eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) is offering exclusive deals through its mobile service to beat the holiday shopping rush this Thanksgiving. It conducted a study to understand the shopping habits of customers on Thanksgiving and arrived at a time of around 5:30 p.m. when customers throng its websites looking for deals.  The company calls the spike in visits as post-pie shopping and is offering exclusive mobile deals on electronics and other gift items, providing customers the opportunity to shop from within the confines of their homes and beat the holiday rush.
Its biggest competitor Amazon has a head-start as it has spread out its Black Friday deals over several weeks and the mobile-based deals could see the company trim down the former’s advantage. Easy access to deals through mobile devices could also see the company gain new customers over the next month.
Over the past three years, the smartphone penetration in the U.S. has grown from 17% to about 50% currently. eBay has been able to leverage the growing mobile commerce market better than most other players with its apps crossing the 100 million downloads mark in September. A quarter of these downloads happened in the March-September period.
eBay saw $5 billion worth mobile device transactions in 2011 and it expects to do twice of that this year. The company added about 800,000 new users in Q3. We expect the timing and mobile exclusivity of the deals to result in the addition of a large number of users in Q4. eBay Mobile lists more than 100 million items with sellers listing about 2 million items per week from their smartphones. We expect the growing popularity of eBay’s mobile-based service will help attract new sellers and users, which should help it grow the number of items on offer.
The company used data gathered from its RedLaser service to arrive upon the items covered under the deal. While this helps the deal stay relevant by covering the most popular products, it also helps eBay to be efficient by not focusing on the wrong set of products. With the company promoting a better product portfolio than its competitors during the season, it can attract customers over from competitors.
Marketplaces account for about 47% of our $50 Trefis price estimate for eBay, which is at par with the market price. It is also the biggest revenue generator for the company currently, followed by PayPal.
- eBay Releasing Mobile-Exclusive Deals on Thanksgiving, Fox Business, November 2012 [↩]