February 20, 2013

eBay and #Omnichannel and Profit and Mobile

You can cobble together some interesting information from eBay's financial statements.  Here's a link to their 10-K for 2012 (click here to read it).

By merging various sources of information, we can guesstimate Marketplaces volume and PayPal volume, and we can estimate the share that come from mobile.  

It's likely that +/- 10% of PayPal volume is mobile, up from +/- 4% a year ago.  It's likely that +/- 20% of Marketplaces volume is mobile, up from +/- 10% last year.  Go cobble the data together yourself (use Google) and see what you can learn.  I'm accurate enough to make the point that follows:

Let's look at eBay total annual net sales, and total annual earnings before taxes, for the past five years.
  • 2012 = $14.0 billion sales, $3.1 billion profit.
  • 2011 = $11.7 billion sales, $3.9 billion profit.
  • 2010 = $9.2 billion sales, $2.1 billion profit.
  • 2009 = $8.7 billion sales, $2.9 billion profit.
  • 2008 = $8.5 billion sales, $2.2 billion profit.
Those are some nice profit numbers, huh?

Now, let's compare profit numbers from two different years.
  • 2009 = No Mobile to Speak of ... $2.9 billion profit.
  • 2012 = Surging Mobile Sales ... 10% to 20% of total by business unit ... $3.1 billion profit.
So, yes, mobile is going bonkers.

And, yes, there's no impact on profit.

Please, omnichannel experts, refer to this profit and loss statement, when discussing the myriad financial benefits of omnichannel customers.  If omnichannel customers were more valuable than everybody else, and eBay is rapidly transitioning customers from e-commerce to mobile, then wouldn't profit be absolutely surging?

In fact, you can make a strong case that in the pre-mobile era, eBay generated 33% pre-tax profit (2.9 / 8.7) ... but now in the mobile/omnichannel era, eBay is generating 22% pre-tax profit (3.1 / 14.0).

You don't hear this story told very often, do you?