December 15, 2010 at 2:51 pm

In-App Shoppers, Especially on Tablets, Spend More than Web Users

The iPad version of eBay causes people to buy more than the iPhone version, which in turn makes them buy more than they do on the website.

The iPad version of eBay causes people to buy more than the iPhone version, which in turn makes them buy more than they do on the website. Can apps successfully sell music where music websites struggled?

People who shop using with an eBay app spend more money than they do on the same products in the company’s web store, and iPad users spend the most of all, according to an eBay executive.

Anyone looking to sell stuff on the internet, digital music stores included, might want to take note: If you want to sell something, sell it through an app — preferably one that runs on a large screen.

The topic surfaced in an interview with Mobile Roadie CEO Michael Schneider for an earlier story (about his artist app creation platform), in which he referred to an illuminating report from AIM Group, based on remarks by eBay director of engineering, platform business solutions and mobile, Han Yuan. Yuan revealed fascinating details about how much people spend on eBay depending on whether they use an iPhone app, iPad app, the mobile website, or the desktop version.

EBay's iPhone app shoppers spend more money on average than visitors to its website, but iPad users who browse the eBay app on a larger screen spend the most of all.

Schneider told,

“I keep citing this statistic because I find it so amazing: eBay’s going to do $1.5 billion in mobile sales this year. 70 percent of that is going to come from the app, and 30 percent from their mobile website [according to the company], so already, the app has a huge advantage over the mobile website.

“But when you break down the numbers even further, an iPhone user on eBay spends an average of $65 a week on eBay products. An iPad user spends $85 per week. And that $85 is 50 percent more than visitors to the eBay website spend in general.

“What’s most interesting about that is that those are the same products, the same options, the same people, the same everything. The only difference is a bigger screen. That’s it. It shows that the app experience is important, because people [spend more] there than on the mobile web, and it shows that a big screen is important.

[As a music app developer], I’m excited about all these tablets coming out in addition to the iPad — Blackberry, Samsung, Android tablets and all the others. I think that’s going to become a really interesting space over the next 6-12 months, and one that we are going to play in.”

EBay’s numbers have a lesson for the music industry: People could be more likely to discover and purchase music within apps than within webpages — and they’re especially likely to do so while using apps on big screens. For now, that includes only a limited number of tablets, but as of next year, it will mean televisions too.

The iPad (not to mention the television) doesn’t work too well as a mobile music player, but eBay’s numbers indicate that it’s an unparalleled shopping device. And once you buy cloud-based digital music on one platform (i.e. tablet or television), it also becomes available on your computer, set-top box, and smartphone.