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The marketplace's annual gross merchandise value has declined for three consecutive years after reaching a high of $100 billion.

EBay Inc. reported revenue gains for its fourth quarter and full fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2023. Its gross merchandise volume (GMV) grew year over year in the quarter but decreased slightly for the full year.

“Our organic GMV growth improved year-over-year during each quarter of 2023, while navigating a challenging macroeconomic environment,” said CEO Jamie Iannone.

In Q4, eBay completed the global rollout of its enhanced background removal tool, which uses artificial intelligence to remove visual background “noise” from product images, it said. The marketplace also opened its newest authentication center in Tokyo, Japan.

Then, in January, eBay laid off 1,000 workers, which was about 9% of its total workforce.

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“EBay continues to face a squeeze from niche marketplaces like GOAT and larger hybrid marketplaces like Amazon and Walmart,” said James Risley, research data manager and senior analyst at Digital Commerce 360. “But revenue is up despite flat GMV, showing that eBay is able to focus on more profitable sectors and increase functions for sellers.”

EBay ranks No. 6 in Digital Commerce 360’s Global Online Marketplaces database. The database ranks the 100 largest such marketplaces by 2023 third-party GMV. 

eBay revenue and gross merchandise value (GMV)

In Q4, eBay revenue grew to $2.56 billion. That’s a 2% increase from $2.51 billion in the year-ago period. Similarly, eBay GMV grew 2% in the quarter, to $18.6 billion.

Chief financial officer Steve Priest said in a Feb. 27 earnings call with investors that eBay started to see “business improve toward the end of November, particularly in the U.S.” He said consumers sought “value to stretch their limited holiday budgets.”

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“We believe recent product improvements modestly benefited our participation in last-minute holiday shopping,” Priest said. “These included improved accuracy of our estimated delivery dates and product changes we made in Q4 to better highlight listings with faster shipping times.”

Q4’s revenue marks eBay’s highest since Q4 2021, when it reached $2.61 billion. That same year, eBay made $3.02 billion in Q1 revenue. The marketplace’s revenue growth was “the highest it has been since 2005,” Iannone said at the time.

Prior to that, eBay’s best quarterly revenue since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic was in Q1 2021, when it reached $3.02 billion.

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For the full year 2023, eBay revenue increased 3% to $10.11 billion, from about $9.79 billion in 2022. At the same time, eBay GMV decreased 1% to $73.2 billion in 2023.

The marketplace’s GMV has consistently decreased each fiscal year since 2020, when eBay marked $100 billion. Prior to that, the highest GMV eBay recorded since 2015 was in 2018, when it reached $95 billion.

In the United States, specifically, eBay GMV reached $8.89 billion. That’s roughly flat compared to Q4 2022. It’s also an increase from $8.64 billion in Q3 2023.

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eBay continues generative AI tool expansion

Generative AI took center stage for eBay in 2023. Iannone said in the Feb. 27 earnings call that millions of eBay sellers have already used the Magical Listing process, which uses generative AI to write product descriptions. EBay rolled out the tool to all of its U.S. mobile app users in 2023. In October, eBay extended generative AI descriptions to 50% of desktop users in the U.S., United Kingdom and Germany, he had said.

EBay is also working on a generative AI tool that uses image-recognition technology to prefill or suggest product titles, categories and other item aspects using photos alone, Iannone said. He added that eBay is also “leveraging generative AI to make sellers’ product images even more compelling using our new background swap tool. This feature allows sellers to show their products alongside a wide variety of AI-generated backgrounds.”

As an example, he said, a seller can display a pair of Air Jordan basketball shoes on a hardwood basketball court or showcase preowned hiking boots on a picture of a mountain summit.

Active buyers

EBay’s number of active buyers has remained the same for the last three quarters at 132 million. That’s a slight drop from 133 million in Q1 2023 and 134 million in Q4 2022. It defines active buyers as those who paid for a transaction on any of its platforms within the previous 12 months.

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eBay earnings summary

For the fiscal fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, eBay Inc. reported:

  • GMV grew 2% to $18.6 billion.
  • eBay revenue grew to $2.6 billion. That’s up 2% from $2.51 billion in the year-ago period.
  • Active buyers decreased 2% to 132 million, from 134 million in Q4 2022.

For the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, eBay Inc. reported:

  • GMV decreased 1% to $73.2 billion.
  • eBay revenue grew to $10.11 billion. That’s up 3% from $9.80 billion in the year-ago period.

Percentage changes may not align exactly with dollar figures due to rounding. Check back for more earnings reports. Here’s last quarter’s update.

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