EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2981 - January 17, 2013     1 of 4

eBay Earnings: Strong Holiday Shopping and Mobile Growth

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eBay had a good holiday shopping season - sellers sold $19.1 billion worth of goods (excluding vehicles) on the eBay Marketplace in the fourth quarter of 2012 for a 16% year-over-year growth rate.

In the U.S., sellers sold $7.3 billion worth of goods (excluding vehicles) in Q4, up 19% year-over-year. That was higher than the 14-percent growth rate for overall ecommerce reported by comScore for two of the quarter's three months, the period from November 1 through December 31, 2012.

eBay earned $2 billion in revenue from its marketplaces business, 16% more than the fourth quarter of 2011, with almost 60% of revenue coming from international marketplaces.

Some fourth-quarter statistics of particular interest to sellers include:

  • Fixed price format accounted for 68% of GMV, up from 64% in the fourth quarter of 2011.
  • Fixed price GMV, excluding vehicles, grew 21% year-over-year.
  • Auction GMV, excluding vehicles, grew 5% year-over-year.
  • eBay cited strong performance in Clothing and Accessories and in Home and Garden categories.
  • International FX-neutral non-vehicles GMV decelerated 1 point to 14%. Strength in the U.K. was offset by slower growth in China, where eBay increased seller standards, and sluggish growth in Germany.

eBay Marketplaces saw the number of global active users grow 12% in the 4th quarter to 112.3 million, driven by mobile, site enhancements and emerging markets (eBay targeted users in Russia and China in the quarter, eBay CEO John Donahoe said in a post-earnings conference call with analysts).

Donahoe and his Chief Financial Officer Bob Swan emphasized the company's strength in mobile for both eBay Marketplaces and PayPal. While the company had forecast it would double mobile GMV to $10 billion for 2012, it in fact saw $13 billion in goods purchased from mobile devices.

PayPal processed $14 billion in payment volume coming from mobile devices, more than triple the prior year.

Donahoe said mobile consumers are more engaged than non-mobile - they come back to eBay and PayPal more frequently, he said.

Mobile is also a way to effectively reach new markets. eBay can enter with mobile in the local language, reaching new Internet users accessing the Internet for the first time through a smartphone. eBay will penetrate some geographic markets with mobile that otherwise would have been lower on its priority list.

Donahoe said eBay expects Marketplaces and PayPal to each exceed $20 billion in mobile volume in 2013. "Web-enabled multichannel commerce is evolving quickly, and consumer shopping behavior is changing rapidly," he said. "Our focus is on being a global commerce leader in this new environment, connecting buyers and sellers everywhere, and being a preferred multichannel partner of choice for retailers and brands of all sizes."

Same store sales for GSI clients grew 19%, and for the full year, GSI shipped a record 146 million units for its clients. GSI drove value to its clients through eBay Inc. technology solutions, including mobile app development, buy online and pick up in-store, and mobile express checkout.

Total revenue for the quarter increased 18% to $4 billion, and eBay saw net income of $751 million. For the full year, revenue increased 21% to $14.1 billion ($1.1 billion of that coming from GSI Commerce), with full-year net income of $2.6 billion.

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About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

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