Mobile Shopping to Deliver £4.5bn by 2016 to Britain’s Economy Says eBay

I’ve just received this, I’ll pass comments in an later article. However the numbers are literally “epic” and I’m looking forward to delving into this into greater detail.


  • m-commerce to be worth £19bn by 2021, research reveals
  • eBay calls on Ofcom to address consumer frustrations
  • 16% of UK is an “m-commerce not-spot”

Mobile shopping could deliver a £4.5bn boost to Britain’s economy by 2016 and a further £13bn by 2021, according to new research by online marketplace eBay. The research reveals that m-commerce is on the verge of a potential four-fold increase over the next five years as consumers become more comfortable with shopping on their handsets.

Despite the future potential of m-commerce, the research by retail experts Verdict, warns that the market is currently being held back by unreliable mobile broadband. UK retailers are missing out on at least £1.3bn as a result of consumer frustrations with patchy coverage, unreliable connections and slow connection speeds driving shoppers away.

eBay, Britain’s market leader in m-commerce, is calling on regulators to take action to enable m-commerce to support the UK’s economic recovery. In a submission to communications regulator Ofcom, eBay is calling on policy-makers to do more to address consumer frustrations when rules for the fourth generation (4G) of mobile networks are agreed later this year.

The research shows that 16% of the UK is an “m-commerce not-spot”, where mobile spending is at least 20% below the national average. Sparsely populated areas, such as the Scottish highlands and islands, rural Wales and rural counties of England are the worst affected. But the evidence also shows that mobile shopping is underperforming in certain heavily populated areas like central London, with broadband reliability and coverage acting as a brake on the potential mobile retail market.

More than a third of consumers have failed to complete a purchase on their mobile due to issues with mobile broadband.

Although network coverage (79%), the reliability (85%) and speed (86%) of mobile internet connections rank highly as barriers to mobile shopping, consumers are also heavily put off by the cost of data (80%).

When asked their views on what should be the top priority for mobile networks and regulators, the cost of data came out top (over half), with improving coverage in second place (23%). One in ten think improving of the reliability of internet connections in urban areas (14%) should be the priority, followed by providing better internet coverage on transport routes (13%).

eBay has published this data as it calls on Ofcom to take action to support m-commerce and help the sector realise its potential, as the regulator decides on how best to sell licences for new superfast “4G” mobile broadband. Ofcom is currently consulting on the rules of the auction.

Angus McCarey, UK Retail Director for eBay UK said: “Mobile shopping represents a massive opportunity not just for retailers, but for the economy as a whole. But our research shows that consumers and retailers are missing out as the cost and reliability of mobile broadband prevents shoppers from spending.

“High quality and reliable mobile broadband coverage throughout the UK has to be our ambition, giving consumers choice over when and how they shop, encouraging spending, thereby benefitting online and high street retail, and giving a much needed boost to the fragile economic recovery.”

MP Rory Stewart, a leading campaigner for mobile broadband, confirmed the importance of m-commerce to small businesses: “Growth in Britain is going to come from small businesses and it will be driven by mobile broadband. In rural areas, our businesses depend upon online activities, e-commerce and increasingly eBay and m-commerce. This is another fantastic example of why we must take this opportunity to expand mobile broadband coverage as far as possible.”

Mobile continues to be the fastest growing part of eBay’s business, with global mobile sales set to double again in 2011 to over $4 billion. More than 16 million people use their iPhones to shop through eBay – whether that’s for bespoke or vintage items, or increasingly for branded and new items direct from over 100 high-street retailers at up to 70% off full price.

Retailers also have a role to play in harnessing this opportunity and reflecting the demand from consumers, with 88% less likely to shop via mobile because many shopping websites are not optimised for mobile.

Neil Saunders, Consulting Director, Verdict Research commented: “With the increasing proliferation of smartphones, more and more consumers want make the most of the convenience of being able to shop on the move. Retailers need to move fast to optimise their websites and capture this growing market.”

UK’s top 10 mobile shopping “not-spots” where mobile spend is significantly below the national average:

Rank Place Mobile spend % lower than national average
1 Outer Hebrides 58%
2 Lerwick, Scotland 57%
3 Kirkwall, Scotland 50%
4 Llandrindod Wells, Wales 47%
5 Jersey 43%
6 London WC 38%
7 Inverness 35%
8 Galashiels 35%
9 Perth 34%
10 Isle of Man 30%

UK’s top 5 mobile shopping hotspots where mobile spend is significant above the national average:

Rank Place Mobile spend % higher than national average
1 Birmingham 75%
2 Chester 62%
3 Leeds 28%
4 Romford 28%
5 Halifax 26%

About Verdict research

The consumer polling was conducted with 1,500 consumers between 11th and 16th May 2011.

Verdict uses a variety of sources for its market forecasts and numbers. Consumer research is used to understand current consumer penetration and habits in the mobile space and this data is modelled and sense checked against retailer data and other industry sources. Forecasting is conducted using Verdict’s rigorous integrated forecasting model that assesses retail’s position in the broader UK economy and the relative performance of individual channels, including mobile. It also takes account of macro-level factors such as demographic change, consumer preferences, evolving technologies and economics. All forecasts and numbers are challenged in an internal analysts’ forum to ensure that they are compatible with expectations of other retail channels and sectors and for retail as a whole.


– Founded in 1999, is the UK’s largest online shopping destination, providing a platform for over 17.7m unique visitors per month to buy and sell new, unique and used items in a fun and easy way.
– Far from an online auction house, eBay currently has 17 million live listings on the UK site, with fixed price goods accounting for the majority (60%) of items sold globally.
– Sellers of all sizes, including 180,000 registered businesses and over 30 high-street retailers use to reach the UK’s largest online shopping audience.
– eBay supports buyers and sellers by promoting the best value deals through Daily Deals, and the eBay Outlet sells products from well known brands at up to 70% off the recommended retail price. Follow for alerts to great deals on eBay and beyond.
– is owned by eBay Inc, which has expanded to include some of the strongest brands in the world, including eBay, PayPal, StubHub,, and others.
eBay mobile facts- Over 16 million people have now downloaded the core iPhone eBay app across the globe.
– eBay mobile applications are available in more than 190 countries and eight languages.
– Across all its mobile platforms the eBay apps have been downloaded 30 million times
– eBay mobile apps have been downloaded over 30 million times globally.
– Mobile shoppers on have bought more than 30 million items through iPhone and WAP since July 2008.
– There are up to 380,000 daily visits to via mobile apps, and more than 170,000 UK mobile shoppers spend over £30 with the eBay mobile app per week.
– In 2010, global eBay sales via a mobile device more than tripled, generating $2 billion in sales – up from $600m in 2009.  This is set to double again in 2011 to over $4 billion.
– Globally an item is purchased every 2 seconds using the eBay app.


eBay’s mobile “not-spots” analysis uses eBay’s own sales data to compare levels of mobile commerce in each area relative to levels of ordinary e-commerce. An area is defined as a mobile “not-spots” if the ratio of m-commerce is 20% or more below the national average.

The estimate of the current loss to the economy in m-commerce sales resulting from poor mobile broadband connections was calculated using consumer research conducted by Verdict into the extent to which consumers are currently deterred from spending via their mobiles. Our model calculates the lost value to the economy by taking the number of consumers who responded that they would spend “significantly more” if mobile broadband was more reliable, and calculating how much they would spend if they consumed at the level of consumers who are satisfied. To ensure a conservative estimate, consumers who responded that they would merely spend “somewhat more” are disregarded.

The estimate of current and future regional spending levels via mobile is calculated using Verdict’s nationwide estimates of current and future m-commerce spending combined with eBay’s own detailed regional data on current m-commerce spending levels.

– Locational information is based on consumers’ registered home addresses

Converting GMT to PST & PDT Timezones

This is more for my reference than a true article, as I needed a way of easily working out when US based events happen, such as webinars and meetings.

This table converts GMT to both PDT and PST:

01:00 1.00am 17:00 5.00pm 18:00 6.00pm
02:00 2.00am 18:00 6.00pm 19:00 7.00pm
03:00 3.00am 19:00 7.00pm 20:00 8.00pm
04:00 4.00am 20:00 8.00pm 21:00 9.00pm
05:00 5.00am 21:00 9.00pm 22:00 10.00pm
06:00 6.00am 22:00 10.00pm 23:00 11.00pm
07:00 7.00am 23:00 11.00pm 00:00 Midnight
08:00 8.00am 00:00 Midnight 01:00 1.00am
09:00 9.00am 01:00 1.00am 02:00 2.00am
10:00 10.00am 02:00 2.00am 03:00 3.00am
11:00 11.00am 03:00 3.00am 04:00 4.00am
12:00 Noon 04:00 4.00am 05:00 5.00am
13:00 1.00pm 05:00 5.00am 06:00 6.00am
14:00 2.00pm 06:00 6.00am 07:00 7.00am
15:00 3.00pm 07:00 7.00am 08:00 8.00am
16:00 4.00pm 08:00 8.00am 09:00 9.00am
17:00 5.00pm 09:00 9.00am 10:00 10.00am
18:00 6.00pm 10:00 10.00am 11:00 11.00am
19:00 7.00pm 11:00 11.00am 12:00 Noon
20:00 8.00pm 12:00 Noon 13:00 1.00pm
21:00 9.00pm 13:00 1.00pm 14:00 2.00pm
22:00 10.00pm 14:00 2.00pm 15:00 3.00pm
23:00 11.00pm 15:00 3.00pm 16:00 4.00pm
00:00 Midnight 16:00 4.00pm 17:00 5.00pm

Facebook Like Button = 84Kb or 1.340 Seconds?

First off, I’ll openly admit I’m pretty anally-retentive when it comes to page load times and tweaking WordPress to get the most out of it. So the following, who just want a ‘button’, have your button. For me, 84Kb is crazy.

I’ve since delved into the this topic of the social buttons and you’ll find the deeper analysis of The True Cost of Adding Social Buttons insightful, as a very common one is over 120kb! You can read the full article here.


Yes, thats right, to include the Facebook like button on the right of the site, its downloading 83.4Kb of data just to show this single button. To me that’s just crazy-ness!

Facebook Download Data

From the sheet above you’ll see the breakdown of assets that are being pulled from facebook domains. The first object is the FB icon and can be ignored and is not included in the sums.

The red sum of 1340, is in milliseconds, or in English, 1.34 seconds. So already you must be think, holy mother of god, an extra 1.34 seconds to load this little button? But then we realise why, by summing the actual weight of these objects, we take a whopping 83.4 KB (kilobytes or one thousands of a megabyte) hit and this explains why it takes so long.

I’ll save the full explanation of why I’m doing in this spreadsheet and how I get the data for a later article, for now I have more pressing articles & videos that need to be churned.

Good Bye Button!

Yep, after that, the button is off, I’ll swap it with a png or gif image that links directly to the facebook page (which is here by the way).

Or Maybe…

I’m just feeling guilty for including 32Kb for the JQuery file to make the scrolling banner on the homepage and are looking for stuff to trim to warrant its inclusion, lol!

My Goal

Currently this site runs on about 75 item requests for the homepage, my target for the next few days is to get this to 50. This should take a cool 50 extra requests off the site (as one request to the server and one to send it back again) and I have the mental goal of getting in under the 4second mark consistently.

Why Am I So Crazy for Shaving KB and Milliseconds?

The facts speak for themselves, here is a quote from (full article here)

According to the findings of the surveys conducted by Lightner, Bose and Salvendy (1996) and the GVU (Graphic, Visualization and Usability) Centre at Georgia Institute of Technology (GVU, 1998), long download times have always been a major problem experienced by Web users. The survey by Pitkow and Kehoe (1996) also indicates that the most widely cited problem with using the world wide web was that it took too long to download web pages (i.e. 69% of respondents cited this problem).
For e-commerce sites, web loading times are even more crucial than other sites. It has been found that a delay of microseconds can potentially cause a significant loss of revenue. Tests at Amazon revealed similar results: every 100 ms increase in load time of decreased sales by 1% (Kohavi and Longbotham 2007). Google discovered that a change in a 10-result page loading in 0.4 seconds to a 30-result page loading in 0.9 seconds decreased traffic and ad revenues by 20% (Linden 2006).

Then take a watch of this interview “Why CIOs need to care about web speed” which I tweeted this morning.

Final Thoughts

Speed Limit InfinityHow can I even dare suggest to a client that they need to clear and optimise their website up if mine is not up to scratch?

Dropping 84Kb and a whopping 1.34 seconds to page load time is a massive score in any ones book. Yes, as with everything its a fine balance between functionality, usability, novelty and speed, but sometimes, I drawing the line is needed and I’m drawing it here!

9 days to Go ChannelAdvisor Checkout Closing

ChannelAdvisorJust in case you’ve not had an update, the 3rd party checkout system that was employed at Channel Advisor is being removed on the 18th May. You can see the full update and requirements here.

This is a forced change by eBay to move all buyers through a standardised checkout flow. Although, as far as I’m aware they have yet to provide an alternative that can deal with the complex shipping and tax requirements of some businesses and countries. A huge benefit outside of these two requirements for the 3rd party checkout system was the ability to offer credit card processing outside of PayPal, I suspect we’re unlikely to see anything threaten the eBay revenue cow ‘PayPal’.

Note: While there is a tool for very large retailers called municipal-level tax calculator its unlikely that “normal” sellers would be allowed access.

While personally a fan of the 3rd party checkout system myself for the reasons above and having the chance to actually alter a 3rd party checkout system to how I actually felt it should look like and feel at eSellerPro with fully customised and branded checkout experiences.

The only real advice I can offer is that is look upon this as a chance to simply processes. Complex is great, but sometimes simple is just as easy and much easier for customers to understand too. Ultimately this is a win for buyers as it gives a unified checkout flow and it does enable the eBay shopping basket that eBay have been trying to implement for 3 or so years.

Question Everything

Question Everything

Question Everything

Who said that there is only one way of doing things?

This has been my wallpaper for several months now, (you can download the full version here). As soon as the computer boots up, I’m presented with this and when the machine shuts down, I’m presented with it again.

As I start and as I finish, but then I’m sure I never really finish as, like you I’m guessing, you’re still processing the events. tasks and thoughts of the day long after you turn the black box off.

There was some “dude” called Einstein, whom I quote:

Definition of ‘Insanity’: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

I think he might have been on to something. Today’s outcome was XYZ, what if I we did something slightly different and made ZYX, is it better?

Programmers understand that while ZYX might not have been the logical result that they had planned for, ZYX is actually a result, just not the one that was expected. Thus can be worked on, to obtain the desired result. Knowing and then accepting, really is king, at least you can chose to be ignorant that way.


I’ve got about 30 daft articles in the in pipeline currently, but “Project E” is taking up the majority of my spare time (along with this stunning weather we’re having in the UK). I was aiming for a tweet sized mission statement, but have narrowed it down to less than half of this.

“Project E” is not a new idea by any means, its just never been done ‘properly’ before, not even by the people involved and those who wrote the basis of the majority of “Project E” materials.

I believe I need to start talking to more people about this, may be here in a few days time, its scale is immense and its boundaries are specifically limited for now. Once the end goal is defined and the path to it sketched out, its going to be action, action  action.

And finally will allow the differentiation between what I have been lacking in focus here and targeting “Project E” specifically and allowing this site to follow its new path.

Sorry, all a bit deep for a Weds back after a double bank holiday weekend, it’ll make sense this time next week :)