By Ben Simmons

Ahead of the hotly anticipated launch of Apple’s latest innovation, eBay have revealed that tablet and eReader sales increased fourfold (443%) last year, with over 61,000 devices sold in December 2011 alone.

Over the same period, sales of desktop PCs decreased by 35% showing how the growth of the tablet market is impacting on sales of traditional computers.

eBay.co.uk is predicting sales of tablets — new, refurbished and used — to surge following the release of the new iPad, as shoppers look to snap up great deals online rather than queuing up at the Apple store to get their hands on the most up-to-date model. A brand new 32gb first generation iPad can be picked up for £330 on eBay.co.uk today and the site now has thousands of professional technology sellers.

Immediately after the launch of the iPad 2 between February and March 2011, tablet sales on eBay UK spiked with almost 5,000 more devices sold in March than the previous month. A similar pattern emerged between October and November last year, once the new Amazon Kindles went on sale and in the lead-up to Christmas over 22,000 more devices sold in November than the previous month.

“At home, most people will only need to use a computer to get online and stay connected, and tablets are perfect for that," Angus McCarey, UK Retail Director for eBay says. "Having a tablet by your side on the sofa as you watch TV is a much more relaxing way to browse than firing up a PC. The screen size, which allows for sizeable images, makes the tablet a perfect way to shop for fashion and really anything that you want to take a good look at.

“Millions of people use the eBay iPad app, and we find the busiest time for shopping via the iPad to be between 5 and 11pm. Our research shows that shoppers tend to spend almost twice as long shopping via their iPad compared to a typical browsing session on your smartphone.”

As more and more consumers own technology such as tablets and smartphones, eBay continues to see a significant growth in sales through its mobile platforms. Mobile now accounts for over 10% of all purchases on eBay UK and an item is purchased every second using the eBay app.

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