After a strong performance in 2017, eBay Inc. reported slow sales growth in Q4 2018 and full-year financial results on Tuesday.
The total sales volume on eBay’s U.S. marketplace grew 3.4% to $37.52 billion in 2018, up from $36.28 billion in 2017. For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, eBay’s U.S. gross merchandise volume was $9.75 billion, down 1.1% from $9.86 billion in the same period a year ago.
GMV of eBay’s global marketplaces, including the United States, grew 7.0% to $94.58 billion in 2018 compared with $88.40 billion in 2017. In Q4, global sales grew 0.9% to $24.64 billion from $24.43 billion in the same period a year ago.
EBay is No. 4 in Internet Retailer’s 2019 Online Marketplaces ranking.
CEO Devin Wenig pointed to lower conversion rates from existing buyers as a result of some changes the company made to its site last year (such as grouped listings). “Additionally non-structured data SEO pages are delivering less traffic and lower conversion compared to a year ago, and while we increased our marketing spend in Q4, we experienced lower returns than expected,” Wenig said on a call with investors, according to a SeekingAlpha transcript.
Structured data standardizes eBay’s product descriptions—something the marketplace began implementing in 2015.
In 2017, eBay ramped up options for sellers to pay for promoted listings. In Q4 2018, eBay says 600,000 active sellers promoted 200 million listings. That’s up from 160,000 sellers in Q4 last year. Promoted listings drove $80 million in revenue in Q4 and $200 million in all of 2018, Wenig says.
Active buyers on eBay increased 5.3% to 179 million, up from 170 million at the end of 2017.
For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, eBay also reports:
- Net revenue grew 6.3% to $2.88 billion from $2.71 billion in the fourth quarter 2017.
- Net income of $760 million compared with a net loss of $2.6 billion. These results include a $3.1 billion tax charge attributable in 2017 to the enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
- The value of goods sold on eBay’s global marketplaces, not including sales on online ticketing marketplace StubHub, grew 1.0% to $23.23 billion from $22.99 billion.
- StubHub’s gross merchandise volume was $1.41 billion, down 1.4% from $1.43 billion.
For 2018, eBay also reports:
- Net revenue of $10.75 billion, up 8.3% from $9.93 billion in 2017.
- Net income of $2.53 billion compared with net loss of $1.02 billion. These results include a $3.1 billion tax charge in 2017 attributable to the enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.