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EBay Targets Gains in Back Half of 2024 Amid ‘Tough’ Discretionary Spending Environment  

EBay’s gross merchandise volume (GMV) eked out slight gains in the most recent quarter, but the tally of 131 million active buyers in the quarter was unchanged.

And growth may be a longer term story – a year-end story, in fact, amid uneven consumer spending. 

Investors sent the shares lower in after-hours trading on Wednesday by about 5%.

CEO Jamie Iannone said on the conference call with analysts, “We remain on track for GMV growth turn positive by Q3 or Q4 of this year.”

Motor parts and accessories was once again the largest contributor to growth among focused categories, said the CEO. GMV was $18.6 billion in the quarter.

AI in Focus

Iannone detailed the rollouts of artificial intelligence (AI) tools, detailed in previous PYMNTS coverage, as AI-powered shopping enables “users to browse a nearly unlimited list of personalized recommendations based on implicit and explicit interest signals, such as the user’s style preferences and sizes.

“We’re increasingly leveraging generative AI to change how we work driving meaningful productivity and efficiency improvements across our organization,” he added.

First-party advertising grew by 28% during the quarter, as total ad revenue represented 2.1% of GMV.  Off-site ads, which Iannone said are gaining traction in beta, “emerged as a material contributor to first-party ad revenue growth in Q1.”   

Uneven Demand, Initially

CFO Steve Priest said on the call that there had been “uneven demand environment in our major markets to start the year. … We continue to navigate through a tough environment,” for discretionary e-Commerce, particularly in the U.K. and Germany, two of the company’s largest markets.

U.S. GMV was basically flat during the first quarter, according to commentary during the call.  

For the current quarter, GMV is forecast to be flat to down 2%.

During the question-and-answer session with analysts, management noted that cross-border commerce remained strong and represented about 20% of GMV.

Asked later in the call about the health of the consumer, Iannone said, “We operate in a really dynamic environment given the macro challenges globally with inflationary pressures and interest rates. … Q1 started off a bit softer because of the weather, but then we had a reasonably good tax period. I would say the backdrop remains weaker in Europe than it does in the U.S.”  

In a macro environment, non-new merchandise can “be a great avenue for selling in terms of consumer demand,” he said. Used and refurbished goods reached 40% of total GMV across the company’s marketplace, he noted during the call.

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