Amazon vs eBay 2015 Q4 financial reports compared

Both Amazon and eBay recently announced their 2015 Q4 results. Since the fourth quarter has most of the key shopping events - Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas shopping - everyone was excited to see how well those companies did. We have recently started monitoring eBay sellers so we looked at which one came out ahead.

Amazon reported strong sales of $35.7 billion for the fourth quarter of 2015, up 22% from $29.3 billion in the previous year. On the other hand eBay reported sales of $21.9 billion, increasing by 5% year-over-year. comScore reports that e-commerce is growing at a rate of 13-15% across the US so eBay underperformed. It’s worth pointing out that the third quarter of 2015 for eBay wasn’t strong either as they saw a decrease in sales from $20 billion to $19.6 year-over-year.

eBay active buyer base grew by 5% to 162 million. Amazon does not report similar numbers, but they did say that the Prime membership grew by 51% compared to last year. By some estimates Amazon now has over 50 million Prime members already.

Amazon performed better with a strong growth rate in sales and continues to strengthen its position by growing the Prime membership. eBay was not able to perform as strongly, yet they still continue to be the number two marketplace in the US and everywhere outside of China.

Both of these companies are fighting not only on product selection, but also in areas like mobile phone access and SEO performance. eBay has suffered from decrease in traffic over the last few years, but are working hard on the SDI (Structured Data Initiative), which should help them achieve a more consistent product selection and better customer experience.

Nonetheless eBay and Amazon disappointed investors as core metrics did not meet expectations, and saw their stuck plunge in hours of trading after reporting Q4 financials.

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Juozas "Joe" Kaziuk─Śnas

Founder of Marketplace Pulse, Joe wears multiple hats in the management of Marketplace Pulse, including writing most of the articles. Based in New York City. Advisor to other startups and entrepreneurs. Occasional speaker at conferences.

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