The online marketplace’s U.S. gross merchandise volume fell 5% in the second quarter. Plus, its active buyer base fell by 2%.

Total gross merchandise volume (GMV) for eBay Inc., which includes sales on its international marketplaces, totaled $22.11 billion in Q2 2021, down 7% from $23.65 billion. Factoring out foreign exchange rates, eBay says U.S. GMV fell 5% to $9.96 billion. This is a drop from eBay’s Q1 GMV, which grew 29% year over year globally and 36% year over year in the U.S.

The online marketplace, however, lifted its revenue—which comes from the fees paid by eBay’s sellers—14% in Q2 to $2.67 billion from $2.34 billion in the comparable period.

eBay’s active sellers grew 5% year over year to 19 million global active sellers. However, its active buyers fell 2% year over year for a total of 159 million global active buyers, down from 161 million.

CEO Jamie Iannone, who took over last year, said eBay understands consumer behavior is likely to be inconsistent during the uncertainty in the continuing pandemic.

Analysts also say that, while eBay grew during the pandemic-fueled spending a year ago, it can no longer compete with other growing online marketplaces. “During lockdown, eBay was able to scale its global management of payments but still couldn’t match competitors such as Amazon,” says analyst Daniela Hathorn from financial market services company DailyFX.com.

advertisement

But Iannone is not deterred. “We remain relentlessly focused on accelerating our product innovation by harnessing the power of next-gen technology and creating a more seamless experience for sellers,” he said in a press release. “We are delivering innovative category experiences for buyers and quickly evolving in our pursuit to be the best global marketplace to sell and buy.”

Iannone also said eBay is looking to generate more revenue from advertising and payments. In Q2, ad revenue grew 8% to nearly $224 million, with more than 1.4 million sellers promoting 430 million listings, Iannone said in an earnings call transcribed by Seeking Alpha.

eBay also announced the sales of several business units during the past year. The online marketplace said it had completed the sale of its classified advertising business to Adevinta ASA for $13.3 billion, including cash and stock. The sale, announced in July 2020, gave eBay a 44% stake in the business. But regulators slowed the deal with the Norwegian digital marketplace owner, forcing eBay to sell some of its stake to Permira to gain approval. The agreement with Permira, announced last month, cut eBay’s ownership to 33%, the online marketplace said.

In June, eBay said it planned to sell just more than 80% of its South Korean online marketplace to local retailer E-Mart Inc. for $3 billion. The deal is expected to be completed by the end of the year or early in 2022.

“Looking past the recent/pending asset sales, we expect management to focus more attention on opportunities to drive sustainable core marketplace growth,” says Colin Sebastian, senior research analyst, internet and digital media, at financial services firm Baird.

advertisement

In line with that, Iannone said eBay in the coming year is focused more on high-value buyers—those that spend more than $800 on eBay, are buying six times a year, or buyers who also sell on the online marketplace. Of those high-value buyers, 20% of them drive 75% of eBay’s total GMV.

“The goal is, how do we turn more buyers into these lifelong enthusiasts?” Iannone said on the call. “And our focus is really not on just the total number, but really focused on how we are driving these buyers to become enthusiasts.”

He said those high-value buyers are driving GMV growth. “They’re growing as a population, and more and more, you’re going to see us doing things to drive that longevity because we know the things that move buyers up the cohort curve into long-term buyers,” Iannone added without revealing more details.

EBay is No. 5 in the ranking of Digital Commerce 360 Top 100 Online Marketplaces.

In the second quarter ended June 30, eBay reported:

advertisement
  • Revenue increased 14% to $2.67 billion from $2.34 billion in Q2 2020.
  • Net income from $294 million, down 57% from $689 million.
  • The appointment of Steve Priest as chief financial officer and Stefanie Jay as chief business and strategy officer.
  • The launch of Authenticity Guarantee for handbags that cost more than $500 in the U.S.

In the first six months, eBay reported:

  • Revenue increased 27.6% to $5.30 billion from $4.16 billion in the year-ago period.
  • Net income was $862.0 million, down from $1.11 billion.

Percentage changes may not align exactly with dollar figures due to rounding.

Bloomberg contributed to this report.