Etsy Continues Search Investments Following Record Revenue


Etsy is continuing to upgrade its search function after seeing record revenue during the holidays.

The eCommerce marketplace released earnings results Wednesday (Feb. 22) that showed revenues increasing 12.6% in the last quarter of 2022, driven in part by the holiday shopping season.

“We had particularly strong days on small-business Saturday and Giving Tuesday, supporting our belief that buyers associated Etsy with shopping small and making a positive impact,” CEO Josh Silverman said during an earnings call.

In addition to its $807.2 million in revenue, Etsy said this quarter saw the company reactivate 24 million “lapsed” buyers, the most ever in one year. It also saw its efforts to market to men pay off, with a record 22 million active male buyers, a 124% increase since 2019.

And after announcing last year that Etsy was working to streamline its search feature, Silverman said Wednesday the company search team had taken some impactful steps on this front.

“For example, search results are now getting good enough that we could put a Buy button right on search results and allow people to buy directly from search results without having to go all the way to the listing page,” he said during the call.

Asked during a question-and-answer session if Etsy is planning an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered chat search function, Silverman said that was very possible, adding that the company’s neuro models use the same kind of algorithms used by OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

Going forward, the CEO said it will be important to figure out new ways to talk to Etsy’s search engine, to “tell it what you want,” in other words, multimodal search using words and images.

“Show me things of the following style that would match well with this couch,” he said. “And so those kinds of things, I think, open up a huge opportunity for Etsy.”

People in a number of industries are seeing the promise of generative AI technology.

“Those firmly in the hype corner of generative AI view it as an emergent technology so powerful it will inevitably change the course of every industry, evolving the fundamental interactions users have with connected devices around them by making those devices far more efficient and intuitive to use,” PYMNTS wrote earlier this month.

The reality, that report continued, might be something more pedestrian, such as the use of AI for back-office efficiencies.

Etsy’s earnings came the same day another eCommerce firm — — said it is upgrading its search function after seeing a decline in earnings and active users.

CEO Jonathan Johnson said the company is working on improving Overstock’s internal search results, noting that while the website’s product assortment had risen, there was still a “gap” in search experience.

“An improved website experience is critical for us to drive repeat purchases,” Johnson said during an earnings call.

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