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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 179 million users and some 1.2 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.

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 about 35 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.

Financial Performance

eBay has seen steady revenue growth over the past five years with sales up 22% since 2014. Net income, however, has been quite sporadic during that time, hitting $7.3 billion in 2016 before plummeting to a loss of $1 billion in 2017.

In 2018 the company reported revenue of $10.7 billion, up 8% from the prior year. The growth was powered by Marketplace net transaction revenue and Classifieds marketing services and other revenue, primarily outside the US.

Net income was also up that year, rising to $2.5 billion from a loss of $1 billion in 2017 when the company reported a large income tax provision related to the 2017 Tax Act.

Cash at the end of 2018 was $2.2 billion, an increase of $79 million from the prior year. Cash from operations contributed $2.7 billion to the coffers, while investing activities provided $2.9 billion, mainly from sales of investments, including its equity investment in Indian e-commerce leader Flipkart. Financing activities used $5.4 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 2018 the company added more robust analytics and merchandising tools to its Seller Hub and continued the multi-year rollout of its new payments experience, which manages the entire payments flow. In addition, it added Apply Pay as an option at checkout. eBay anticipates giving sellers access to more data and tools in 2019 in addition to improved security protection. 

The company made a key acquisition in 2018 that is helping it expand in the large Japanese ecommerce market and it relaunched eBay India after selling its stake in Indian ecommerce leader Flipkart. It also launched the Retail Revival initiative to help small businesses move online. eBay partnered with select cities -- including Akron, Ohio; Lansing, Michigan; and Wolverhampton, UK -- to provide in-depth training, dedicated coaching, and promotional support for small businesses expanding to the digital marketplace. The company announced two more cities in early 2019.

Mergers and Acquisitions

In 2018 eBay acquired Giosis' Japan business, including the Qoo10.jp platform, for $306 million. With the close of the transaction, eBay relinquished its investment in Giosis' non-Japanese businesses. The transaction expanded eBay's footprint in Japan, one of the largest e-commerce markets in the world.

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

Stats

Employer Type: Publicly Owned
Stock Symbol: EBAY
Stock Exchange: , NASDAQ
President, StubHub: Scott Cutler
Chairman: Thomas J. Tierney
President and CEO: Devin N. Wenig
Employees (This Location): 120
Employees (All Locations): 14,000

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