The gross value of goods sold on eBay Inc.’s U.S. marketplace increased 2.6% year over year to $9.01 billion from $8.78 billion in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, the online marketplace reported Tuesday. This is the lowest growth in U.S. GMV since Q3 2015.
Globally, total gross merchandise volume grew 4.8% to $22.72 billion from $21.68 billion in the same quarter a year ago.
GMV growth slowed both in the U.S. and globally compared with the last several quarters. The strong U.S. dollar and slower adoption from consumers on recent initiatives led to sluggish growth, executives said on a call with investors.
“While we anticipated some export headwinds coming into the quarter based on U.S. dollar strength, our product and marketing efforts did not scale to the extent we expected to offset this pressure,” said chief financial officer Scott Schenkel, according to a SeekingAlpha transcript. Slower growth is expected for a “period of time,” CEO Devin Wenig said, as the marketplace plans to reduce investment in overall marketing while it focuses on acquiring new customers.
Net revenue for eBay’s global marketplaces, which comes from the fees paid by eBay’s sellers, increased 6.0% to $2.65 billion in Q3 from $2.50 billion a year ago. For the first nine months of the year, eBay’s revenue increased 9.0% to $7.87 billion from $7.22 billion in the same period of 2017.
Active buyers grew to 177 million in the quarter, up from 168 million.
EBay in June expanded its price-match program to more than 100,000 items across its marketplace, up from 50,000 items. The new Best Price Guarantee program will redeem to U.S. shoppers the price difference between eBay’s price and the lower price, plus 10%, if the shopper finds an item for less on an approved competitor’s website.
By the end of the third quarter, items shipped with guaranteed delivery accounts for 9% of U.S. GMV, Wenig said. He added that two-thirds of eBay packages are delivered within two business days in the U.S., even without the guaranteed delivery program.
In recent weeks, President Donald Trump has suggested the U.S. Postal Service withdraw from a 192-nation postal treaty—the treaty that makes shipping goods directly to consumers from China cheap. The treaty sets fees that national postal services charge to deliver mail and small packages from other countries and gives poor and developing markets lower shipping rates than developed nations. The agreement—and another one that China and the U.S. signed in 2011—has essentially given Chinese merchants a $170 million annual subsidy to ship products directly to American homes, Bloomberg reports.
Will this affect eBay, a marketplace that has a number of Chinese sellers? Wenig said it’s too early to tell, but they’re well positioned if the U.S. were to withdraw from the postal treaty. “A majority of our China inventory is now warehoused in the United States. Obviously, they’re not our warehouses, but we’ve helped our Chinese sellers with warehousing domestically so that wouldn’t be subject to those quarters,” Wenig said.
Additionally, eBay rolled out SpeedPak this year, which is a shipping service that gives sellers in China multiple delivery options that aren’t subject to the proposed postal changes, Wenig said. “I wouldn’t say there’s no impact…in some ways, if the changes happen for everyone importing China inventory, we think we’re about the best-positioned given that we’ve been in this business for a long time and we’ve taken a lot of changes to shrink time and distance and costs for Chinese sellers and build diversity at the last mile.”
For the third quarter ended Sept. 30, eBay also reported:
- Net income of $720 million, up 38.5% to $520 million.
- The value of goods sold on eBay’s marketplaces, not including sales on ticketing marketplace StubHub, was $21.48 billion, up 4.7% from $20.52 billion. Revenue from eBay’s marketplaces was $1.80 billion, up 6.5% from $1.69 billion.
- StubHub’s gross merchandise volume rose 6.9% year over year to $1.24 billion from $1.16 billion. Revenue for StubHub was $286 million, up 5.9% from $270 million.
For the first nine months of the year, eBay also reported:
- Net income of $1.76 billion, up 11.4% from $1.58 billion.