eBay rides mobile commerce to strong earnings

The online auctioneer holds steady, beating Wall Street expectations and focusing on mobile commerce to keep things going.

Following eBay's grand introduction of its X.commerce open-source platform at the Innovate Developer Conference last week, eBay is having another week to boast about.

This afternoon eBay reported third-quarter earnings of $490.5 million, or 37 cents a share. Non-GAAP earnings were 48 cents a share on revenue of $2.97 billion.

Wall Street was expecting eBay to report third-quarter earnings of 48 cents a share, rising from earnings of 40 cents last year, on revenue of $2.91 billion.

In prepared remarks, eBay president and CEO John Donahoe touted the mobile-commerce strategy:

Our company reported another strong quarter, with eBay, PayPal and GSI each performing well. Mobile commerce continues to accelerate as consumers change the way they shop and pay. We expect eBay mobile commerce to generate almost $5 billion in merchandise volume this year and PayPal mobile to exceed $3.5 billion in payment volume. Mobile is one way online and offline shopping are blending into a single commerce environment. We are focused on enabling commerce, helping consumers shop anytime, anywhere, and being the commerce partner of choice for retailers of all sizes.

PayPal more than any other company in eBay's expanding portfolio (including eBay itself) is really responsible for strengthening eBay's mobile-commerce plan.

For starters, PayPal now stands at more than 103 million active accounts and counting--a 14 percent increase year over year. The payments service also signs up an average of 1 million new accounts each month.

PayPal's revenue is also up 32 percent year-over-year, which is primarily due to increased integration on eBay and more adoption by merchants and consumers. Additionally, PayPal is now used by 63 of the top 100 top online retailers in North America--up from 56 last year.

"PayPal is driving innovation and customer convenience in the mobile arena," Donahoe added during the quarterly investors call this afternoon, reiterating that we will likely see more change in commerce in the next three years than we've seen in the last decade.

Donahoe posited that consumers want to shop anytime, anywhere, and at the moment, "merchants can't compete when consumers have shopping malls in their pockets."

"X.commerce makes our technology and global platforms available to third-party developers, which we believe will accelerate commerce innovation," Donahoe argued.

For the outlook, eBay is predicting a revenue of $3.2 billion to $3.35 billion at the end of the fourth quarter with non-GAAP earnings 55 cents to 58 cents a share. Wall Street is looking for earnings of 58 cents a share on revenue of $3.3 billion for the fourth quarter.

For 2011, eBay is planning on delivering revenue between $11.5 billion and $11.6 billion with non-GAAP earnings per diluted share in the range of $1.98 to $2.01.

Additional numbers:

  • Non-GAAP net income was $628.2 million.
  • eBay generated $809 million of operating cash flow and $526 million of free cash flow during the third quarter.
  • GSI, which was acquired in the second quarter of 2011, contributed $202.6 million in revenue for the third quarter by generating $608 million in global e-commerce merchandise sales during the quarter.

Updated at 2:51 p.m. PT: Added information from the conference call.

This story originally appeared at ZDNet's Between the Lines under the headline "eBay turns out positive Q3 earnings with help from PayPal."

 

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