eBay’s Q3 results – Wall st. pukes on Q4 – What will Amazon bring tomorrow?

October 21, 2009

ChannelAdvisor ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

eBay’s results are out and the stock is down 5% or so in after hours trade. Q3 looked like a good solid ‘meet/beat’ Q, so let’s dig in and see what’s up.

Q3 – the turnaround in marketplaces seems to be working.

The metrics we watch most closely showed continued positive trends in Q3.

  • Y/Y GMV (ex-autos) grew 10% compared to a trend that was as low as -16% in Q1
  • Fixed price GMV is now 56% of GMV – up from 51% last Q  46% in the year ago period
  • Sold items were up 30% y/y

The only concerning marketplace datapoint is the active user data which remains anemic – still topped out around 89m users.  This is up only 2% y/y.

Other interesting tidbits:

  • eBay is previewing a diamond ring builder at http://diamonds.ebay.com
  • Management seemed pretty up-beat during the call
  • Donahoe mentioned they are going to launch a substantial Q4 campaign this year which sellers will like to hear.

Q4 – Hmm – storm ahead or conservatism?

So this sounds pretty good, what could be wrong?  Analysts were forecasting eBay’s Q4 revenue to be $2.26b and eBay’s guidance released today suggests a $2.25b mid-point.  This is clearly below expectations (albeit slightly) and some expectations were hoping to raise that mid-point which clearly won’t happen.

Additionally margins came down due to a change in mix between the core business, BML and other lower-margin lines of business (Skype).

The big question from today’s results are: Is eBay being conservative and managing expectations or are they seeing a grinchy holiday ahead?

We’ll report the Amazon results via sister-site Amazon Strategies.

SeekingAlpha disclosure: I am long Amazon and Google.  eBay is an investor in ChannelAdvisor where I am CEO.