Etsy reports full year growth of 20.8% with strong holiday sales

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Etsy have just posted their latest quarterly and full year earnings and the top takeaway for merchants is that their Gross Margin Sales (GMS) are up 22.3% in the last quarter and 20.8% for the full year. That’s roughly in line with ecommerce and shows that marketplaces can still thrive and prosper in today’s world without becoming a retailer and competing with their merchants.

Etsy’s revenue was up 46.8% for the quarter and for the full year revenue was up 36.8%. Etsy’s community included 39.4 million active buyers (up 18.2% on the year) and boast 2.1 million active sellers from nearly every country in the world.

With a turnover of $1.2 billion in the last quarter and $3.9 billion for the year, Etsy’s profit dipped about 8% in the fourth quarter and 5.3% for the year due to investment in marketing aimed at driving sales for their merchants. They still turned in an overall profit for the year of $77 million.

Etsy in the UK

Of particular interest is that International GMS was 36% of overall GMS, and increased 32% year-over-year. The United Kingdom, one of Etsy’s six core markets, reached record GMS levels during the last quarter.

Impact of free shipping

Shipping incentives and seller education led to a meaningful improvement in the number of items with competitive shipping prices and practices which has been an ongoing aim for Etsy.

During the holiday shopping period, nearly 80% of items were available to ship domestically at competitive prices, and 33% of those items were available to ship for free. Whilst some sellers complain that Etsy are pushing them into free shipping that they can’t afford, the results speak for themselves with GMS rising by 30% Year Over Year between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday.

If you’re not already offering free shipping on Etsy (and we know that there’s no such thing as free shipping and it’s included in the sale price) then if at all possible it’s time to start doing so.

2019 Guidance

“By making Etsy a great destination for holiday shopping, we delivered strong fourth quarter results to end an excellent year. On a currency-neutral basis, 2018 gross merchandise sales grew 20.4% to $3.9 billion for the year, revenue was up 36.8% to $603.7 million for the year, and we improved our margins. We kept our focus on improving search and discovery, building trust in the marketplace, expanding our marketing channels, and investing in services that fuel our sellers’ success.”
– Josh Silverman, Chief Executive Officer, Etsy

Etsy are providing investors with 2019 guidance of expected GMS Year-Over-Year Growth to run at 17-20% and revenue Year-Over-Year Growth of 29-32%.


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