eBay Reports Holiday Trends From Its Image Search Tool

The popular e-auction company eBay has taken to its official blog site to unveil holiday trends in the use of its image search tool, which was launched back in October. For those who aren't already aware, the image search is a relatively recent addition to the eBay application which allows users to take an image from inside the app or in another application. That image is analyzed using a convolutional neural network, and deep learning algorithms in order to help users find the item pictured on eBay. Meanwhile, the trends from eBay cover everything from the top items searched to the interesting ways eBay says its customers are utilizing the tool to comparison shop. The data itself is pulled from Black Friday through Cyber Monday, which is commonly considered to be a key shopping period both online and off.

Starting things off, eBay provides some insight into what the most commonly searched items over the given period were. The top items searched for with the new tool fell primarily into the fashion category - with the company reporting that users searched for sneakers, women's sandals, and women's boots more than anything else. That was followed closely by searches for jewelry, with many users opting to use an image to search for items that are difficult to describe. Meanwhile, although eBay does not provide any specific figures in its report, a lot of that searching was done using screenshots instead of user's taking new photos. That makes a lot of sense since people often want to buy an item at a discount via the site, as opposed to buying at a big retailer, or may not know exactly what a given item is and simply want to find out. Of course, users also searched using new photos or photos from their on-device library but screenshots were a substantial chunk of the searches performed.

In fact, another trend the company noticed was that screenshots and images from traditional and online retailers were often used, as well, suggesting that consumers were using the image search tools to make comparisons between those sites and eBay's listings. Specifically, eBay claiming that users were around twice as likely, in fact, to use the image search tools in that way as they were to upload a new image from their device's camera roll or photo library. Finally, eBay says that the Saturday falling between Black Friday and Cyber Monday was the day on which consumers used the A.I.-driven image search more than any other.

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