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eBay’s Pep Talk to Sellers on First Quarter Performance

eBay
eBay's Message to Sellers on First Quarter Performance

eBay spent time answering financial analysts’ questions about its first-quarter performance last week, and the head of eBay Marketplaces Jordan Sweetnam popped into the Seller Announcement board to update sellers.

You can read the full post yourself – here are some quick thoughts.

Sweetnam said eBay performance came in at the high end of expectations. “In the first quarter of 2022, we reported $19.4 billion GMV and 142 million daily active buyers.”

What he didn’t say was as important as what he did say:

That GMV (Gross Merchandise Volume) number was down 17% compared to the first quarter of 2021, and the number of active buyers dropped 13%, down from 163 million in the first quarter of 2021, as we reported on the EcommerceBytes blog.

While it’s arguable whether to call that “strong results,” press reports confirmed his characterization of eBay performance as coming in at the high end of expectations, even though its guidance, like Etsy’s, was “weak,” according to media reports.

“Our strategy remains sound, smart and durable,” Sweetnam said. “Sustained investment in focus categories continues to pay off, as we double down on trust and authenticity, innovation, and engaging enthusiast communities. eBay’s purpose is translating into a powerful differentiator, especially with younger consumers.”

As eBay told Wall Street, it continues to focus on certain verticals – focus categories now include watches, sneakers, handbags. P&A (eBay Motors Parts & Accessories), Refurbished and trading cards. Given that’s eBay’s focus, it makes sense, as Sweetnam reported, that “most are the fastest growing businesses on eBay.”

He also said eBay had 18 million “enthusiast buyers” who make up 71% of all goods sold on eBay. They shop 30 times/year and spend an average of $3,000/year.

(While Sweetnam didn’t mention it in Thursday’s post, eBay has been telling Wall Street that its focus on “high value” buyers is the reason why its active buyers metric has declined. eBay Chief Financial Officer Stephen Priest told analysts on Wednesday that it had anticipated the decline in active buyers and that it was skewed towards eBay’s “low-value” buyers.)

Sweetnam also listed enhancements completed in the first quarter “to better showcase your brands, to drive more free traffic, to make it easier for enthusiasts to find your stores, and to encourage buyers to ‘save’ favorite sellers.”

He did not mention the controversial new unified listing experience that has recently become mandatory for sellers, some of whom say they find it problematic.

Sweetnam did tell sellers in his post what else eBay is working on in addition to its focus categories: “We will continue to heavily invest in trust, user experience, and new tech and marketing,” he said.

Sweetnam’s post is available on eBay’s Seller Announcement board, and you can dig into eBay’s latest earnings report on its Investor Relations website.

What would you have liked to have seen eBay address in its message to sellers on first-quarter results, or did eBay’s announcement cover everything you wanted to know about?

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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/.

6 thoughts on “eBay’s Pep Talk to Sellers on First Quarter Performance”

  1. Hearing an eBay exec talking about “We will continue to heavily invest in trust, user experience, and new tech and marketing” is interesting, to say the least. Honestly, we’d be happier if we could trust eBay, if they provided a fair user experience (to both buyers and sellers), their “new tech” actually worked and their “marketing” didn’t involve increases in fees.

    Given that eBay has been boasting of AI for years, yet they can’t keep the system running, it seems their reason to bandy about “AI” was to impress Wall Street rather than to effect any improvement in their site. It’s just too hard to boast of AI when their management is lacking the real thing.

    We’ll see if this next quarter actually brings anything “to better showcase your brands, to drive more free traffic, to make it easier for enthusiasts to find your stores, and to encourage buyers to ‘save’ favorite sellers.”.

    It would be welcome, but we don’t see eBay showing an ability to “drive more free traffic” to our sales at all.

  2. So, sourman says “We will continue to heavily invest in trust, user experience, and new tech and marketing,”

    I think you need to start before you can continue

    just more blah blah blah

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