eBay revenue figures best in six years

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eBay CEO John DonahoeOnline retailer eBay has posted its best quarterly gain in six years, generating $3bn in revenue and taking earnings to $490.5m. The company's PayPal business was a key driver, with revenue up 32% year on year to $1.1bn, showing the punch that the burgeoning mobile payments sector now punches. Last year $750m in payments were transacted through PayPal accounts and eBay estimates that figure will hit $3.5bn this year.

It's those Paypal figures that draw the eye. By the end of the quarter there were 103m registered active accounts, up 14% year on year. The total net payment volume was up 31% to $29.3bn. John Donahoe, the eBay CEO pictured above looking pretty pleased, said; "Mobile is one way online and offline shopping are blending into a single commerce environment."

The eBay Marketplace itself generated $1.7bn in revenue over the period. Gross merchandise volume, not including vehicles, was up 16% to $14.7bn. The GSI e-commerce business, acquired this year for $2.4bn, added revenue of $202.6m to the company's bottom line.

Apple shares

Those results met analysts' expectations – key to the health of company shares as the fall in Apple's price after lower than expected numbers earlier this week. Earnings of 48 cents per eBay share kept the markets happy, although the company's operating margin was down to 18.1% from 21.8% in the same period last year.

The company forecasts revenues will be between $3.2bn and $3.35bn by the end of the fourth quarter. It is changing from being an end-seller to a commerce-enabler and that 'blending of offline and online commerce' Donahoe talked about is something he estimates to be a $10 trillion opportunity.

New payment system

PayPal is due to start testing a new in-store, point of sale payment system sometime this quarter, with a full launch pencilled in for the second quarter of next year. "It's a huge market and it's the next chapter in PayPal's playbook," said Donahoe.

Specialist investment site Seeking Alpha says it thinks eBay is "is steadily improving its position in marketplace against Amazon – encouraging sales of new items in a fixed price format – something that continues to be overlooked by the Street". Along with Amazon, Apple and Google, eBay is clearly one to watch.

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