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Mobile Sales Give eBay a Boost, but Competitors Say the Economy Is in Their Corner

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The trend toward economic recovery has likely helped boost sales at sites like uBid and RedTag, where buyers set the sales prices.

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL The online auction and marketplace site eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) has a great reason to celebrate these days. Earlier this month, the online sales site reported that revenue for the third quarter reached $3.4 billion, representing a 15% increase over the same period last year. Could this boost in profits be a sign that we're moving out of the recession? Perhaps the data suggests that people are ready to spend once again. Or is the jump in revenue largely due to the company becoming more tech savvy?

Spokesperson Kari Ramirez says the existence or nonexistence of a recession has nothing to do with the company's recently reported numbers. "Business does not fluctuate with markets and the recession," said Ramirez via email. Instead, she says, eBay's multiple platforms now have a global reach, creating an international marketplace. "Our platforms enable us to connect buyers and sellers anywhere in the world as we are delivering multichannel commerce innovation through eBay Marketplaces, PayPal, and GSI."

Mobile sales have been the main driver of growth at eBay. As of mid-October, 383,982 car parts and accessories and 9,200 vehicles were being sold every week, and 107 pieces of clothing, pairs of shoes, or accessories were being sold every minute exclusively through eBay's mobile apps. It helps that eBay's customers can land on the site ready to spend a few dollars or a few thousand. "As of October, we had 350 million listings on eBay.com and have a wide range of items, including cars that could be priced for $100,000 to a hair accessory priced at $0.25," says Ramirez.

At the online auction site uBid.com, however, executives feel that a slight recovery in the overall economy has helped sales. The eBay competitor launched in 1997 with over 5 million members. It says that the company, along with its sister site RedTag.com, does not currently have the data to comment on a connection between its business and the recession. However, says uBid.com's Nancy L. Ragont, Vice President, Marketing: "Anytime people are buying outside the consumable realm shows economic optimism, really.

"People are still a little leery about a bounce back and therefore are looking for ways to shop for less this holiday season," she added, so uBid and RedTag -- where buyers essentially set the price -- are gaining popularity.
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