eBay Changes Definition of Gross Merchandise Volume

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


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eBay Announces Change to Gross Merchandise Volume Definition and Releases Updated Historical Metrics
The company has changed its definition of Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) to align with customer money flows on its platforms eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY), a global commerce leader that connects millions of buyers and sellers around the world, today announced it has changed its definition of Gross Merch…

SAN JOSE, Calif., Dec. 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- eBay Inc., a global commerce leader that connects millions of buyers and sellers around the world, today announced it has changed its definition of Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) to align with customer money flows on its platforms.

GMV provides a useful measure of the overall transaction volume on eBay's platforms and is correlated to net transaction revenue. The Company has updated its definition of GMV to include all paid transactions on its platforms inclusive of shipping fees and taxes.

Previously, eBay reported GMV regardless of whether the buyer and seller actually consummated the transaction. This change has been enabled by the increased visibility derived from the Company's transition to managing payments globally.

The updated GMV definition has an immaterial impact on previously reported GMV. Please refer to the table at the back of this release for a restatement of historical metrics.

The restatement of historical metrics, including GMV and active buyers, can also be found on the Investor Relations section of ebayinc.com. GMV under this new definition does not materially change guidance issued by the Company on October 27, 2021.

While the inclusion of shipping and sales tax is likely to raise some eyebrows, at least this definition of GMV specifically states it is the total value of all paid transactions on the site.

The previous definition lacked such specifics instead stating it was the total value of all successfully closed transactions between users on our platforms during the period regardless of whether the buyer and seller actually consummated the transaction.

Consummated in this context is synonymous with "paid", which means that a "closed" transaction could be one in which a buyer committed to purchase, but did not ultimately make a payment to complete the transaction.

Due to this change, going forward, only paid transactions will be counted and, as stated in the press release above, that will require redefining how eBay counts Active Buyer figures too.

Previously, Active Buyers were also defined by "successfully closed" transactions, regardless of whether payment was ever completed.

All buyers who successfully closed a transaction on our Marketplace within the previous 12-month period. Buyers may register more than once, and as a result, may have more than one account.

Now, Active Buyer and Seller stats will only include paid transactions in the previous 12 months.

All buyers who paid for a transaction on our platforms within the previous 12-month period. Buyers may register more than once, and as a result, may have more than one account.

This has caused eBay to also restate Active Buyers going back to 2018 (figures from eBay's amended quarterly reports):

Source: eBay Investor Relations - Amended Quarterly Reports

eBay says the restatement of GMV is immaterial, but looking at the actual numbers is quite illuminating, showing ~$13 Billion per year for a total variance of almost $40 Billion.

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Liz Morton is a seasoned ecommerce pro with 17 years of online marketplace sales experience, providing commentary, analysis & news about eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Shopify & more at Value Added Resource!