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Alibaba reaches 334 million shoppers who spent $126 billion in Q4


February.02.2015 0 Comments

alibabaAlibaba’s Q4 2014 earnings report – its second financial release since its huge IPO – just came out.

Firstly, here are the ecommerce-related bits:

  • Taobao marketplace reached RMB 494 billion (US$79.3 billion) in gross merchandise volume (GMV), which basically shows how much people spent on the ecommerce site. That’s up 43 percent from the same period in 2013.
  • Sister site Tmall hit RMB 293 billion (US$47 billion) in GMV, up 60 percent from 12 months ago.
  • In total, Alibaba’s China estores saw RMB 787 billion (US$126.4 billion) in spending (GMV) in Q4, which is up 49 percent from the same period a year before.
  • Annual active buyers on Taobao and Tmall grew to 334 million, up from 231 million the year before. That’s more than the population of the US

Here’s what all that expenditure looks like relative to its number of active shoppers:

Alibaba reaches 334 million shoppers who spent $126 billion in Q4

China’s entire ecommerce market totaled US$315.75 billion in spending in 2013, according to eMarketer, and then grew to reach US$426.26 billion in 2014. But Alibaba’s figures suggest that data errs on the side of being conservative.

Alibaba, which already dominates ecommerce in China, attributed the growth to “an increase in the number of active buyers and also partially attributable to category expansion, for example, auction transactions.”

Mobile spending explodes

Turning to mobile spending on Alibaba’s sites:

  • Mobile expenditure (GMV) rocketed to RMB 327 billion (US$53 billion) in Q4, up 213 percent annually.
  • Mobile GMV accounted for 42 percent of total GMV in Q4 2014, compared to 20 percent in Q4 2013.
  • Mobile monthly active users (MAUs) grew to 265 million, which nearly doubled from the 136 million figure 12 months prior.

Alibaba reaches 334 million shoppers who spent $126 billion in Q4

While more mobile spending sounds good in theory, it actually hurt Alibaba in terms of revenues. “The lower revenue growth relative to GMV growth was mainly a result of the higher percentage of total GMV contributed by mobile GMV, which has a lower monetization rate compared to the non-mobile monetization rate,” explains the company’s report.

Profits down

Things are more mixed on the financials front. Although the ecommerce numbers increased, Alibaba missed analyst expectations on revenue. On the plus side, it beat expectations on earnings per share. Here are the raw numbers:

  • Overall Alibaba Q4 revenues reached RMB 26.18 billion (US$4.22 billion), up 40 percent year-on-year.
  • Of that total, revenues from the China estores hit RMB 23.1 billion (US$3.43 billion).
  • Mobile-based revenue rocketed 448 percent to RMB 6.4 billion (US$1 billion).
  • Net income for the quarter grew to RMB 5.98 billion (US$964 million), down 28 percent from the year prior.

Alibaba explained the drop in profits as caused by a $134 million “one-time charge for financing-related fees as a result of the early repayment of our US$8 billion bank borrowings,” and also due to an increase in share-based compensation expense.