Right now, eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) is positioned well for the continuing consumer transition into mobile e-commerce. Mobile transactions are growing fast for PayPal, but still account for just about 10% of its transactions. That leaves a lot of room for growth.
And regardless of whether they are executed on a mobile device or a desktop or laptop computer, eBay makes the same amount from its transactions. That’s an enviable position at a time when even Internet giants like Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) are wrestling with the need to adapt to a mobile world that so far offers a less lucrative set of opportunities.
Despite being a less risky proposition than a high-flyer like Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), eBay is not without its dangers. Looming large are payment systems that compete directly with PayPal.
There are plenty, from small, venture capital-funded startups like WePay and Boku, to more established e-payment solutions like GoogleWallet and Visa’s V.me, all looking to carve away a slice of PayPal’s pie.
And looming even larger, perhaps, is the prospect of a mobile payment system developed by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). With more than 500 million iTunes users already in Apple’s payment network, a digital wallet from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) could be a game changer for eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY). According to recent reports, an Apple digital wallet is looking more likely, and it could happen as early as this year.
That’s a storyline eBay investors will want to keep a close eye on.
The bottom line
No longer the Internet auction house that grabbed our attention in the days of Web 1.0, eBay has transformed itself to again take a leading position in e-commerce with its popular and fast-growing services like PayPal and BillMeLater. That has eBay growing revenues and earnings quickly, and its brightest days may still lie ahead.
But for that to happen, eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) must fend off competition from upstarts as well as tech and financial heavyweights. Investors must keep watch for changes in that landscape.
John-Erik Koslosky owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool recommends Amazon.com, Apple, and eBay. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com, Apple, and eBay.