January 18, 2012, 5:22 PM

U.S. sales on eBay grow 10% in Q4

The marketplace giant secured $11.7 billion in revenue in 2011, up 27% over last year.

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The value of merchandise sold on eBay Inc.’s marketplaces in the U.S. increased 10.3% in the fourth quarter, eBay reported today. Strong sales by eBay's top-rated sellers and site enhances drove growth for eBay in the U.S., the company says, while the value of international goods sold increased 9% year over year.

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

• The value of goods sold to U.S. consumers through eBay’s online marketplaces, excluding autos, increased 10.3% to $6.16 billion in Q4 from $5.58 billion in the same period a year ago. Global marketplace sales grew 9.6% to $16.5 billion from $15.0 billion in the same quarter last year. EBay earned commissions of $1.8 billion on those sales. Higher category sales in the areas of fashion, auto parts and accessories boosted U.S. sales on eBay, president John Donahoe told investors on eBay’s earnings call yesterday.

• Fixed-price sales represented 64% of marketplace volume compared with 62% a year earlier.

• Active users of eBay’s marketplaces totaled 100.4 million, up 6.2% from 94.5 million a year earlier. (Active users are those who have listed or bought on eBay in the previous 12 months.)

• Active users of PayPal payment systems, which include consumers with Paypal or Bill Me Later accounts, increased 12.6% year over year to 106.3 million.

• Payment volume increased 24.2% to $33.4 billion, compared with $26.9 billion in Q4 of 2010.

• EBay’s total Q4 revenue rose 35.5% to $3.4 billion from $2.5 billion a year ago. EBay’s GSI Commerce business, which it acquired in the second quarter of 2011, contributed $363.6 million in revenue for the fourth quarter. Revenue growth was also driven by a gain on the sale of the eBay’s minority investment in video messaging service Skype.

• Q3 net income was $3.2 billion, up 254.2% from $559 million a year ago.

Mobile payment volume also jumped dramatically during the holiday season, as eBay experienced a 500% increase year over year on Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the first workday after Thanksgiving. “Consumers are shopping more frequently via mobile and merchants who adopt PayPal Mobile Express Checkout are seeing significantly higher conversion,” Donahoe said. “We expect PayPal's mobile growth to continue with mobile volume in 2012 estimated to hit $7 billion.”

The increase in sales of fixed price merchandise is an indication, eBay says, that its recent “Buy It New, Buy it Now” campaign is resonating with shoppers and aiding the marketplace in rebranding its image away from a provider of only used auction items to a place to purchase new products as well. “Early feedback shows the campaign’s been successful in helping to drive brand awareness and position eBay as the destination with a great selection of new merchandise at fixed prices,” Donahoe said.

EBay began a limited in-store PayPal payment system test with The Home Depot Inc. in the fourth quarter by allowing shoppers to check out via their mobile phone number and PIN or by swiping a PayPal card. EBay plans to expand this program with the launch of a pilot program at 51 Home Depot stores in the San Francisco area this week. “We're excited about our partnership with Home Depot, and we'll continue to be focused on delivering the best possible product experience for consumers and retailers as we expand with Home Depot and other national retailers later this year,” Donahoe says.

For the full year 2011, eBay reported:

• Revenue of $11.7 billion, up 27.3% from $9.2 billion in 2010.

• Net income of $3.2 billion, up nearly 79.3% from $1.8 billion.


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