eBay Looks to Reinvigorate

With John Donahue taking the CEO reigns today, I decided to take a look at eBay’s performance in the past few years. Under Meg Whitman, the company’s growth since 2001 has been remarkably steady, both in terms of traffic and revenue growth.

The chart below shows US Quarterly Unique Visitors and US Quarterly Revenue, including data from revenue-producing subsidiaries PayPal (acquired July 2002), Skype (October 2005) and StubHub (February 2007).

Ebay traffic and revenue 2001 - 2007

Lest anyone doubt that traffic is the life-blood of eBay (like most consumer internet companies) note that the correlation between Unique Visitors and revenue is an astounding 94%.

Performance has been remarkably steady in terms of traffic and revenue. However, in the past couple of years, traffic growth has been a bit choppy while revenue has accelerated steeply.

Here is eBay’s US Revenue per Unique Visitor since Q2 2001. The "Competers" highlight the gains from previously mentioned acquisitions.

Ebay Traffic vs Revenue

Revenue per Unique Visitor is a key meter of sales efficacy and eBay’s current R/UV is at a record high of $12.65, up from $7.92 seven years ago. Most of that gain in sales efficiency has come in the past couple of years from initiatives like the well-received Fixed Price option and raised fees for sellers.

If eBay can successfully execute on the vision that CEO Donahue laid out today, which will "make eBay an easier and safer place to shop," Unique Visitor growth will return to a steady trajectory and revenue should continue to accelerate.

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