EBay has unveiled a new function to its iPad app in the US to allow users to shop the marketplace for items related to what they are watching on TV. The marketplace will launch it in the UK if it proves successful.

The “Watch with eBay” tab has been added to the eBay iPad app and, when users type in their zip code, cable provider and channel they are watching, it finds relevant merchandise on its site using key word searches related to the show or event.

EBay launches app to tempt TV fans to shop while they watch

EBay vice president of global fashion Miriam Lahage said: “At eBay our focus is on reinventing the shopping experience and helping retail partners on our site drive more sales, and this latest move will enable consumers to be able to buy products inspired by their interests as they watch TV on their tablets at home.”

EBay said it the app was developed to take advantage of the “couch-commerce” phenomenon of people shopping whilst watching TV. 

The app function is making its debut today on Thanksgiving Day as shoppers flock online to take advantage of Black Friday deals, where US retailers attempt to kickstart Christmas spending through a discounting frenzy.

The marketplace said it would launch the app in the UK if the US trial was successful.

Lahage said:  “As mobile and tablet commerce has taken off in the UK faster than anywhere else in Europe, there’s no doubt that British consumers are open to new ways of shopping. Before bringing TV shopping to other markets such as the UK, we would need to find new media networks and stations to partner with.”

In October, the marketplace revised its forecast for global mobile sales to $5bn from $4bn in 2011. EBay receives up to 380,000 daily visits to its UK website via mobile apps.