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Paypal nearly tripled its mobile payment volume on Cyber Monday

AP/Ross D. Franklin
Why go to the store when you can shop in one of these?
By Christopher Mims
USAPublished Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

People are getting much more used to buying things on their mobile devices, suggest data that PayPal has released. Yesterday, on “Cyber Monday” (the online baby sister of Black Friday, the post-Thanksgiving shopping rush), the online payments service saw payments through mobiles—as opposed to online in general—go up by 190% as against the same day in 2011.

A few more facts:

  • Cyber Monday 2012 bested Black Friday 2012 by 44% for total (not just mobile) online payments
  • 12 noon to 1pm EST was the busiest shopping hour across all devices, including PCs—lunchtime shopping, evidently—but mobile-only shopping peaked an hour later, from 1 to 2pm
  • 166% more people shopped via mobile devices than last year
  • Houston, Miami and Los Angeles bought the most stuff via their phones

This data fits with an earlier study by IBM suggesting that across all devices (not just mobiles), Cyber Monday saw a 30% increase in sales from last year, making it the biggest online shopping day in US history. (That seems to rebut suggestions that Cyber Monday is going to disappear because more people will start their online shopping on Thanksgiving Thursday itself.) IBM’s study also recorded a 70% increase in the number of people using their phones to shop.

The discrepancy between PayPal’s 190% and IBM’s 70% could be due to at least two factors. One is that while the number of people shopping through mobiles has gone up, the amount each person is spending might have gone up too, as they get more comfortable with treating a mobile phone like any other payment method. But it’s just as likely that PayPal’s massive push into mobile payments is helping the company gain a disproportionate share of this market.

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