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2019 Vault Rankings

At a Glance

Uppers

Anyone anywhere can buy or sell products online using a secure network and payment systems

Downers

Since customers are buying from individuals and not necessarily buying from reputable companies there are more opportunities for fraud and scams

The Bottom Line

eBay Inc. is the world's largest online marketplace with more than 97 million global users and includes eBay, PayPal, Bill Me Later, GSI Commerce and X.commerce.

About Ebay Inc.

eBay is a well-known e-commerce platform for online auctions and boasts more than 180 million users and over 1 billion listings globally. Trading goods every second of every day, eBay offers an online forum for buying and selling merchandise worldwide, from fine antiques to the latest video games. It generates revenue through listing and selling fees and through advertising. The company also sells tickets to concerts, sporting events, and other entertainment via its StubHub platform and provides online classified listings via its Classifieds platform. eBay is available across digital platforms, including mobile. Some 60% of its sales are outside the US. In 2019, eBay sell StubHub to viagogo for a purchase price $4.1 billion in cash.

Operations

eBay generates revenue from net transactions, about 80% of the total, and from marketing services and other, about 20%

Net transaction revenue consists of final value fees (fees payable on transactions closed in the Marketplace and StubHub platforms), listing fees, and other service fees. Marketing services and other revenue consists of sales from Marketplace, StubHub, and Classified, principally from the sale of advertisements, revenue sharing arrangements, classifieds fees, marketing service fees, and lead referral fees.

Overall, the eBay Marketplace accounts for about 80% of revenue with the StubHub and Classifieds platforms each contributing about 10%.

Geographic Reach

About 60% of eBay's revenue is generated outside the US. It has a strong focus on Europe with Germany and the UK each providing about 15% of revenue.

The San Jose, California-based company has offices, data centers, product development facilities, fulfillment centers, and customer service teams in over 30 countries.

Sales and Marketing

eBay's online marketing efforts go to traffic acquisition in paid search, affiliates marketing, and display advertising. Offline advertising includes brand campaigns and buyer and seller communications.

eBay's advertising expense totaled $1.4 billion, $1.4 billion and $1.3 billion for the years 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively

Financial Performance

eBay has seen steady revenue growth over the past five years with sales up 26% since 2015. Net income, however, has been quite sporadic during that time.

In 2019 the company reported revenue of $10.8 billion, up 1% from the prior year. The growth was powered by Marketplace net transaction revenue and Classifieds marketing services and other revenue.

Net income declined that year to $1.8 billion from $2.5 billion in 2018.

Cash at the end of 2018 was $996 million, a decrease of $1.2 billion from the prior year. Cash from operations contributed $3.1 billion to the coffers, while investing activities provided $2.8 billion, mainly from sales of investments. Financing activities used $7.1 billion for stock repurchase.

Strategy

eBay's strategy remains relatively straight-forward -- leverage technology and innovation to keep current customers satisfied and attract new customers through marketing programs and other outreach as well as geographic expansion.

In 2019, eBay agreed to sell its StubHub subsidiary to Viagogo for about $4 billion. The deal unites StubHub's strong US presence with Viagogo's strength in the UK and Europe. The deal came about as eBay looked to focus on its core businesses. The sale was expected to close in early 2020.

Company Background

Pierre Omidyar created a flea market in cyberspace when he launched online auction service Auction Web on Labor Day weekend in 1995. Making a name for itself largely through word of mouth, the company incorporated in 1996, the same year it began to charge a fee to auction items online. That year it enhanced its service with Feedback Forum (buyer and seller ratings).

The company changed the name to eBay in 1997 and began promoting itself through advertising. By the middle of that year, eBay was boasting nearly 800,000 auctions each day and Benchmark Capital came on board as a significant financial backer.

Margaret ("Meg") Whitman, a former Hasbro executive, replaced Omidyar as CEO in early 1998. EBay made a blockbuster debut as a public company later that year. The company moved closer to household name status the same year by launching a national ad campaign and inking alliance deals with AOL and WebTV.

Ebay Inc.

2025 Hamilton Ave
San Jose, CA 95125-5904
Phone: 1 (408) 376-7008

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Publicly Owned
Stock Symbol: EBAY
Stock Exchange: , NASDAQ
SVP Global Operations: Wendy Jones
Chairman: Thomas J. Tierney
President and CEO: Devin N. Wenig
Employees (This Location): 94
Employees (All Locations): 13,300

Major Office Locations

San Jose, CA

Other Locations

Los Angeles, CA
San Jose, CA
Valencia, CA
Boston, MA
La Vista, NE
Point Pleasant Boro, NJ
Farmington, NY
Portland, OR
Draper, UT
West Valley City, UT
Paris, France
Brussel, Belgium
Amsterdam, The Netherlands