Etsy, the online hub for unique and handmade goods (NASDAQ:ETSY), saw its share prices inch up to $13.14—up about 1 percent as of 9:31 a.m. EDT—ahead of its third-quarter earnings on Wednesday, which will be posted after the markets close.
Investors feel more confident in Etsy today than the day 2015’s third-quarter earnings were released when share prices were $10.74, which then reflected pressure and concern of competitor Amazon Handmade, according to Wedbush Securities’ equity research analyst Aaron Turner. He adds Etsy has since then reaccelerated growth of business and injected more confidence in investors.
Analysts expect the Brooklyn, New York-based firm’s adjusted earnings to show a loss of $0.02 per share compared to a loss of $0.04 per share during the the same period a year earlier, according to S&P Capital IQ. Etsy shares are currently trading up 2.23 percent while the S&P 500 is trading down 0.16 percent over the same time period.
Market watchers expect to see Etsy’s earnings to show a loss of $0.03 per share, which would be an improvement over 2015’s third quarter GAAP earnings loss of $0.06 per share.
Etsy is expected to generate $86.8 million in revenue, compared to $65.7 million during the third quarter a year ago, reflecting year-over-year growth of 32 percent. Net income could show $3.21 million loss, down from a loss of $6.89 million in the same period last year.
In an RBC Capital Markets research note, the firm explains that it views Etsy’s third-quarter estimates as reasonable with a slightly greater likelihood of upside versus downside variance. The note anticipates Etsy’s gross merchandise sales (GMS), or the total value of transactions across its marketplace, to reach $681.7 million, surpassing GMS of $568.8 this period last year but not beating 2015’s fourth quarter GMS of $741.5, likely driven by a strong holiday retail season. Wedbush Securities’ Aaron Turner expects plans for the holidays to be a big topic especially since the third quarter has been a bit sluggish for e-commerce.
RBC Capital Markets also notes that growth in the number of Etsy sellers has slowed over the past several quarters, to “well below the mid-20s percentage rate of a year ago.” But it expects an acceleration of active sellers’ growth to 12 percent year-over-year for a total of 1.72 million active Etsy sellers. It also expects there to be a 21 percent year-over-year growth to 27.4 million active Etsy buyers.
In October, Roth Capital Partners’ Darren Aftahi warned Etsy could see a reduction of adjusted EBITDA and profitability as the company expects to spend more on marketing to drive awareness of its marketplace and to grow its active buyers—those who have bought on Etsy at least once in the last 12 months—while failing to grow revenue. Aftahi also notes Etsy’s business model puts a significant amount of trust in its sellers, by relying on its sellers to list and fulfill orders to customers. If Etsy is unable to retain sellers, loses customer satisfaction or quality of its seller’s products, this could result in a reduction in buyers and in turn drive buyers away from Etsy.
Although Aftahi noted that the entrance of new participants in Etsy’s niche market (i.e., Amazon Handmade) could result in higher marketing spend and a reduction in active buyers and/or sellers, Turner said he hopes the accelerated growth he saw in Etsy’s second quarter will continue.
“Etsy has been able to compete effectively against Amazon Handmade, which is a testament to Etsy’s focus on handmade, artisanal goods which has resonated in the minds of sellers and artists as well as consumers and expects this to continue,” Turner said.
Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson foresaw and addressed this issue in 2015’s third quarter earnings call.
“We’ve been working with [Etsy sellers] for a decade and we believe that Etsy is the best platform for them to be creative entrepreneurs and build businesses on their own terms,” Dickerson said. “We also know and have talk about before on these calls that half of our sellers sell in multiple venues, and that Etsy is the primary source of income for those sellers who sell in multiple venues.”
More than just an online marketplace, a support for sellers
Part of the firm’s efforts to make selling goods on Etsy sustainable include optimizing its seller services. On Oct. 5, Dickerson announced on Twitter Etsy sellers now have the ability to manage advertising off-Etsy in Google Shopping and on Etsy in a new advertising dashboard. Analyst Aaron Turner said he expects to see active seller growth as Etsy amps up its other seller services —which account for more than half of the company’s revenue in 2015—such as shipping label tools and its partnerships with website builder Pattern, access to Intuit’s. (NASDAQ:INTU) and QuickBooks accounting software.
“This is Etsy’s way to make the selling process easier and help sellers make more money and be more successful,” Turner said.