EBay says fourth quarter results beat analysts' forecasts, boosted by a dramatic rise in the use of mobile phones to access its online auction house and PayPal service.
Revenue for the fourth quarter was up 18% to $4 billion, and for the full year increased 21% to $14.1 billion. Net income on a Gaap basis was $751 million for the quarter and $2.6 billion for the year.
John Donahoe, CEO, eBay, says the results are down in large part to the rise of mobile, which "continues to rewrite the commerce playbook".
PayPal is using mobile as a way of bridging the gap between its traditional online domain and the high-street. The company has signed up 23 large US retailers to its technology, meaning that they can accept payment by PayPal at the check-out. The company also affirms that its deal with Discover to issue PayPal cards over the card processor's seven-million strong retailer network is firmly on track.
The unit smashed predictions to process $14 billion in mobile payments for customers last year, 250% more than in 2011. EBay's mobile service saw $13 billion in volume, more than double the previous year. For 2013, both businesses are forecasting volumes of $20 billion.
The figures chime with the results of the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, which show that UK sales through mobile devices (including tablets) were up 304% on 2011. Overall, the online retail market grew by 14% in 2012 to £78 billion and is expected to increase another 12% this year, to £87 billion.