At Industry Conferences, eBay Inc.’s CEO John Donahoe Points to Major Consumer Shifts

eBay Inc. Staff

“There will be winners and losers,” he said, and retailers must respond.

eBay Inc. President and CEO John Donahoe spoke at the Open Mobile Summit and Fast Company Innovation Uncensored events this week, noting that lines between online and offline commerce are blurring “at a rate no one would have predicted.” In particular, Donahoe noted that increasing usage of mobile devices is disrupting prevailing notions of how consumers shop and pay. His comments were widely covered in the media.

As The Register reported from Open Mobile Summit, Donahoe said consumers are using mobile devices in and out of retail outlets to identify prices and availability for products they want, then using online or offline purchasing channels. “Over the last 12 to 18 months we at eBay have changed our view on e-commerce,” he said. “We’re now seeing a profound change in how consumers are behaving, and we’re going to see more changes in the next three years than we’ve seen in the previous 20 in terms of shopping and payments.”

Donahoe noted that retailers must change their business models and adjust the tools they use in response to these changes in consumer behavior. He emphasized that eBay Inc. is positioned as a retailer-agnostic partner, offering a complete, open platform for multi-channel ecommerce.

Internet Retailer reported that Donahoe noted that today’s consumers often leverage online channels as they shop. “This is being consumer-led, technology-enabled, and will create winners and losers,” he said. Donahoe cited data from Forrester Research’s “U.S. Online Retail Forecast 2009-2014,” showing that in almost half of retail transactions last year, consumers accessed the web at some point in their shopping experience, either researching items or figuring out where they want to buy.

Updated this week, RedLaser, eBay’s barcode scanning app, is a vital part of eBay’s strategy,” Donahoe added. Consumers who scan barcodes with RedLaser get results from local stores as well as online channels, and thus may buy online or offline.

Meanwhile, reported on Donahoe’s comments at the Fast Company Innovation Uncensored conference, where he said that the entire retail market is worth $10 trillion, with ecommerce accounting for $325 billion of that — a number that “will only grow.” He said that consumers armed with mobile devices are accelerating new shopping models, and noted that eBay’s mobile app has been downloaded 56 million times.

Donahoe’s comments were covered in numerous other media outlets, including these:

"We are seeing profound change in how consumers are behaving and will behave. We believe we are at an inflection point." — Mobile Entertainment

“Mobile is driving consumer engagement and it is driving customer value.” —UberGizmo

“Social commerce today is where mobile commerce was three years ago.” — Fierce Mobile Content