I just got back from eBay's annual shareholder's meeting, this year held in Chicago where the eBay Live conference kicks off today.
There were a lot of stats about company metrics and growth, but I don't think any really tough questions as had been anticipated by some.
Probably the toughest question came from one seller who was concerned about how much easier he thought it was to list items on amazon.com than on eBay. "Amazon could take you guys over," he said. He said amazon has this large database of items -- "you can just click on the item and sell them."
He alluded to the fact that it was hard to deal with acquiring pictures for eBay and said he'd even thought of starting a site, "stealmypictures.com."
A view of the meeting before it started (pictures during the actual mtg. were not allowed):
John Donahoe then started things off by saying they wanted to take a moment to recognize Meg Whitman , CEO for the last 10 years, saying she'd "done a phenomenal job serving our community of users and shareholders as well."
Meg meeting with a shareholder after the meeting.
Getting in to "talking about eBay Today," he went thru some financials: "eBay's been associated with strong financial performance."
- In 2007 - 29% growth, very profitable
- operating income grown to 2.5 billion, also 29% growth
- attractive eps/earnings per share: $1.53 - 46% growth over previous.
- strong free cash flow -- $2.2 billion in '07.
He said they try to manage in a responsible way:
- make "organic investments" in business (first time I've heard that phrase)
- make acquisitions
- buy back stock - eBay bought back $4.2 billion of stock last year.
eBay aspires to be the world's largest online marketplace, where "practically anyone can find practically anything almost anywhere."
$60 billion in merchandise successfully funneled through eBay last year. It's in over 30 countries in the world.
If eBay were a retailer, it would be the 6th largest, behind Wal-mart, Home Depot, Kroger, Costco and Target.
eBay did $59 billion in '07; Wal-Mart did $351 billion.
Some fun stats:
On eBay, every 26 minutes a Ford Mustang is sold.
Every 2 minutes a major appliance sells; and every 4 seconds a pair of shoes are shold.
Donahoe got the biggest laugh of the session when he quipped that he thought some of the eBay executives were buying shoes every couple of hours.
And he said there are "thousands of statistics like this."
- 18% of trade in the first quarter this year was cross-border.
eBay has 1 billion page views a day. 100 million listings concurrent, updated more than 500x/sec.
- Double the transaction volume of the NYSE.
Then he turned to "Improving the Health of the Marketplace."
Their job, he said, was to be "good custodians and stewards of the marketplace" -- to make sure it's providing a safe environment, the buyer gets value and selections, and sellers make a living.
They've made changes to improve trust - the feedback system, and incentives.
120 million items in search - help buyers find items more quickly and easily.
- implemented "best match" search.
- adding additional categories, make sure we have the kind of inventory merchants and buyers want.
The Marketplace Businesses
Include a broad range of brands such as StubHub, rent.com, Kijiji, Loquo, iBazaar, and one this blogger had not heard of called "giltididiyup" (Please don't quote me on that spelling!).
Classifieds is growing fast, he said -- leading site in 1000 cities in over 55 countries.
131 million total live ads, 344,000 added each day.
- 97% of revenue comes from eBay, StubHub and half.com; $5.3 billion.
PayPal is "truly a global business" -- using 17 currencies. 1/3 of people in the UK have a PayPal account.
100,000 web sites accept PayPal.
Core asset of PayPal is its users -- 141 million registered users.
Compare it to Chase, which has 115 million.
PayPal total payment volume is $47 billion dollars; 37% growth over previous year.
PayPal's off-eBay biz is growing as well -- "merchants services."