eBay reported Q3 2016 financial results this week. Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) grew to $18.9 billion, up from $18.6 billion last year, but only by 4%. In comparison eBay did $19.7 billion in sales in Q2 up by 5% from the year before. Overall, the results are not promising.
eBay active buyers growth is slowing down. In Q3 eBay had 165 million buyers, up by 3% from last year. However this number grew by 4% in Q2 and Q1, and by 5% in Q4 and Q3 in 2015. With slowing audience growth it is hard to expect sales growth to accelerate.
Shares in eBay fell nearly 11%. The market was expecting more growth, but it seems the investment in the often quoted Structured Data Initiative didn't produce it this quarter. The initiative aims to lower the cost of user-acquisition and improve buying experience.
Last quarter eBay acquired Expertmaker and SalesPredict, two expert companies in artificial intelligence and machine learning. So far we haven't seen any outcome from this.
We are still seeing healthy growth in the eBay marketplace, the amount of active sellers is rising, but with merchandise volume failing to grow it means new sellers are taking away sales from existing sellers.
The problem eBay has on hand cannot be fixed by structured data initiative alone, attracting new buyers to the platform is limited by the eBay brand. Unfortunately with Amazon so strong, and marketplaces like Walmart and now Jet.com growing, what drives buyers to eBay? Q4 this year will show how much Christmas sales eBay is able to capture.