Special Feature
Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Coronavirus: Business and technology in a pandemic

Etsy Q3 revenue more than doubles amidst rush to buy face masks

New buyers are buying more in return visits, including more face masks.

Online marketplace Etsy this afternoon reported third-quarter results that beat Wall Street's expectations for revenue and profit, and forecast this quarter higher as well, as many new customers stocked up on face masks. 

CEO Josh Silverman called the results "strong," noting that the gross merchandise sales on Etsy, the total value of goods transacted, more than doubled from the prior-year period, to $2.63 billion.

Of that merchandise total, 11%, $289 million, was mask sales.

Revenue in the three months ended in September rose 128%, year over year, to $451.8 million, yielding EPS of 70 cents, topping the average estimate for $412 million and 60 cents. 

For the current quarter, the company sees revenue in a range of $459 million to $513 million, above the consensus for $437 million.

Active sellers on the platform rose by 42% to 3.7 million, while active buyers rose by 55.4% to 69.6 million.

Silverman remarked that "consumer shopping habits have been greatly influenced by the events of 2020," adding that "Etsy truly stands for something different."

The company, added Silverman, has made "incremental" investments in its products and marketing relating to search and frequency that "are driving improvements in the customer experience."

Etsy noted a rush of new customers buying face masks on the site. "New buyers in the second quarter of 2020 whose first purchase on Etsy was a face mask are similarly valuable in GMS [gross merchandise sales] per buyer in terms of subsequent 90-day purchases, although they are primarily returning to Etsy to buy more face masks."

Etsy noted its most intense buyers have been more than doubling their spend in the past year:

In the third quarter, the Etsy marketplace delivered 9.6 million new buyers and 5.2 million reactivated buyers who have not purchased in a year or more. Habitual buyers, buyers with 6 or more purchase days and over $200 in spend in the trailing 12-months, grew 104%, outpacing overall active buyer growth, and repeat buyers, buyers with 2 or more purchase days in the trailing 12-months, grew 70% in the third quarter.

Despite the beat, Etsy shares are down slightly in late trading at $139.50.