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Sales on Etsy Grow 144% in First Quarter of 2021

Sales on Etsy Grow 144% in First Quarter of 2021

Sales on the Etsy marketplace grew 144% to $2.9 billion in the first three months of 2021. Sales including Reverb grew 132% and revenue 141%.

In what may be news to sellers, Etsy said it had enhanced personanlized search in the first quarter and incorporated more user features into its ranking models.

It did so to better understand users’ interests and needs, “which led to increased engagement, conversion, and repeat purchase rates across all devices,” it said.

The following is an excerpt of Etsy’s earnings press release:

Etsy, Inc. Reports First Quarter 2021 Results

Reports 132% increase in Consolidated Year-Over-Year GMS Growth and 141% Year-Over-Year Revenue Growth

Etsy, Inc. (NASDAQ: ETSY), which operates two-sided online marketplaces that connect millions of passionate and creative buyers and sellers around the world, today announced results for its first quarter ended March 31, 2021, including the following highlights:

  • Consolidated GMS was $3.1 billion, up 132.3% year-over-year; while Etsy marketplace GMS was $2.9 billion, up 144.1% year-over-year.
  • GMS per active buyer for the Etsy marketplace on a trailing twelve month basis grew 20% year-over-year.
  • The Etsy marketplace acquired approximately 16.3 million new and reactivated buyers who haven’t purchased in a year or more. Habitual buyers, those with 6 or more purchase days and $200 or more in spend in the trailing twelve months, grew 205% year-over-year, our highest ever growth for this buyer segment.
  • GMS from paid channels was 21% of overall GMS, expanding 500 basis points compared to the first quarter of 2020.
  • Consolidated revenue was $550.6 million, up 141.5% versus the same period of 2020, with a take rate (i.e., Consolidated revenue divided by Consolidated GMS) of 17.5%.
  • Net income was $143.8 million, up 1,048.1% year-over-year, with diluted earnings per share of $1.00.
  • Non-GAAP Adjusted EBITDA was $184.1 million, with Non-GAAP Adjusted EBITDA margin (i.e., Non-GAAP Adjusted EBITDA divided by Consolidated revenue) of 33%, up 900 basis points compared to the first quarter of 2020.
  • We ended the first quarter with $1.7 billion in cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments.

“Last year the world took notice of Etsy’s highly differentiated value proposition, and that incredible momentum has continued into the first quarter of 2021,” said Josh Silverman, Etsy, Inc. Chief Executive Officer. “We moved the needle by growing our team to deliver an exciting product roadmap aligned with our Right to Win strategy, and are executing a dynamic marketing strategy focused on driving frequency and keeping our buyers engaged. In a time when human connection is so vital, Etsy provides a one-of-a-kind community where sellers are empowered to grow their businesses, reaching buyers who value finding items that express their unique identity, while putting their money where their heart is.”

“Our disciplined investments in both product and marketing have enabled us to make significant strides in frequency,” said Rachel Glaser, Etsy, Inc. Chief Financial Officer. “GMS per active buyer on a trailing twelve month basis was up 20% year-over-year, driven by engagement among our most valuable cohorts, specifically habitual buyers, which represent on average about 40% of Etsy marketplace GMS and our fastest growing buyer segment. With heightened consumer awareness of Etsy’s brand and the breadth of unique products that increase keyword inventory, our marketing dollars continue to yield positive returns, as evidenced by very healthy adjusted EBITDA and margins in the first quarter.”

First Quarter 2021 Operating Highlights

Select highlights of our first quarter operating performance and business initiatives are outlined below:

Product: Aligned with our Right to Win strategy, we improved customer experiences across the Etsy marketplace, including the following activities:

  • We continue to focus on developing a Search and Discovery experience that unlocks the value of our unique items. In the first quarter of 2021, we enhanced personalized search and incorporated more user features into our ranking models to better understand our users interests and needs, which led to increased engagement, conversion, and repeat purchase rates across all devices.
  • We believe that fostering and elevating the quality of human connections will enable us to drive buyer engagement, loyalty, and purchase frequency. During the quarter we launched a new version of our “Sell on Etsy” App with updated features such as a redesigned dashboard and “Convos” to enhance interactions between buyers and sellers.
  • We have commenced robust efforts to improve buyer fulfillment, focused on speed expectations, delivery predictability, issue resolution, and seller reputation. For example, we made our buyer protection policy more visible to buyers to bolster trust, offered sellers additional discounted shipping labels, and expanded seller tools to reduce lateness by clearly displaying a schedule of their upcoming and/or past-due orders.
  • Our sellers’ collection of unique items represents a large assortment of over 92 million handmade, customized, personalized, vintage, and craft supply products from all over the world. During the quarter we launched several initiatives aimed at elevating the visibility of personalized and bespoke inventory to highlight those purchase occasions that are uniquely Etsy.

Marketing: We continued to drive frequency among existing buyers and acquired new buyers as a result of expanded investments across all marketing channels:

  • In television and digital video, we rolled out our new TV campaign, “Meant for You,” in the United States designed with our buyers in mind, and showcasing our sellers’ broad collection of unique items. The campaign, which was released in late January, helped improve our brand metrics throughout the quarter.
  • We leaned into saved searches and favorites, and engaged with hundreds of influencers to promote strategic holiday campaigns for Valentine’s Day and U.K. Mother’s Day, which resulted in strong reach and buyer engagement. We also elevated Black sellers through a Black History Month Editor’s Pick page — in addition to our existing Black Owned Shops page. One particularly impactful campaign was our work with the women of Gee’s Bend Quilters, who were featured on the Etsy marketplace; many shops sold out within the campaign’s first 24 hours.
  • We expanded Offsite Ads to include more affiliate channels. Our sellers can now reach prospective buyers on major publishing sites such as Buzzfeed, Martha Stewart, Real Simple, and Better Homes & Gardens, as well as the Google Display Network, which helps buyers find our sellers’ items while they’re browsing their favorite websites or using mobile devices and apps.

Impact Pillars: We continued to make progress on our Impact strategy which reflects the positive economic, social, and ecological impact we want to have on the world while advancing and complementing our business strategy. Here are some highlights:

  • We introduced a new way for buyers to invest in creators and creativity both on and off Etsy. Buyers in the United States who are purchasing from sellers with Etsy Payments can now round up their order total to the nearest dollar and donate the change to the Uplift Fund, which contributes to nonprofits that work to dismantle barriers to creative entrepreneurship, such as lack of digital education and training and access to capital. Since the program launched in February 2021, over 1 million users have participated, marking a great start toward our 2021 goal to raise over $2 million.
  • Etsy stands united with the Asian American and Pacific Islander (“AAPI”) community against the marked increase in violence, hate speech, and harassment directed toward the AAPI community in the United States since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to support and training for our employees, Etsy pledged donations totaling $500,000 to the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council and Asian Americans Advancing Justice in support of the broader AAPI community.
  • In February 2021, we set a target to continue to run a carbon neutral business and to achieve Net Zero by 2030, addressing not only our Scope 1 and 2 emissions, including our office operations and purchased energy, but also our Scope 3 emissions, which include seller activities like shipping and packaging. We are also focusing in 2021 on further work to establish our Etsy and Reverb marketplaces as destinations for sustainably-minded shoppers and conscious living.
  • Etsy recently completed its 2020 Global Seller Census which will be released soon on the Etsy News Blog. This document provides a snapshot of aspects of our global seller community and the economic opportunities enabled by the Etsy marketplace.


  • Reverb benefited from macroeconomic e-commerce tailwinds such as stimulus checks and pandemic-related musical instrument inventory constraints. During the first quarter of 2021, Reverb continued to grow faster than the overall music industry in the United States, and also saw strong growth in its core international markets.
  • During the quarter, Reverb made investments to expand inventory and improve the user experience for buyers and sellers, including enhancements in search, personalization, and the Reverb app, which now has better jumping off points for product discovery and easy access to curated musical equipment. Reverb also launched “Gear Collections” a new tool that allows Reverb’s members to keep track of all their gear and understand its potential value. Close to 2,000 listings have already been added to Gear Collections as of March 31, 2021.

See the Etsy Investor Relations website for the full press release including charts and financial guidance and outlook.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
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/.

One thought on “Sales on Etsy Grow 144% in First Quarter of 2021”

  1. “Etsy” is sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong.
    GET OUT of our shops.
    All those “features” “Etsy” introduces are nothing more than ways “Etsy” can monitor shops to better tighten the screws on “sellers” (actual Americans with actual bills and hopes for a better future).
    “Etsy” has no intention of allowing people to make a profit.
    I would be interested in knowing how many shops are “Etsy” plants, to sucker new “sellers” in…..
    Use “Etsy”. Don’t let “Etsy” use you.

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