eBay is not having a great afternoon after posting a pretty ho-hum third quarter that fit roughly in line with analyst estimates, but perhaps not seeing the kinds of leaps that Wall Street is looking for heading into the fourth quarter.
The company said it added an additional 2 million active buyers and now says it has 168 million global active buyers. But even with buyer numbers as large as that, it seems that eBay may still face an uphill battle trying to change the perception that it’s a company that was a powerhouse. Like other companies that are struggling with growth, that problem may lie at the product level rather than the operational or mechanical level. eBay, for now, seems to be more a story about a revamp as it looks to draw customers from a platform where people can pretty much buy anything with a single click and get it in two days (and also works with servers).
Here’s a look at the company’s active buyer numbers. Note that the most recent number excludes domestic active buyers in India following its sale of its India business to Flipkart:
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(You can find the full specifics of the earnings report, as well as Wall Street analyst estimates, at the bottom of the post.)
There was some growth across the board — most units grew less than 10% year-over-year — but it’s seemingly left eBay as a kind of minor growth property as it gets compared Amazon. But going forward, it looks like the company’s expectations for the fourth quarter came in lower than what Wall Street hoped. Looking for some kind of comparable to Amazon in a brand that was a powerhouse in the early era of the consumer web, investors apparently are still looking for more from the company.
Here’s a quick rundown of the stats on the company for the past several quarters:
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“In Q3, we drove acceleration across all three of our platforms, delivering strong top and bottom line financial results and our fastest volume growth in over three years,” CEO Devin Wenig said in the earnings release. “Our customers are responding to the significant product enhancements we have been making, and this is reflected in our results.”
We’ll get to the specific financial numbers later, but clearly, eBay is not getting the kind of friendly treatment that Amazon gets. While the company seems to be trying to diversify beyond just its marketplace — and it turns out that StubHub is a pretty significant business with hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue — it doesn’t get the same kind of leeway to pull out a checkbook and buy a grocery chain for $13.7 billion.
While growth on the financial front is pretty tepid, eBay’s stock has still been on a run in the past year. The stock is up around 20%, despite facing constant pressure from Amazon as it grows into a larger and larger behemoth. The past few months have been a bit shakier, and clearly, today didn’t help. Here’s the stock chart from the last year (including this afternoon’s drop shortly after the report):
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Here’s the final slash line for the company:
- Revenue: $2.4 billion, versus Wall Street estimates of $2.37B
- Earnings: 48 cents per share (adjusted), versus Wall Street estimates of 48 cents per share.
- Q4 revenue forecast: $2.58 billion and $2.62 billion
- Q4 earnings forecast: $0.57 to $0.59 (adjusted)
- GMV: $21.7 billion
- StubHub revenue: $275 million
- Marketplace platforms revenue: $1.9 billion
Update: An eBay representative quickly reached out to clarify that its Classifieds business grew 19% year-over-year. Our story previously indicated that every unit grew less than 10% year-over-year. The company’s classifieds business generated $235 million in revenue this quarter, or just over 10% of its revenue for the quarter. We have updated the story to reflect that most units — units aside from Classifieds — grew less than 10% year-over-year.