Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

from MediaFile:

Mobile sales are helping eBay, but is it enough?

EBAY/eBay said Wednesday that the value of goods sold in the U.S. through its mobile applications surged 133% to $100 million during the month before Christmas. Globally, the growth was even stronger: Up 166% to $230 million worth of goods.

That is good news from one angle. eBay is having success using mobile devices to sell goods during the busiest retailing period of the year. But it obscures another fact: Mobile sales may be a growing market, but it's a tiny portion of eBay's overall sales. And overall sales don't appear to be growing nearly as fast.

eBay's Gross Merchandise Volume (the total value of all goods sold through eBay) was $48.3 billion in 2009, excluding car sales, and that figure is likely to top $50 billion in 2010. The $230 million GMV of mobile sales is equal to only 0.5% of eBay's total GMV last year.

Put another way, the volume of goods sold through mobile devices during the holiday season is about 6 percent of the average volume of goods sold each month on eBay.

Check Out Line: Mixed ruling in eBay vs Craigslist case

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Check out the latest twist in the eBay – Craigslist saga.

RTR2AWXU

A judge reinstated eBay’s 28.4 percent stake in Craigslist, but allowed the classifieds site to keep eBay off its board.

The mixed ruling meant no clear victory for either of the companies, whose relationship turned from cozy to competitive and ended up in court in 2008.

Swapping your kids (clothing) online

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Kids boxLuxury goods, shoes, bags and women’s clothing — they’re all represented in spades in the secondary market online.

But finding gently used clothing for kids — constantly-growing kids — is harder online, says James Reinhart, co-founder and chief executive of thredUP, a new clothing swap site designed just for busy moms.

Window shopping on the iPad, brought to you by eBay

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eBay_iPad_1Shopping in front of a computer or small hand-held device got you down? EBay says it has the answer with its new iPad app, completely redesigned for ultimate browsing on Apple‘s hippest new tablet.

The app has already been downloaded “tens of thousands” of times  since the launch of the iPad on Saturday, said eBay’s vice president of mobile, Steven Yankovich. Currently, eBay is No 11 in the list of free iPad apps, he said.

Need an inside source? Here’s eBay

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insidesourceEBay, the online marketplace where shoppers can find anything from toys to cars to designer handbags, has launched a digital magazine. 
    
The magazine, www.theinsidesource.com, is geared to “inspired shoppers” and features stories based on what eBay’s millions of users are looking for, according to the publication.

It will feature articles, analysis and opinions from eBay shoppers and journalists. The site will also point to eBay’s most-watched and most-searched items.
 
“The Inside Source content will reflect what inspires us on eBay, from a profile of an art dealer discovering museum-quality pieces to a breakdown of the hottest trends in handbags,” said Managing Editor Meredith Barnett.
    
Perusal of the site revealed postings on a variety of topics, from Kim Kardashian’s style and cocktail rings for under $30 to Jane Birkin’s kitchen and items made of hemp.     
    
The magazine is part of the company’s recent marketing efforts to reenergize its marketplaces business, which competes with a host of e-commerce rivals, including Amazon.com.

Check Out Line: A greener eBay?

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Check Out eBay’s steps toward becoming more environmentally friendly.EBAY/

The online auctioneer announced its first greenhouse gas emissions reduction target on Monday, saying it has committed to a 15-percent cut to its corporate emissions by 2012, over a 2008 baseline.

EBay said it will achieve that target through continuing investments in renewable energy and promoting “sustainable” habits tied to the travel and personal energy use of its 15,000-strong workforce.

Back to School with the Walking ATM

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paypal-copyParents — ever feel like a walking ATM? Want to teach your kids about responsible financial management (and get them to stop pestering you for their allowance every week in the bargain?)

Check out PayPal‘s new program for students, launching today, in which a sub-account for your child is linked to your own PayPal account.

The legal way to buy stolen goods

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GERMANY/Don’t let the headline fool you.  It is still illegal to buy stolen goods … unless you’re buying them from the police.

In the same way that eBay is the world’s virtual garage sale, a website called Property Room is trying to become the world’s virtual police auction.

from Summit Notebook:

Retail in recession: bottoms, bananas and breeding

So, what did we learn from executives in the hard-hit luxury and main street retail sectors this week at the Reuters summits?

The idea of a "new normal" age of lower consumerism was in vogue, with many executives expecting consumers to continue to be thrifty for some time. Conspicuous consumption may be dead, they say.

A suitor for Skype?

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(Refiles to correct Donahoe’s first name to John.)

TECH TAIWAN SKYPETo sell Skype, or not to sell Skype. That is the question for eBay, and Wall Street has diverging opinions on whether the San Jose company will or won’t unload its Internet telephone service.
    
Skype was acquired under the reign of former CEO Meg Whitman (now a California gubernatorial hopeful) and touted as a nifty way for eBay’s millions of sellers and buyers to connect. That reality never materialized, and current CEO John Donahoe has acknowledged that synergies between eBay and Skype are nonexistent.
    
Still, Skype is on a tear, growing at double digits and adding 350,000 global users a day. The five-year-old company logged $551 million in revenue in 2008 — that number is expected to double by 2011 — and is now a subject of great speculation by analysts, who wonder whether eBay plans to spin it off, or hold it close. 
                              
Cowan and Co’s Jim Friedland, for one, thinks it’s for sale. Writing in a note the day after eBay held an analyst presentation to outline the company’s three-year plan, Friedland said it appeared “eBay was using the Skype discussion to trigger a bidding war between Google and Microsoft.”
       
“We believe the asset would be attractive to both Google and Microsoft to enhance their web-based enterprise application services. In addition, Skype’s user base of 405 million, which is particularly strong internationally, would likely strengthen Google’s dominant position in the consumer web app market.”

But Bernstein Research’s Jeffrey Lindsay did not see it that way: “We think the dearth of buyers such as Google or Microsoft will mean that eBay is more likely to spin out part of Skype to the public (like Time Warner did initially with Time Warner Cable).”
    
Huh. Donahoe, incidentally, has said only that eBay will do what’s best “to maximize Skype’s potential and value.”
    
Deutsche Bank’s Jeetil Patel opined that, since Skype is performing well, “Management should hold on to this business model” and Credit Suisse’s Spencer Wang said he did not see eBay rushing to sell.
    
“While we think the company would be open to parting with Skype at the right price (currently valued at $1.8 billion on eBay’s balance sheet), a divestiture of Skype does not appear imminent,” Wang wrote.

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