The United States Postal Service reported a 1.4% rise in revenue for the three months ending March 31. It posted a net loss of $1.3 billion on $17.5 billion in revenue. Its shipping and packaging service category is the only category besides international to post gains in both revenue and volume year over year for the second quarter as e-commerce volumes rise.
However, the rate of growth in the shipping category is starting to slow—down to 9.5% revenue growth year over year compared to 11.5% in 2017—as shippers turn toward parcel services at the expense of other shipping methods. Parcel service growth, which stands at 11.5% for the quarter year over year, is driven by last-mile deliveries, where the package is turned over by carriers like UPS or FedEx to local post office facilities for final delivery. This is a lower-yield service than other package delivery options for USPS, but the option is gaining ground on faster priority mail services subcategory as more retailers are shipping online orders with blended carrier options, according USPS filings.
In other e-commerce earnings news:
- Etsy Inc., No. 19 in the Internet Retailer 2018 Top 1000, grew it revenue 24.8% year over year during the first quarter to $120.9 million, which includes fees for listings, payments and other marketplace services. Gross merchandise sales, or the total cost of goods sold through the marketplace, increased 19.8% over last year during the quarter, with $861.1 million in goods sold through the site. On the earnings call transcribed by Seeking Alpha, chief financial officer Rachel Glaser said 60% of buyers only visit Etsy once a year, but the rate of both new and returning buyers is up 20% during the quarter.
- Overstock.com Inc. (No. 32) posted 3% sales growth for the first quarter—a far stronger sales quarter than a year ago when revenue for the online retailer of home décor and accessories fell 13%. However, the sales growth comes at the expense of the retailer doubling its sales and marketing expenses as it struggles to adjust to Google Inc.’s search algorithms.
- Crocs Inc. (No. 263) reported a 24.1% rise in e-commerce for the first quarter, the fourth quarter in a row to see double-digit online sales growth numbers. The shoe retailer has seen shoppers shift to e-commerce both through its own sites and through marketplace sales as it completed its plan to close a number of retail locations. Total revenue increased 5.7% to $283.1 million for the first quarter.
Zalando SE, No. 7 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Europe 500, reported sales gains of 22% to 1.2 billion euros ($1.44 billion) for the first quarter. However, profits were down—a 15-million-euro loss compared to 5.1 million profit during the first quarter last year. The apparel retailer blamed a cold start to the spring season, forcing it to sell old merchandise at a bigger discount. Investments also ate into profits, with the retailer spinning up new warehouses across the 15 European markets and launching its first new category in four years with Zalando Beauty in Germany.
- Chinese mass merchant JD.com Inc, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Asia 500, reported its slowest growth ever, with sales up 33% year-over-year to 100.1 billion yuan ($15.79 billion) during the first quarter. The e-retailer continues to battle with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and its top-ranked online marketplace Taobao. Net income for the quarter was 1.52 billion yuan ($240 million), compared to Alibaba’s 59 billion yuan ($9.27 billion) for the same quarter.