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Etsy Grows GMS 19 Percent in Third Quarter 2016

Etsy announced third quarter 2016 earnings on Tuesday. An abbreviated version of its press release follows. You can view the full release on Etsy’s investor relations website.

Etsy, Inc., which operates markets where people around the world connect, both online and offline, to make, sell and buy unique goods, today announced financial results for its third quarter, ended September 30, 2016.

“Our third quarter results reflect the strength of our markets that connect people around the world and our seller services platform that is specifically focused on helping creative entrepreneurs start, scale and manage their businesses,” said Chad Dickerson, Etsy, Inc. CEO and Chair. “Based on our year-to-date performance, which has been strong across all of our key metrics, we are raising our full year guidance. We’re excited about our progress this quarter and that we are laying more groundwork to deliver long-term results that will benefit our community, including our shareholders.”

Third Quarter 2016 Operational Highlights

GMS was $677.2 million, up 19.1% compared with the third quarter of 2015. On a currency-neutral basis (excluding the direct impact of currency translation on GMS from goods that are not listed in U.S. dollars) GMS growth in the third quarter of 2016 would have been 20.1%, or approximately one percentage point higher than reported. Growth in GMS was supported by 11.3% year-over-year growth in active sellers and 20.1% year-over-year growth in active buyers.

Continuing the trend we’ve seen for multiple quarters, mobile visits once again grew faster than desktop visits. Percent mobile visits was approximately 65% compared with approximately 60% in the third quarter of 2015, and approximately 64% in the second quarter of 2016. Percent mobile GMS was approximately 49% compared with 44% in the third quarter of 2015, and 47% in the second quarter of 2016. Year-over-year conversion rates increased across desktop, mobile web, and mobile app for the fourth consecutive quarter. During the third quarter, the mobile app conversion rate expanded more than mobile web and desktop conversion rates resulting in a slight narrowing of the gap between mobile visits and mobile GMS. Mobile app and mobile web GMS each continued to grow significantly faster than desktop GMS during the third quarter.

Percent international GMS was 30.4% in the third quarter of 2016, up from 29.3% in the third quarter of 2015, and down sequentially from 30.7% in the second quarter of 2016. We continue to believe that we can grow international GMS, over time, to represent 50% of our total GMS.

The improved year-over-year performance in percent international GMS was largely driven by continued robust GMS growth between U.S. buyers and international sellers and GMS growth between buyers and sellers outside of the U.S., both in the same country and cross-border. GMS also improved between U.S. sellers and international buyers, for the third consecutive quarter, although GMS between U.S. sellers and international buyers decreased 7% in the third quarter. We continue to believe that the decline in this segment is indicative of the indirect impact of fluctuating currency exchange rates on international buyer behavior, which is difficult to estimate. GMS growth between international buyers and sellers in the same country remains the fastest growing category of international GMS. Excluding our French marketplace ALM, GMS between international buyers and sellers in the same country grew 65% year-over-year during the third quarter. This category has grown to be more similar in size to GMS between U.S. sellers and international buyers and GMS between international buyers and sellers in different countries, although it remains our smallest category of international GMS. We believe the robust growth in this segment demonstrates the progress we are making on our strategy to build local marketplaces, globally.

Third Quarter 2016 Financial Highlights

Total revenue was $87.6 million, up 33.3% year-over-year, driven by growth in both Marketplace and Seller Services revenue. Marketplace revenue grew 18.3%, driven by growth in transaction fee revenue and, to a lesser extent, growth in listing fee revenue. Seller Services revenue grew 50.1% year-over-year and was driven primarily by revenue growth in Direct Checkout, which continued to benefit from the integration of PayPal. During the fourth quarter, we will anniversary the integration of Paypal into Direct Checkout, which has been a substantial driver of year-over-year Direct Checkout and overall seller services revenue growth, and therefore, we expect seller services revenue growth to decelerate. Seller Services revenue also benefited from revenue growth from Promoted Listings and to a lesser extent, Shipping Labels, as well as a modest contribution from Pattern by Etsy, our seller service that we launched in April. We continue to expect only modest contributions to GMS and revenue from Pattern over the next three years. Direct Checkout, Promoted Listings and Shipping Labels revenue each continued to grow faster than Marketplace revenue in the third quarter.

Gross profit for the third quarter was $58.2 million, up 40.3% year-over-year, and gross margin was 66.5%, up 330 bps compared with 63.2% in the third quarter of 2015. Gross margin was positively impacted by a one-time payment from a third-party payment processor of $1.1 million during the third quarter of 2016. Gross profit grew faster than revenue in the third quarter due to the leverage we achieved in technology infrastructure, the aforementioned one-time payment and employee-related costs.

Total operating expenses were $55.6 million in the third quarter, up 28.7% year-over-year, and represented 63.5% of revenue, down from 65.8% of revenue in the third quarter of 2015. The decrease in operating expenses as a percent of revenue is primarily due to leverage in digital marketing spend, which excludes brand marketing-related spend on YouTube and Facebook. Digital Marketing spend declined 6.2% year-over-year while paid GMS grew close to three times our overall GMS growth rate. The decrease was also driven, to a lesser extent, by leverage in employee-related costs.

During the third quarter, we continued to gain leverage in our marketing expenses, which, for the third quarter in a row, grew more slowly than revenue. Marketing expenses grew 13.3% year-over-year and were driven by brand marketing spend, particularly on YouTube and Facebook and, to a lesser extent, employee-related costs.

Product development expenses grew 30.6% year-over-year, primarily due to higher employee-related costs. Product development slightly decreased as a percentage of revenue to 17.0% compared with 17.4% in the third quarter of 2015.

G&A expenses increased 43.9% year-over-year driven by increased employee-related costs and overhead expenses, including depreciation expense related to our new Brooklyn headquarters. G&A expenses increased as a percentage of revenue to 25.1% compared with roughly 23.2% in the third quarter of 2015.

Based on build-to-suit accounting requirements, we recognized $0.8 million and $2.0 million in incremental depreciation and non-cash interest expense, respectively, in the third quarter related to our new headquarters, as expected. For more information on the cash impact of our build-to-suit lease agreement, please refer to “Note 14 – Commitments and Contingencies” in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements in our 2015 Form 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The build out of our new Brooklyn headquarters is complete and we invested approximately $40 million, lower than our original planned investment of up to $50 million in build-out costs.

Net loss for the third quarter of 2016 was $2.4 million, compared with a net loss of $6.9 million in the third quarter of 2015. Etsy’s net loss in the third quarter of 2016 included an income tax provision of $4.4 million, a $1.3 million foreign exchange gain, and interest expense associated with the build-to-suit lease accounting related to our new headquarters, all primarily non-cash.

Non-GAAP Adjusted EBITDA for the third quarter was $13.1 million, and grew 109.8% year-over-year. Non-GAAP Adjusted EBITDA margin (i.e., non-GAAP Adjusted EBITDA divided by revenue) was 14.9%, up from 9.5% in the third quarter of 2015. Non-GAAP Adjusted EBITDA performance was driven by revenue growth, and leverage in digital marketing expenses, which excludes brand marketing-related spend on YouTube and Facebook, employee related costs, and technology infrastructure.

Net cash provided by operating activities was $9.2 million in the third quarter of 2016 compared with net cash generated of $5.4 million in the third quarter of 2015. The increase in net cash from operations for the quarter was mainly driven by revenue growth and leverage in operating expenses.

Cash, marketable securities and short-term investments were $270.4 million as of September 30, 2016.

Chief Financial Officer Transition

Etsy also announced today that CFO, Kristina Salen, has decided to leave the company at the end of March 2017. Kristina intends to pursue other professional opportunities following a 5-month transition period during which Etsy will focus on recruiting her successor. Etsy intends to launch a formal search immediately.

“As our first-ever CFO, Kristina has been an incredible partner to me and the rest of the Etsy team over the past four years,” said Chad. “Not only has she built and scaled the finance function here at Etsy, but she also led us through our IPO as well as several other important milestones during our first year as a public company. We support her desire to pursue new opportunities and adventures as she continues to grow professionally. We will miss her after she completes the transition in March 2017. Over the next five months we look forward to her continued leadership during our search for her successor.”

For additional information about the planned transition, please see Kristina’s post on Etsy’s news blog.

SourceEtsy Press Release

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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). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.