Pedal to the mobile metal! eBay sees huge acceleration in vehicle sales via Smartphones

£40,000 spent on both a Land Rover and a Porsche on eBay via a smartphone One fifth of all eBay UK vehicle sales in Q1 2012 made via a smartphone New eBay Motors app features image recognition technology to make shopping for cars and car parts easier and more convenient

Vehicle purchases on eBay, the UK’s biggest shopping marketplace, via a smartphone are booming with tech savvy shoppers spending upwards of £40,000 on exclusive cars such as Porsches and Land Rovers by a simple tap of a screen. Vehicles including a Porsche 911 Carrera and Land Rover Evoque – both of which were sold for around £40,000 – rate amongst the most expensive purchases ever made on eBay via mobile and demonstrate growing confidence in vehicle purchases through smartphones.

Although the economic outlook still looks grim, nearly 45,000 vehicles were bought on eBay via a smartphone in the first three months of this year alone, which equates to almost a fifth of all eBay vehicle sales. In fact, vehicle purchases made via a smartphone on eBay increased more than 120% between 2010 and 2011, and are on track to increase again this year.

Motors is one of the most popular categories on eBay UK, and the most popular car brands purchased via a smartphone include Ford, Vauxhall, Volkswagen, BMW and Peugeot. Over 19,000 Ford cars were purchased on eBay UK between January and March 2012 – that’s one every four minutes.

Between January and March 2012:

-          A car was sold on eBay UK every 57 seconds

-          A car part was sold on eBay UK every 2 seconds

-          Wheels, tyres and trims were sold every 48 seconds

-          Over 7.9 million car parts were sold

-          Over 6,300 Mercedes-Benz cars, 5,500 Audi cars and 2,300 Jaguar cars were sold

In recognition of this trend for shopping for cars via a smartphone, eBay this week launched its new dedicated Motors app for iPhone which will make buying cars and parts and accessories via eBay on a mobile quicker, easier and more customisable.  

Petra Jung, Head of Mobile Shopping at eBay UK, said:

“Brits are in poll position when it comes to shopping on mobile devices, snapping up an item every second via eBay’s mobile platforms.

“In particular, we’ve seen a huge acceleration in vehicle sales on eBay UK with almost £70 million worth of vehicle purchases made via smartphones in the first three months of 2012. 

“The new eBay Motors app will make shopping for cars, parts and accessories through smartphones even faster and more convenient, and the new Vehicle Finder helps car buyers snap and search for their dream car the moment it catches their eye.”

The new eBay Motors app features cutting edge image recognition technology to make searching for vehicles faster and more interactive[1]. The eBay Motors app Vehicle Finder allows shoppers to snap a picture of the back of a car, and the app will do the hard work by searching eBay Motors listings and matching the photo to similar vehicles available on the site.

To meet growing demand from shoppers for more choice, interactivity and price transparency, the new Motors app features a fully customisable home screen gallery of live listings and an interactive garage. The garage allows shoppers to save profiles of their favourite cars, and dream cars they long to own, and sharing features encourage users to email, tweet or share listings on Facebook for family and friends to see.

Andrew Dice, 31, from Grimsby said:

“I often buy vehicles on eBay, but my most expensive purchase to date was a £ 21,000 Land Rover Freelander which I bought using the eBay app on my smartphone. I find shopping via my mobile quick and convenient and it suits my busy lifestyle. I really like that on the new eBay motors app I can customise the home screen gallery to suit my tastes, and I find the Vehicle Finder is fun to use and really speeds up the searching process.  It is definitely a tool I will be using when looking for my next car.”

The new eBay Motors app will be showcased at the eBay Motors pop-up garage XP Zone this summer – a hands-on eBay Motors experience that will be activated at key British Touring Car Championship race weekends.

Follow the eBay Motors BTCC team at



 To join the conversation on Twitter use #ebaymotors

For more information please contact Sophie Barnard, or any member of the eBay team at Blue Rubicon at or call 0207 260 2700



•       Founded in 1999, is the UK’s largest online shopping destination, providing a platform for over 17m unique visitors per month to buy and sell new, unique and used items in a fun and easy way.

•       eBay has around 40 million live listings on the UK site, with fixed price goods accounting for the majority (61%) of items sold globally.

•       Sellers of all sizes, including 180,000 registered businesses and over 100 well-known brands and retailers use to reach the UK’s largest online shopping audience.

• is owned by eBay Inc, which has expanded to include a range of brands that help consumers find and purchase the goods they want including eBay, PayPal,, RedLaser, Milo and others.

 Key features of the eBay Motors app

Photo search

•       Vehicle Finder allows shoppers to snap a picture of the back of a car, and the app will do the hard work by searching eBay Motors listings and matching the photo to similar vehicles available on the site.

•       The technology means faster, more interactive searching.


•       A customisable home screen gallery will feature cars selected from a custom search input by the user. All listings featured will be live.


•       Uploading vehicles from the users own car collection will also facilitate vehicle part searching and allows eBay to inform the user if the parts they are viewing are compatible.


•       Community features will allow users to search and save cars owned or restored by others for reference and inspiration.

Exclusive video content

•       A regularly updated news feed will contain exclusive video content collated by eBay at various motor events and shows, and an events calendar will list the most important motoring events of the season including MotoGP, F1, TT and BTCC fixtures.

Enhanced listings

•       All images included in a listing will be displayed in a swipeable gallery, and compatibility information will be collated for easy access to make/model/year information.


About Conlumino

Conlumino is a retail research agency and consulting firm founded by leading retail analysts Neil Saunders, Matt Piner and Simon Chinn. Our research focuses on all aspects of retailing and consumer behaviour, which we deliver through bespoke reports, projects and presentations. We work with many of the world’s leading retailers, property firms and those in the financial sector to help them maximise success through developing a thorough understanding of the sector and its likely future performance.


Research methodology

 To compile this research Conlumino used a variety of sources:

  • A dedicated consumer research programme undertaken in April 2012 designed to understand existing use of technology, potential future use, interest levels in new technologies and general shopping habits. This was carried out among a UK nationally representative sample of 2,774 consumers and included open as well as closed questions.
  • All market forecasts and numbers in are drawn from Conlumino’s retail market data model which assesses retail’s position in the broader UK economy and the relative performance of individual channels, including online, mobile and new technologies.
  • Desk research was carried to explore new technologies, their impact and application. This included case study research into how retailers, and others, are currently using technologies. Trade publications, retailer corporate reports, social media and news media were all utilised as part of the research process.
  • Price auditing across stores and online was used to assess price differentials between online and offline products.
  • An internal forum of analysts was used to debate and assess implications, strategies and impacts of new technologies, social media and other factors. The outcome of these discussions is included within the findings of this report.

[1] Research by retail experts Conlumino for eBay identified image recognition as one of the top five new technologies set to drive a shopping revolution over the next two years, generating almost £100 million in direct revenue sales by 2014. Image recognition estimated to generate £97.1 million in direct revenue sales by 2014 according to Conlumino research.