E-commerce Battle Royale – 2 big days in the eBay vs. Amazon ongoing battle.

April 22, 2009

ChannelAdvisor ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

Today, 4/22, at 5pm, eBay announces their Q1 results.  Tomorrow, 4/23, Amazon reports their Q1 results.

Although at analyst day, eBay’s John Donahoe took great pains to explain why the companies don’t compete, nobody (merchants or Wall St.) buys that argument.  It’s clear at every level that Amazon is taking huge share from eBay while eBay deals with their ongoing ‘core marketplace’ issues.
In fact if you look at the Q4 results:
  • Amazon grew at 18% (that’s the entire busines – I’m sure the seller business was much higher)
  • eBay’s GMV grew at -12%
  • eCommerce grew at -3% (comscore)
Thus in Q4, Amazon grew a whipping 21% faster than ecommerce and a stunning 30% faster than eBay.
It’s going to be interesting to see if eBay can do better than the – 12% – there are arguments on either side of that bet.  Also, can Amazon continue it’s 20%+ > ecommerce growth AND it’s > 30% growth over eBay.
As eBay is shedding some distractions like StumbleUpon and Skype, the focus on the core marketplace will get more intense than it is today and all eyes this afternoon will be on any signs of improvement or worsening in that busines.
ChannelAdvisor’s Q1 data
At ChannelAdvisor we track same-store-sales closely and here’s what we saw in Q1.  While we are a small % of eBay+Amazon’s GMV, historically our data tracks pretty closely to what is going on at the larger companies.  Same store sales takes out any data skewing from customer adds which are pretty significant.
We look at our data on a monthly basis and in Q1 each month is roughly 33% of the Q so you can average to get a feel for the Q.
  • Ecommerce:
    • Jan – 3% y/y growth
    • Feb – 4% y/y growth
    • March –  9% y/y growth
  • eBay:
    • Jan – -12% y/y growth
    • Feb – -10% y/y growth
    • March – -5% y/y growth
  • Amazon:
    • Jan – 40% y/y growth
    • Feb –  47% y/y growth
    • March –  55% y/y growth
So looking at our data, it looks like ecommerce in general started to rebound in March with eBay and Amazon both benefiting from that lift about the same.
Again there are lots of caveats to this data -for example, we don’t see any media GMV for Amazon, it’s all what is called EGM – Electronics and General Merchandise.  So it’s very possible that Amazon could have had a terrible or great Q on that business and we wouldn’t see that.  So think of these as directional datapoints that have to be put into context.  Also we are annualizing our significant release of our Amazon UK product so that is causing some unusually large growth in that geography that is ChannelAdvisor customer specific most likely.
Wall Streets Expectations for eBay and Amazon
eBay concensus estimates:
  • Q1 Revenue – $1.94b-1.98b
  • Q1 EPS – $.33-$.35
  • Q1 US GMV Growth – -15% to -10%
  • Q1 Intl GMV Growth –  -2 to 2%
  • Q2 Rev guidance – $1.98b-$2b
  • Q2 EPS guidance –  $.35-$.37
Amazon concesus estimates:
  • Q1 Revenue – $4.7b – $4.9b
  • Q1 EPS – $.31
  • Q1 Op Income – $260-$285
  • Q1 US Rev growth – 13%-16%
  • Q1 Intl Rev growth – 13%-16%
  • Q1 Third-Party Mix – 30%-33%
  • Q2 Rev guidance – $4.5b – $4.65b
  • Q2 Op Income guidance –  $240-$265
We’ll have a wrap-up here on Friday so we can compare how the two companies did.
SeekingAlpha Disclosure – I am long Amazon and Google