eBay’s sales inch along in the first quarter

April 26, 2016 04:38 PM

The value of goods sold on eBay Inc.’s global marketplaces increased 1.5% to $20.45 billion in the first quarter ended March 31 compared with $20.15 billion in the same period a year ago, the online marketplace reported Tuesday. Most of the growth came from eBay’s StubHub event ticketing operation. Excluding the impact of the strong dollar, global sales rose 5%.

In the United States, the value of goods sold on eBay marketplaces grew 2.8% to $8.526 billion from $8.295 billion in the same quarter a year ago.

Net revenue for eBay’s global marketplaces, which comes from the fees paid by eBay’s sellers, increased 3.7% to $2.137 billion from $2.061 billion a year ago. On a constant-currency basis, revenue increased 6%.

The number of active buyers—those who have made a purchase on eBay in the past year—increased 3.8% to 162 million from 156 million in the same period a year ago.

The online marketplace continues to make progress toward its goal to have sellers define their products using structured data, which makes it easier for eBay to show relevant search results on its marketplaces. 60% of items listed on eBay in Q1 conformed to eBay’s structured data rules, up from 37% in Q4. EBay expanded structured data to eight more categories and its marketplace sites in three more countries, including France, Italy and Spain. EBay is mandating structured data product descriptions from sellers in 18 categories and eight countries. Additionally, eBay added 1.6 million product reviews in Q1. 

“EBay’s Q1 results surpassed Wall Street estimates on the top and bottom line,” says Scot Wingo, executive chairman of ChannelAdvisor Corp., which facilitates sales on eBay and other marketplaces for its retailer clients. “However, when you peel the onion, we are not seeing signs of acceleration in the traditional marketplace business.” Sales on eBay for ChannelAdvisor’s clients grew 4.4% in Q1, Wingo says. 

During a call Tuesday with analysts, CEO Devin Wenig said structured data initiatives have not yet made an impact on gross merchandise value or user growth. Fixing issues in search and the way consumers find deals on eBay’s marketplaces is a long-term process and “there isn’t a moment where it’s all fixed. You won’t be able to see the results of the [structured data] experiences until the end of this year,” he said on the call. 

For the first quarter ended March 31, eBay also reports:

  • Net income of $482 million, up 7.3% from $449 million in the same quarter a year ago.
  • The value of goods sold on eBay’s marketplaces, not including sales on StubHub, was $19.581 billion, up less than 1% compared with $19.476 billion in the same quarter a year ago. Excluding foreign currency exchange rates, gross merchandise volume jumped 3%. Revenue, or fees paid by eBay sellers from eBay’s marketplace platforms was $1.500 billion, down 2.3% from $1.536 a year ago. 61% of eBay’s revenue is international.
  • For StubHub, eBay’s concert and sports ticketing marketplace, gross merchandise volume jumped 28.7% year over year to $869 million from $675 million. Revenue, or fees paid by sellers, for StubHub was $177 million, up 34.1% from $132 million a year ago.



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