Oct. 21, 2013, 2:25 PM
Oct. 20, 2013, 2:30 AM
- Illinois' Supreme Court has invalidated a state law that taxes certain Internet transactions, explaining that it was superseded by a federal law that bans charging levies on "electronic commerce."
- The ruling by a vote of 6-1 marks the first time that a state court has quashed an online sales tax law.
- Illinois' Department of Revenue is now thinking about taking the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
- The companies who could be directly or indirectly affected by the decision in Illinois include Amazon (AMZN), eBay (EBAY), Overstock (OSTK), Blue Nile (NILE), ChannelAdvisor (ECOM) and RetailMeNot (SALE).
Oct. 18, 2013, 2:37 PM
- After trading lower for most of the day, eBay (EBAY +1.7%) has spiked higher in response to an AllThingsD column indicating CEO John Donahoe backtracked a bit on his downbeat CC remarks about Q4 U.S. e-commerce trends (cited as a culprit for the company's below-consensus Q4 guidance) during a Wednesday evening interview.
- Donahoe: "The truth is [CFO Bob Swan] and I both have colds ... I think [our remarks] came across more negative than intended." Nonetheless, Donahoe did recap a list of reasons why eBay is cautious about Q4 U.S. sales, including comScore data, the government shutdown, and a shorter holiday season thanks to a late Thanksgiving.
- Many Internet peers are posting big gains today thanks to Google's Q3 beat.
Oct. 17, 2013, 1:26 PM
- Several analysts have lowered their eBay (EBAY -3.8%) PTs after the company delivered mixed Q3 results and light Q4 guidance, while blaming the latter on slowing U.S. e-commerce growth. But no downgrades have arrived.
- Deutsche, which has lowered its PT to $56 from $59, thinks eBay's Marketplaces unit is "losing modest market share to others, including [Google Shopping] and Amazon." Needham and Macquarie are also worried about Marketplaces' growth, which has improved in recent years thanks to site improvements, strong mobile activity, and growing fixed-price listings.
- On the CC, CEO John Donahoe admitted users joining eBay via mobile are generating less revenue on average, in part due to demographics (they tend to be younger, and are more likely to be in emerging markets). But he added their engagement rates are higher.
- Meanwhile, eBay says it has hired RJ Pittman, formerly in charge of design/product management for Apple's e-commerce ops, to the newly-created position of chief product officer for Marketplaces. The hiring comes as eBay ramps its R&D spend (+11% Y/Y in Q3 to $433M) and expands Marketplaces' reach to include same-day delivery and local pickup.
Oct. 17, 2013, 9:12 AM
Oct. 16, 2013, 6:44 PM
- Though EBAY saw stabilizing macro conditions in Europe and Asia-Pac during Q3, the U.S. e-commerce market "softened considerably" and hasn't rebounded yet in Q4, the company stated on its Q3 CC. The U.S. weakness, together with ramping investments, are blamed for eBay's below-consensus Q4 guidance.
- A positive tone was generally struck regarding PayPal, whose merchant services transaction growth hit a 6-quarter high in Q3. Bill Me Later also fared well: transaction volume +30% to $1.01B, portfolio balance +37% to $2.56B. But there might be some concern about PayPal's take rate, which fell 9 bps Q/Q and 19 bps Y/Y to 3.94%.
- 71% of Marketplaces transactions now involve fixed-price items, and 36% of new Q3 users came via mobile. Vehicles GMV (excluded from broader GMV metrics) fell 11% Y/Y, even with Q2.
- The Enterprise division (formerly GSI) saw 5% Y/Y rev. growth to $238M; client same-store sales rose 13%.
- EBAY -5% AH. AMZN -1.1%. Amazon obtained 60% of its Q2 sales from North America. Other firms with strong U.S. e-commerce exposure: OSTK, NILE, ECOM.
- Q3 results, guidance/details, slides
Oct. 16, 2013, 4:42 PM
- EBAY expects Q4 revenue of $4.5B-$4.6B and EPS of $0.79-$0.81, below a consensus of $4.64B and $0.83. In a quote talking up eBay's Q3 numbers, CEO John Donahoe calls the macro environment "fairly lackluster." Back in July, European and Korean macro issues were blamed for eBay's below-consensus Q3 guidance.
- Payments division (PayPal) growth remained strong in Q3: sales +19% Y/Y (to $1.62B) vs. +20% in Q2. Payment volume +25% (to $43.8B) vs. +24%, active accounts rose by 5M Q/Q to 137M (+17% Y/Y). Merchant services (non-eBay) transaction volume +30% Y/Y.
- Marketplaces revenue +12% Y/Y (to $2.03B) vs. +10% in Q2; mobile provided a lift. GMV (exc. vehicles) +13%, even with Q2. U.S. GMV +15% vs. +16%, international +12% vs. +11%. Total listings topped 500M. Active users rose by 3.9M vs. 3.5M in Q2, +14% Y/Y and reaching 124M.
- EBAY -4.2% AH. AMZN -1.2% in sympathy. CC at 5PM ET.
- Q3 results, PR
Oct. 16, 2013, 4:17 PM
Oct. 16, 2013, 12:04 PM
- Square Cash, a new service from the mobile payments upstart, allows users to send payments for free via e-mail simply by typing the payment amount in the subject line and sending a CC e-mail to a Square address. Users only need to provide Square with debit card info - no accounts have to be created, or bank account numbers provided. Android and iPhone apps have been launched.
- The product launch has led eBay (EBAY -0.1%) to trade near breakeven on a day when the Nasdaq is up 1.1%. Square and PayPal each already offer several competing offline/mobile payments products/services; Square Cash takes aim at both PayPal's core payments services, and the mobile payments platform offered by Braintree's Venmo unit (soon to be in PayPal's hands).
- However, unlike Login and Pay with Amazon, Square Cash isn't a direct threat to PayPal's merchant transactions. It arrives shortly after Google made it possible for Wallet users to send money for free via e-mail, and added a money-attachment feature to Gmail.
- PayPal has been busy adding new payment options (I, II) to its apps.
Oct. 16, 2013, 12:10 AM
Oct. 15, 2013, 5:35 PM
Oct. 11, 2013, 4:06 AM
- Alibaba reportedly intends to carry out its IPO in 2014, although there is a smaller chance that it could file for a listing before the year-end.
- The speculation comes after Alibaba decided not to go public in Hong Kong, due to authorities not allowing the e-commerce giant to retain a structure that would enable its "partners" - a group of founders and senior employees - to maintain control of the board's composition.
- Previous reports have said Alibaba, whose shareholders include Yahoo (YHOO) and Softbank (SFTBF.PK), is moving towards a U.S. IPO.
- Meanwhile, Alibaba has reportedly provided most of the funding in a $206M round for ShopRunner, which competes with Amazon by offering an unlimited two-day shipping service from retailers for a yearly fee of $79. Under the deal, eBay (EBAY) sold its 30% stake at a profit.
Oct. 10, 2013, 6:40 PM
- ChannelAdvisor (ECOM) clients saw their Amazon (AMZN) same-store sales rise 26.5% Y/Y in September. That's better than August's 24% and July's 24.9%, albeit still down from the 30%+ rates recorded earlier this year.
- EBAY same-store sales growth, on the other hand, fell to 17.4% from August's 20.4% and July's 17.7%. Fixed-price sales +19.4% vs. +20.2% in August, auctions +8.4% vs. +7.8%, Motors +14.4% vs. +18.5%.
- Google's (GOOG) numbers improved: search ad-driven same-store sales +1.8% vs. +0.2% in August, sales driven by shopping engines (such as Google Shopping) +10.6% vs. +7.7%.
- However, the search ad-driven sales growth was fueled almost entirely by a 17% Y/Y increase in average order value to $113.72. Ad clicks fell 6% and orders 5%, and ad prices (CPC) slipped 7% to $0.50. ChannelAdvisor speculates consumers shopping for cheaper items are relying less on search in favor of Google Shopping.
- For reference, comScore estimated total U.S. e-commerce sales growth (exc. travel) was 16% in Q2.
Oct. 10, 2013, 2:54 PM
- The government shutdown might have put a stop to the release of many economic reports, but at MasterCard the data crunching continues to go on.
- A new report from MasterCard Advisors finds September retail sales were up 3% Y/Y - a deceleration from the pace seen early in the summer.
- Though apparel and department stores (DDS, JCP, KSS, M) showed weakness, Internet sales (AMZN, EBAY, BBY, TGT) were up at a double-digit clip.
- Sales in the hardware and furniture & furnishings (LZB, ETH, HVT, RH,BSET, LEG) sectors were affected by fears over the impending government shutdown.
- MasterCard PR
Oct. 10, 2013, 5:04 AM
- Microsoft's (MSFT) board reportedly hopes to appoint a CEO to replace Steve Ballmer by the end of the year and is narrowing down the list of candidates amid preliminary interviews.
- Directors have spoken with Ford (F) CEO Alan Mulally, ex-Nokia boss CEO Stephen Elop and former top Microsoft executive Paul Maritz, as well as with Tony Bates, the company's evangelism chief.
- Some candidates have asked not to be on the shortlist, including eBay (EBAY) CEO John Donahoe.
Oct. 8, 2013, 2:27 PM
- Amazon (AMZN -2.4%), which already offers a home-grown online payments platform for orders placed on its site/apps, is launching Login and Pay with Amazon, a service that (as its name implies) lets shoppers pay for purchases on 3rd-party sites by logging in with their Amazon accounts. (PR)
- The service is aimed squarely at PayPal (EBAY -3%), which processed $29.8B in transactions on non-eBay sites in Q2 (70% of its total), and just expanded its reach by acquiring Braintree. Like PayPal, Amazon's pricing starts at 2.9% + $0.30/transaction.
- PayPal has fought off competition from Google and other big Internet names. However, Amazon has 215M+ active customer accounts it can leverage to make a dent, and (judging by the company's description of its service) might be able to offer better on-site integration than PayPal.
- Meanwhile, PayPal, which added several new offline payment tools and features to its mobile apps last month (I, II), has just announced one more: the ability to pay by having a QR code scanned. Aware this option isn't more convenient than swiping a credit card, PayPal suggests its real value comes from giving users the ability to redeem promotions and gift cards.
- Both Amazon and eBay are selling off on a bad day for Internet stocks.
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