cindylouwho2
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Etsy 1st Quarter 2019 Financial Results: Site Sales Up 18.9% to $1 billion

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Etsy just released its financial results for 2019's first quarter (Jan. to Mar.) - here are the highlights:

Marketplace sales up 18.9% over the 1st quarter 2018 to $1.02 billion.

Etsy's own revenue up 40.1%, with marketplace revenue ($126.1 million) up more than seller services revenue ($42.1 million). The vast majority of Etsy's gross revenue was from marketplace sales & associated fees. 

Etsy's net income was $31.6 million, up a whopping 143.5% from 2018.

 

Press release here: https://investors.etsy.com/press-releases/press-release-details/2019/Etsy-Inc-Reports-First-Quarter-...

The investor phone call starts at 5pm ET; I will try to listen in & post highlights afterwards. A transcript of that call will eventually be posted here: https://seekingalpha.com/symbol/ETSY?news=transcripts  and usually elsewhere, within the next 48 hours. 

Early news coverage is positive, as they beat projections [although some analysts had higher projected revenue, if I recall correctly] & raised their own revenue projections for the rest of the year, slightly: https://news.alphastreet.com/etsy-stock-earnings-q1-2019-report/

 

Other highlights: 

  • they emphasize that they slowed their advertising in the first quarter to analyze results [which may explain why the net income is up while growth slowed]
  • non-US sales were 38% of marketplace sales overall
  • active buyers still grew 18.3%; active sellers grew 13% [remember, an active member has had a transaction or Etsy charge in the past 12 months, so this counts shops that have closed permanently during the past year]
  • mobile sales now account for 58% of all marketplaces sales, up 4% from the 1st quarter 2018. 
  • the press release claims they have added item price into the search algorithm, but be aware that this could be one of those forward-looking statements that hasn't really happened yet. It also does not automatically mean that a lower-priced item ranks higher; we'll have to see how they explain that in the call. EDIT: Still listening to the call, but Silverman said it is about sometimes showing higher priced items in some searches. e.g. "wedding dress" should show dresses, not hangers; price is one way to help with that. 

 

I will mark any key updates as "solutions" so the posts will be highlighted.

 

My previous threads on quarterly results, for comparison:

4th Q 2018

3rd Q 2018

2nd Q 2018

1st Q 2018

4th Q 2017

3rd Q 2017

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cindylouwho2
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Re: Etsy 1st Quarter 2019 Financial Results: Site Sales Up 18.9% to $1 billion

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ok, I will have to wait til tomorrow to finalize my summary because it's hard to get all the numbers right from a phone call. The transcript is usually up at the end of the night. 

First, here are the slides that go with the phone presentation: https://s22.q4cdn.com/941741262/files/doc_financials/quarterly/2019/Q1/Etsy-1Q-2019-Earnings-Present...

Second, some news coverage. As I posted above, some analysts predicted a slightly higher revenue number. That may explain the stock being down after hours, although these things tend to fluctuate each time. 

https://www.zdnet.com/article/etsy-q1-revenue-misses-expectations/

https://www.investors.com/news/technology/etsy-earnings-etsy-stock-q1-2019/

 

now, on to the comments on search. Since adding conversion rates to the algorithm, some searches showed more items with lower prices, given that lower-priced items tend to sell more often on average. Their goal is now to show more of a range of prices, in part by using the total sales amount as a factor. The example given was that a search for "wedding dress" should not include things like wedding dress hangers at the top, and showing more high-priced items can help correct that. Slide 6 also shows gold rings. The first test they ran in this area resulted in a higher conversion rate, so they will be doing more work on this. Showing a wider variety of prices, & higher prices overall in many searches, contributes to "brand elevation", meaning that people are less likely to think of Etsy as a place to get cheap stuff, and are more likely to think of it as a place to buy quality items. 

 

other snippets:

  • they were able to increase sales in the UK solely by changing the word "shipping" to "delivery", which is more commonly used there. Other plans for upgrading the language/translation on French and German searches, including the indexing, are underway. 
  • they feel the recommendation algorithm has improved, & is leading to more sales
  • shipping - their goal is to reset buyer perceptions of Etsy shipping prices being too high, & educating sellers on how to think of shipping as just another business expense you need to roll into your product prices. [I agree that they really did a poor job of conveying that message from the beginning, and are still only showing moderate improvements there, IMO]
  • as previously mentioned, they reduced their various ad spending in the quarter to better analyze how effective each type is. They have now resumed normal spending and are applying what they learned, & will continue to increase it throughout the year. 
  • the new TV ads in the US are showing nationally and on some digital channels. The previous ads did seem to increase awareness & positive opinions of Etsy
  • everyone kept hammering on the idea that many people know about Etsy, but don't know how often they should think of coming here to shop. Efforts to increase the number of occasions that buyers want to shop here are continuing. 
  • sales in non-US countries continue to be the fastest growing portion of gross marketplace sales (GMS). US buyers purchasing from non-US sellers is the second-fastest growing slice. 
  • roughly 85% of items on Etsy are listed in USD
  • 83% of GMS come from repeat buyers, but some don't come back for several years at a time. Increasing frequency is a big goal, & this continues to improve. 
  • they don't fully understand why the year started so slow but picked up well near the end of the quarter. Cutting ads may have been a factor, and outside factors such as US tax returns were mentioned as well. 
  • the move to the cloud continues; search is now being served from there. They are ahead of schedule but over budget, & will not be finished until 2020
  • international sellers are growing at a faster rate than US. They see most non-US markets as still needing more items listed here. 

 

I may not have more to post til tomorrow when I can read over the transcript and correct any errors or omissions. If I see any better news stories, though, I will definitely add them. 

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LadyVagaschon
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Re: Etsy 1st Quarter 2019 Financial Results: Site Sales Up 18.9% to $1 billion

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cindylouwho2
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Re: Etsy 1st Quarter 2019 Financial Results: Site Sales Up 18.9% to $1 billion

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Ok here is what will likely be my final update, with more details from the transcript, & news coverage. I will post again if I learn anything new, or if I find better articles. 

 

  • UK sellers pointed out that Etsy using "delivery" instead of shipping makes buyers think that their product will be delivered in that time frame, instead of mailed within that time frame - discussion starts here: https://community.etsy.com/t5/Pricing-and-Finance/Etsy-1st-Quarter-2019-Financial-Results-Site-Sales...    So while it may have led to more sales, it also may have led to unrealistic expectations. I strongly suggest all UK members concerned about this, especially if you have had a problem with buyers complaining about not receiving their order soon enough, contact Etsy with this complaint, links to definitions etc. Since they made a public statement about it, they may be more interested in fixing this than they were with the "VAT included" statements. 
  • as other posters have mentioned, Etsy ran more experiments than ever this quarter, which the CEO credits with improving the conversion rates in Feb. & March. The move to the cloud has allowed them to accelerate the testing rate. 
  • the cloud capacity will lead to more personalization on various pages [not necessarily search, though - they avoided saying much on that topic. So 10 years after Rob Kalin said that personalizing search was a big goal, we still aren't really seeing it]
  • the conversion rate increased once the carbon neutral shipping message appeared at checkout. 90% of Etsy's customers say environmental sustainability is important to them. 

 

Some news updates below (nothing really detailed; lots of stock reports, mostly)

https://www.fool.com/investing/2019/05/09/etsy-earnings-revenue-growth-decelerates.aspx

https://realmoney.thestreet.com/investing/stocks/etsy-tumbles-post-earnings-as-investors-expected-mo...

""We see somewhat of a dichotomy with Etsy at the moment. On one hand a new management team has come in and done a remarkable job turning around a challenged business model, has made meaningful product improvements that reaccelerated sales on the site and implemented the first price increase in the company's history," Arounian said. "On the other hand we still see a long-term demand constraint on this two-sided marketplace as we believe a craft marketplace, while having value, is a difficult one to truly move buyers to visit more frequently." ..."The Wall Street consensus on Etsy stock among analysts publishing research is split down the middle between "Neutral" and "Buy" as they argue about the shares' valuation upside."

https://www.thestreet.com/investing/earnings/etsy-shares-slump-after-light-q1-revenue-modest-2019-gu...

https://www.pymnts.com/news/retail/2019/etsy-marketplace-q1-earnings-buyers-sellers/

https://www.zacks.com/stock/news/411288/etsy-etsy-tops-q1-earnings-and-revenue-estimates

 

I do want to add that a few news articles state that Etsy stock is down due to a combination of the quarterly report and the lawsuit over a child's death, but since the stock was rising continually yesterday (on a day when the overall market dropped) until the numbers came out, I don't think the latter is having any significant impact on the stock movement. 

 

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cindylouwho2
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Re: Etsy 1st Quarter 2019 Financial Results: Site Sales Up 18.9% to $1 billion

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A bit more news coverage:

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/09/etsy-ceo-shrugs-off-rocky-start-to-q1-we-feel-really-good.html

"The U.S. produces more products today than it ever has, he said, but robots are doing most of the work. That puts Etsy in a good position because "creativity can't be automated," he said."

Discussion of the ad testing that may have led to a slightly lower 1st Q than some analysts expected: https://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/etsy-ramps-marketing-reversal-after-pullback/2170546

detailed stock analysis: https://realmoney.thestreet.com/investing/etsy-could-tumble-further-in-the-weeks-ahead-play-defense-...

 

Also, I want to say I am a little surprised at the disbelief that changing one word on a page could impact conversions. I completely understand the complaint about how Etsy chose the wrong word; as some pointed out, that may have increased conversions by being misleading. But it is common knowledge in ecommerce that tiny changes to landing pages & checkout pages, such as a slight variation in the colour of the "add to cart" button, can lead to better conversions. Words, colours, styles, fonts, images, layouts etc. can all have connotations for at least a slice of the population. 

That's why Etsy tests these things all the time - they actually matter. If you have your own website & are not happy with your sales, this is something you should always be working on. If you are happy with your sales, then this is something you should tuck away for the day when you suddenly are not happy with your sales. These incremental gains are a big part of an established website's growth plans. 

Think about it - if Etsy made a change site-wide, in all countries, that led to a one-tenth of one percent increase in conversions (1 in 1,000), that would likely mean $1 million more in sales last quarter alone. Etsy missed the industry projections for revenue last quarter by less than $1 million, and the stock tanked 10% on Thursday. Consequences. 

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cindylouwho2
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Re: Etsy 1st Quarter 2019 Financial Results: Site Sales Up 18.9% to $1 billion

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Etsy did include some of these points in a post today: https://www.etsy.com/seller-handbook/article/build-your-best-business-with-etsy/505307998771 (note they are using adjusted figures in some cases, taking currency fluctuations into account, which is why they may be different than the numbers in my OP) It includes a link to one of the TV commercials. 

@LandandSeaGems  started a thread on the mention of "consistent shipping prices across Etsy" here: https://community.etsy.com/t5/All-About-Shipping/Are-you-ready-for-this-CONSISTENT-SHIPPING-PRICES-A... if you want to discuss that specific point. 

and here is an article which covers some of the cloud & search info from the call, with a little bit of added info: https://www.wsj.com/articles/etsy-taps-google-cloud-to-improve-search-juicing-sales-11557785830

Finally, an analysis of the stock drop, which is of course being affected by market trends in the past few days: https://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2019/05/14/etsy-stock-could-return-to-record-highs-ne...

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cindylouwho2
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Re: Etsy 1st Quarter 2019 Financial Results: Site Sales Up 18.9% to $1 billion

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For those concerned, the exact line about search is: "We improved search relevance by incorporating the item price as one of the many factors that impact listing prominence."  As I said above, we will have to wait to learn more about what that means; it doesn't automatically mean that higher-priced items will not rank as high. [my guess would be this at least partially depends on several other factors such as account personalization, time of day, location etc. But for the moment, we are all just guessing]

 

EDIT: Still listening to the call, but Silverman said it is about sometimes showing higher priced items in some searches. e.g. "wedding dress" should show dresses, not hangers; price is one way to help with that. 

The slides for this presentation are here:

https://s22.q4cdn.com/941741262/files/doc_financials/quarterly/2019/Q1/Etsy-1Q-2019-Earnings-Present...

slide 6 shows the search comments. 

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SeasideRoseCreations
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Re: Etsy 1st Quarter 2019 Financial Results: Site Sales Up 18.9% to $1 billion

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Interesting.  I hope they really elaborate on this.  Have this info handy can really help with many of the "why have my sales dried up" threads.

Thanks for the rehash, Cindy!

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cindylouwho2
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Re: Etsy 1st Quarter 2019 Financial Results: Site Sales Up 18.9% to $1 billion

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You are welcome! Yes, I find all the details quite enlightening. 

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FabulouslyHomemade
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Re: Etsy 1st Quarter 2019 Financial Results: Site Sales Up 18.9% to $1 billion

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Very interesting stats....as always, thank you cindylouwho2 for keeping us all informed.  :)

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LandandSeaGems
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Re: Etsy 1st Quarter 2019 Financial Results: Site Sales Up 18.9% to $1 billion

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I read the report and that comment about price is curious. Hope they include more info. 

“Product experiment velocity increased to an all-time high during the first quarter.”  No kidding!!!

“We began serving our search traffic from Google Cloud,..” .....I wonder if this has any effect on search results. 

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RustyCrustyRepurpose
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Re: Etsy 1st Quarter 2019 Financial Results: Site Sales Up 18.9% to $1 billion

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I have started to get several buyers from Google and a few from Yahoo

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ColoredInStone
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Re: Etsy 1st Quarter 2019 Financial Results: Site Sales Up 18.9% to $1 billion

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Etsy is in a sweet spot as online sales explode across the board. Even bad performing Brick & Mortar stores are reporting fantastic online growth even though their business models are suffering. Retail analysts say that the rapid growth in ecommerce expansion is expected to continue for a couple of years until most consumers finally convert to online spending. 

So yes, Etsys' earnings report is good, however, not much different from other growing online e-tailers. 

The proof will be when online sales growth begin to slow...can Etsy keep it's customers?...will customers return to Etsy? Time will tell. 

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cindylouwho2
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Re: Etsy 1st Quarter 2019 Financial Results: Site Sales Up 18.9% to $1 billion

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ok, I will have to wait til tomorrow to finalize my summary because it's hard to get all the numbers right from a phone call. The transcript is usually up at the end of the night. 

First, here are the slides that go with the phone presentation: https://s22.q4cdn.com/941741262/files/doc_financials/quarterly/2019/Q1/Etsy-1Q-2019-Earnings-Present...

Second, some news coverage. As I posted above, some analysts predicted a slightly higher revenue number. That may explain the stock being down after hours, although these things tend to fluctuate each time. 

https://www.zdnet.com/article/etsy-q1-revenue-misses-expectations/

https://www.investors.com/news/technology/etsy-earnings-etsy-stock-q1-2019/

 

now, on to the comments on search. Since adding conversion rates to the algorithm, some searches showed more items with lower prices, given that lower-priced items tend to sell more often on average. Their goal is now to show more of a range of prices, in part by using the total sales amount as a factor. The example given was that a search for "wedding dress" should not include things like wedding dress hangers at the top, and showing more high-priced items can help correct that. Slide 6 also shows gold rings. The first test they ran in this area resulted in a higher conversion rate, so they will be doing more work on this. Showing a wider variety of prices, & higher prices overall in many searches, contributes to "brand elevation", meaning that people are less likely to think of Etsy as a place to get cheap stuff, and are more likely to think of it as a place to buy quality items. 

 

other snippets:

  • they were able to increase sales in the UK solely by changing the word "shipping" to "delivery", which is more commonly used there. Other plans for upgrading the language/translation on French and German searches, including the indexing, are underway. 
  • they feel the recommendation algorithm has improved, & is leading to more sales
  • shipping - their goal is to reset buyer perceptions of Etsy shipping prices being too high, & educating sellers on how to think of shipping as just another business expense you need to roll into your product prices. [I agree that they really did a poor job of conveying that message from the beginning, and are still only showing moderate improvements there, IMO]
  • as previously mentioned, they reduced their various ad spending in the quarter to better analyze how effective each type is. They have now resumed normal spending and are applying what they learned, & will continue to increase it throughout the year. 
  • the new TV ads in the US are showing nationally and on some digital channels. The previous ads did seem to increase awareness & positive opinions of Etsy
  • everyone kept hammering on the idea that many people know about Etsy, but don't know how often they should think of coming here to shop. Efforts to increase the number of occasions that buyers want to shop here are continuing. 
  • sales in non-US countries continue to be the fastest growing portion of gross marketplace sales (GMS). US buyers purchasing from non-US sellers is the second-fastest growing slice. 
  • roughly 85% of items on Etsy are listed in USD
  • 83% of GMS come from repeat buyers, but some don't come back for several years at a time. Increasing frequency is a big goal, & this continues to improve. 
  • they don't fully understand why the year started so slow but picked up well near the end of the quarter. Cutting ads may have been a factor, and outside factors such as US tax returns were mentioned as well. 
  • the move to the cloud continues; search is now being served from there. They are ahead of schedule but over budget, & will not be finished until 2020
  • international sellers are growing at a faster rate than US. They see most non-US markets as still needing more items listed here. 

 

I may not have more to post til tomorrow when I can read over the transcript and correct any errors or omissions. If I see any better news stories, though, I will definitely add them. 

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ForgetMeNotTwo
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Re: Etsy 1st Quarter 2019 Financial Results: Site Sales Up 18.9% to $1 billion

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Thanks!

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swagbagsplus
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Re: Etsy 1st Quarter 2019 Financial Results: Site Sales Up 18.9% to $1 billion

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VVEEEERRRY interesting! Will take a couple of readings to absorb... But I was jazzed to see 2 etsy commercials with a "View" segment featuring etsy products just this morning.

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carolinagirlz2
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Re: Etsy 1st Quarter 2019 Financial Results: Site Sales Up 18.9% to $1 billion

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Holy wow, cindylouwho2, your posts rock.  There is already so much information here, before the official transcipt.

Most noteably:

Adjusted EBITA margin for this period did not change year over year, despite the increase in seller fees.

On July 16, 2018, Etsy increased our seller transaction fee from 3.5% to 5%, and now apply it to the cost of
shipping in addition to the cost of the item.  And the adjusted EBITA did not change. This speaks volumes.

Operating expenses increased $20,000 from same prior period.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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cindylouwho2
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Re: Etsy 1st Quarter 2019 Financial Results: Site Sales Up 18.9% to $1 billion

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It will be interesting to see what the real analysts have to say once they dig in further. 

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RustyCrustyRepurpose
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Re: Etsy 1st Quarter 2019 Financial Results: Site Sales Up 18.9% to $1 billion

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@cindylouwho2 Thanks for doing this for us.  Great info.

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CursinginCode
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Re: Etsy 1st Quarter 2019 Financial Results: Site Sales Up 18.9% to $1 billion

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Thank you for providing this! Look forward to hearing more after you finish reading.

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StinsonPaperCompany
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Re: Etsy 1st Quarter 2019 Financial Results: Site Sales Up 18.9% to $1 billion

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Thanks for this, Cindy!

The television ads I've seen have been really well done.  It's good to hear they have plans to continue them.

As for price being a factor in search, I suspected they added it to the algorithm early last summer (though the support team dissembled and denied when I asked).

 

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cindylouwho2
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Re: Etsy 1st Quarter 2019 Financial Results: Site Sales Up 18.9% to $1 billion

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@StinsonPaperCompany  You are welcome! 

You saw evidence of more price variety & more expensive items at the top of search last summer?  (feel free to convo or email if you don't want to go into the evidence here) Who did you ask, & when?

The revelation about more price variety seems to explain a few things I saw in the past few months, but there are so many factors in the algorithm now that it becomes increasingly difficult to isolate cause & effect on something like this. I had previously tried to explain to folks that price wasn't a direct factor, but making sales history a factor inadvertently made cheaper items rank higher in some searches, so it was nice to see the CEO acknowledge that is what had happened. 

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StinsonPaperCompany
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Re: Etsy 1st Quarter 2019 Financial Results: Site Sales Up 18.9% to $1 billion

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@cindylouwho2

Last summer, mid June, my top search terms disappeared from stats and all of my items were pushed way back in the search results.  It was a sudden change.  When I emailed support for help, they replied with a canned response that was not helpful - change titles and tags, add new items, invest in promoted listings, run a sale, yada yada. There were a number of other sellers coming to the forums at the same time with the same concerns, and these were people I'd never seen complain about low sales before.  So I started to analyze the results not just for my products but for twenty or thirty (mostly new and random) searches as well as items from sellers experiencing the same problem.

No matter what I searched for the results were the same.  For the first five or six pages, 70-80% of the items per page were lower priced items while 20-30% were higher priced items.  After a few pages, the percentages would start to even out.  This was a new development.  I emailed support a lengthy letter of my findings and directly asked if price was now a factor of search, because if it was I'd need to make some changes.  Their short, clipped reply was that the results were organic price clustering.  How organice price clustering can happen so quickly, and be so mathematically consistent, is a real mystery!

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cindylouwho2
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Re: Etsy 1st Quarter 2019 Financial Results: Site Sales Up 18.9% to $1 billion

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@StinsonPaperCompany   ok, so that isn't what they were talking about here, then. That was the effect of increasing the conversion rate factor that they are actually trying to counter with this recent testing of adding higher prices in.

I tested price changing last summer & fall & saw no change from lower or higher prices; it wasn't a direct factor. 

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MinnieMaudsAttic
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Re: Etsy 1st Quarter 2019 Financial Results: Site Sales Up 18.9% to $1 billion

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As a UK seller, I found the point about sales increasing as a result of simply changing the word 'shipping' to 'delivery' very interesting.  

It's a lesson that Etsy needed to learn - if you want to sell to a particular overseas market, you have to be less US-centric. A good start would be to have properly-staffed offices in countries where it wants to expand with people who understand the culture and language of those countries.

Thanks to CindyLou for the information.

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cindylouwho2
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Re: Etsy 1st Quarter 2019 Financial Results: Site Sales Up 18.9% to $1 billion

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@MinnieMaudsAttic  you are welcome! 

Yes, it is something you would think would have been prioritised far before now. They know that tiny changes can add up, as that is the whole philosophy behind their rapid experiment regime, but they often seem to avoid the obvious changes like this. I hope they report the results of the French & German indexing/translation too. I also hope they'll care about Canadians some day LOL

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TwiLdCapitHog
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Re: Etsy 1st Quarter 2019 Financial Results: Site Sales Up 18.9% to $1 billion

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My processing time is not about delivery date, so I for one think much more thought needs to be put into the terminology. "Shipping" and Delivery" mean entirely different things no matter which country you live in. "Dispatched" would be the right term.

If your processing time is 2 – 3 days, changing “shipping within 2 – 3 days” to “delivery within 2 – 3 days” for UK sellers will create a lot of confusion and unhappy customers.

I’m not surprised sales increased along with sellers stress levels.

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JosephFells
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Re: Etsy 1st Quarter 2019 Financial Results: Site Sales Up 18.9% to $1 billion

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I've always hated the term "shipping" (UK seller also) because it makes absolutely no sense! I'm all for using American terminology when it makes sense.

I agree with @TwiLdCapitHog that we should be using the word "dispatched" when we mean when we, we... dispatch it. Delivery or post implies when it arrives, shipping is ambiguous - I guess it's coming by sea?? :P Because surely even US buyers understand "dispatch" as terminology and then it's VERY clear what's going on.

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ZehOriginalArt
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Re: Etsy 1st Quarter 2019 Financial Results: Site Sales Up 18.9% to $1 billion

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@JosephFells 

Because surely even US buyers understand "dispatch" as terminology and then it's VERY clear what's going on.

But in the US, we really do not use the term "dispatch" to mean sending out an order by mail or courier. I cannot think of any instance when we do, so it might actually be confusing to some US buyers. We use "ship" but I can see how that could be confusing in other countries where it implies going by boat.

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LandandSeaGems
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Re: Etsy 1st Quarter 2019 Financial Results: Site Sales Up 18.9% to $1 billion

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@JosephFells  @ZehOriginalArt 

In the US, dispatched can mean the order has been sent to a fulfillment warehouse where the merchandise for the order is kept. It is not shipped yet. 

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