Monday compared to Cyber Monday 2010. And eBay’s e-commerce and m-commerce technology company GSI Commerce reports a 374% increase in U.S. mobile sales for its clients with mobile sites or apps this Monday compared with Cyber Monday 2010. They did not report sales in dollars.

A study by IBM shows on Cyber Monday, 10.8% of traffic to the sites of 500 retailers came from mobile devices, up from 3.9% in 2010. Additionally, mobile sales grew dramatically, reaching 6.6% of total e-commerce sales on Cyber Monday versus 2.3% in 2010.

While most merchants are not revealing their exact mobile sales figures for Cyber Monday, they likely are more significant than ever. Overall, the Internet Retailer Mobile Commerce Top 300 predicts the 300 most successful merchants in mobile commerce will generate $5.7 billion in mobile sales in 2011. This figure does not include eBay’s $5 billion because eBay is a marketplace not a retailer. Taking eBay into account,  total mobile retail sales in 2011 are expected to surpass $10 billion.

“The growth is coming from an increase in active mobile commerce shoppers,” says Mark Beccue, senior analyst, consumer mobility, at ABI Research.

M-commerce technology provider Digby’s more than 50 retailer clients realized significant growth in mobile commerce this past Black Friday and Cyber Monday compared with the same days last year. On average, Digby reports, the retailers’ mobile sales grew 204%, store locator visits increased 1,506%, unique visitors jumped 147% and average order value hit $102.

Mobile commerce technology vendor mShopper reports that promotional codes were used by 52% of all mobile shoppers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday on its 40 most active mobile clients’ sites. The average mobile order value was $88 and the average order size was close to two items. Further, mobile sales on Cyber Monday were 113% greater than on Black Friday.

Interestingly, a study of millions of social media posts this past weekend by online and mobile customer experience management firm Tealeaf and social media monitoring company Crimson Hexagon shows many consumers were chatting about mobile “power shopping,” shopping in-store and via their mobile devices at the same time.

Back at eBay, on Cyber Monday the five most popular categories shopped via mobile, excluding vehicles, were, in order: clothing, shoes and accessories; computers and networking; jewelry and watches; collectibles; and sporting goods. And the cities where consumers spent the most per shopper on Cyber Monday via eBay mobile were Athens, GA; Los Angeles; and New York.

“Mobile appears to be increasingly significant,” says Sucharita Mulpuru, a vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research Inc. “And eBay has been a leader in mobile.”

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