April 27, 2011, 4:52 PM

Sales on eBay rise 8.5%

EBay’s revenue increased 15.9% and profits jumped 19.6% in the first quarter.

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The value of merchandise sold on eBay Inc.’s marketplace increased 8.5% year over year in the first quarter ended March 31, eBay Inc. reported today. The company’s Q1 revenue rose 15.9%.

The 8.5% growth in marketplace sales represented an increase from year-over-year growth of 6% in the fourth quarter of 2010 and 3% in Q3. The growth rates were 13% in Q2 and 24% in Q1 when comparisons were against the weak sales of early 2009 when the economy was mired in recession.

For the first quarter ended March 31, eBay reported:

  • The value of goods sold through eBay’s online marketplaces, excluding autos, increased 8.5% in the first quarter to $14.50 billion from $13.37 billion in the same quarter last year. 56% of marketplace revenue was from outside the U.S.
  • Fixed-price sales represented 61% of marketplace volume compared with 57% a year earlier, reflecting eBay’s shift away from the auction format as more large and midsized retailers use eBay as a sales platform, selling merchandise for a fixed price.
  • Active users of eBay’s marketplaces totaled 95.9 million, up 5.0% from 91.3 million a year earlier. (Active users are those who have listed or bought on eBay in the previous 12 months.)
  • Payment volume increased 28.6% year over year to $27.4 billion, of which 63% came from the company’s merchant services unit that handles off-eBay payments for e-retailers. Payments with eBay’s PayPal online payment service account for the majority of the rest, with Bill Me Later accounting for 1% of total payment volume.
  • Active users of eBay’s payment services, which include consumers with PayPal or Bill Me Later accounts, increased 15.9% year over year to 97.7 million from 84.3 million.
  • EBay’s total Q1 revenue rose 15.9% to $2.55 billion from $2.20 billion a year ago.
  • Q1 net income was $476 million, up 19.6% from $398 million a year ago.

“PayPal continued to drive strong growth globally, eBay sharply accelerated growth in the U.S. and we announced several acquisitions that we believe will enhance our leadership and innovation in commerce and payments,” says John Donahoe, eBay president and CEO.  Among those deals are the online marketplace’s purchase of e-commerce service provider GSI Commerce Inc. for $2.4 billion, as well as its acquisition of provider of advertising services, search and mobile apps Where.

EBay reported 14% growth in U.S. net revenue in the first quarter, after year-over-year growth had ranged from 4-8% in the previous four quarters.

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