Market Overview

Service Providers Reap the Benefits of a Growing E-commerce Marketplace

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NEW YORK, Sept. 13, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The broad retail industry is by far the largest market in the world, serving billions of individuals each year. Look a little closer and the industry is split into a multitude of different sectors. For instance, the largest sectors include food, apparel, furniture, and jewelry. At the inception of the retail industry, it was predominantly based in brick-and-mortar locations. And even today, brick-and-mortar locations are still widely popular among consumers. However, with the emergence of the digital age, e-commerce retailers have begun to disrupt the retail marketspace en masse. In fact, the rise of e-commerce has created a comfortable and convenient option for consumers to purchase products, as they can simply browse an e-commerce platform and purchase a product in the comfort of their homes. Overall, many retailers tend to focus on one specific sector of the industry, however, a few large corporations have managed to commercialize hundreds of different sectors onto one platform. On the other hand, some retailers base their products accordingly to economic trends or seasonal items. For example, clothing retailers sell apparel that correlates with the season, while some restaurants tend to have seasonal menus which feature produce popular within the particular season. Moreover, consumer cyclicals base their operations heavily on economic conditions. To note, some consumer cyclicals may change their product line frequently depending on economic conditions, but others may maintain an inexpensive portfolio of products in case a recession occurs. Nonetheless, the overall retail industry is a booming market that is expected to steadily grow due to the collective global consumer demand. Furthermore, according to Mordor Intelligence, the global retail industry was valued at USD 23.46 Trillion in 2017. And by 2023, the industry is expected to reach USD 31.88 Trillion while accelerating at a CAGR of 5.3% during the forecast period from 2018 to 2023. Edison Nation, Inc. (NASDAQ: EDNT), eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY), Etsy, Inc. (NASDAQ:ETSY), JD.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:JD), Pinduoduo Inc. (NASDAQ:PDD).

Following the expansion of the retail industry, the marketplace has become highly competitive. A select few corporations thrive among the competition, and consequently, many businesses ultimately go out of business. However, service providers have entered into the retail marketspace to help further promote specific brands or businesses. For example, retail marketing agencies work towards identifying a popular product in the market. Afterward, agencies redefine the shopping experience and engage consumers in innovative ways. Nowadays, standing out among the competition is the key to a successful business in the retail marketplace. And competitors need to be able to outshine hundreds of thousands of other businesses around that may offer the same exact model. "As a business, it is essential for you to maintain your position in the market and stay ahead of your competitors," said Guy Sheetrit, Chief Executive Officer of Over The Top SEO. "Competition exists in every market. Smarter companies nullify the effect of competitors in order to stay ahead in the business."

Edison Nation, Inc. (NASDAQ: EDNT) announced earlier in August that, "After combining forces with Xspand Products Lab in 2018, Edison Nation has grown into one of the most trusted marketplaces for inventors around the world by creating a platform where inventors can confidentially share ideas and shift the burdensome development and monetization processes to the Edison Nation team. And, that's good news for inventors, who will be able to seize upon opportunities that can create financial value from recognizing market potentials.

From the investor side, Edison Nation is trading below its most recent highs despite posting a 36% increase in revenue and a more than 61% rise in gross profit. During the first half of 2019, Edison Nation achieved significant revenue growth of 49.7%, to $11.7 million, driven by the continued success of its IP and the scale of its consumer brands. The Edison Nation continues to aggressively source innovative ideas via its proprietary Edison Nation Innovation Platform, which selects the 'best-of-the-best' inventions utilizing proprietary algorithms, and brings them to market quickly. Edison Nation's intellectual property, media, and consumer product launch engine will continue to drive growth in 2019 and beyond.

Inventors and innovators also have reasons to laud the value of Edison Nation, especially those that want to avoid the struggles faced when trying to bring a new product to market on their own. Further, the Edison Nation team also helps many inventors to realize that beyond their gift for concept development, they may ultimately find it difficult to maneuver the complicated landscape of turning prototypes into a market penetrating product. But, the good news is that Edison Nation has a plan for them.

Inventors Let Edison Nation Take The Burden

Since 2008, inventors have recognized that Edison Nation can bring layers of value to their projects. And, while some understand the process, new Edison Nation community members are embracing the learning curve that teaches them exactly how Edison Nation can leverage their more than 100 years of combined experience to bring value to their ideas. Further, Edison Nation believes that every great idea deserves a chance. Today, Edison Nation offers inventors the opportunity to unlock new opportunities by providing an abundance of resources that can take an idea and turn it into a successful and profitable product. Examples of these resources include:

  • Innovative online platform/Entrepreneur Partnership
  • "Everyday Edisons" Emmy and Telly award-winning PBS channel show
  • Edison Academy
  • Edison's Design Challenge

For existing products, Edison Nation provides resources and value by strengthening patent protection, developing new distribution channels, and leveraging its market stature through established agreements with many of the world's top brands, companies, and manufacturers.

Edison Nation And Xspand Products Lab Combine For 100 Years Of Market Experience

The strategic combination of Xspand Products Lab and Edison Nation was transacted in 2018. At that time, Xspand was already a proven, full-service product development, manufacturing, and distribution company that engaged with clients to provide all-in-one solutions to bring ideas to market.

The newly combined Edison Nation team brings its expertise to an online marketplace designed to bring innovators and innovation-hungry companies together. Like Xspand, Edison Nation functions as an "innovation engine", using its Live Product Search tool that enables an interactive product listing between industry and the inventor to help expedite the review and development process. The process is not overly complicated for inventor members, either. In general, ideas are analyzed and reviewed by the team at Edison Nation, with the best ideas and designs getting forwarded to industry partners for further review. Community generated ideas that are not selected will still become part of Edison Nation's IP portfolio, adding extra value to the company's asset base. And, to motivate community contributions, inventors are potentially compensated and incentivized to contribute to the Edison Nation platform, knowing that their chances for marketing success can get significantly heightened through the association.

Moreover, the Edison Nation platform is in growth mode. In fact, since its inception, Edison Nation has received more than 100,000 idea submissions and has generated product sales above $250 million at retail through the development and management of over 300 campaigns in their marketplace for clients. The client list is top-tier and includes some of the world's largest manufacturers and retailers, including Amazon, Bed Bath and Beyond, Walmart, Rite Aid, Proctor&Gamble, and more.

Currently, the Edison Nation platform has a community of more than 200,000 innovators that confidentially submit ideas via the company's online platform. From this community, Edison Nation reviews and selects the most suitable projects for development, determined by the intellectual property value as well as by the practicality of the idea. From this vast community, Edison Nation generates revenue of between $25 - $100 per submission that is used to cover program fees and cost related to review. Edison Nation also makes its open innovation platform available to its members, which enables inventors from around the world to submit ideas for potential consumer products.

The robust platform is attracting attention. And, this year, in particular, has been strong for the company, marked by significant operational highlights.

Notable 2019 Operational Highlights

  • Launched exclusive new products for its theme park and entertainment customers, including Disney Parks and Resorts and Universal Studios including; Avatar Light Up Wood Sprite and Star Wars Baton and Shield Set for Disney Parks and Resorts; A Monsters Inc. interactive flashlight for Tokyo Disney; and a Jimmy Fallon microphone for Universal Resorts.
  • Licensed Ezy Dose Medi-Spout pill assist cap to Apothecary Products, a global leader in consumer wellness products. It is the second product licensed by Apothecary Products from Edison Nation's innovator community in what is an enhanced effort to license Edison community ideas to established brand partners.
  • Edison's Innovation Platform sources product ideas from an organically grown community of 200,000+. Coming First Quarter of 2020, a mobile application will serve to facilitate further platform engagement.
  • Return of Emmy award-winning TV show, "Everyday Edisons" with a February 11, 2020 premier - Thomas Edison's birthday - on a leading SVOD. This show is an inspirational reality TV series produced under license by Edison Nation, which chronicles the stories of first-time inventors as they launch their unique products into the marketplace in conjunction with the Edison Nation Online Innovation Platform. "Everyday Edisons" is produced by six-time Emmy Award-winning producer Michael Cable.
  • Developed the Edison Academy, inventor centric master classes, teaching the fundamentals of product development and inventing. The Academy serves as a resource to provide ongoing value to the organically grown Edison community of 200,000+, while captivating prospective inventors previously disengaged from Edison Nation. This initiative creates revenue opportunities in the form of recurring monthly and annual subscription fees.
  • Expanded their Online Innovation Platform with the "Edison's Design Challenge" that will encourage members of the innovation community to contribute to the design and innovation of products already in Edison Nation's product launch pipeline.
  • Expanded the Edison Online Innovation Platform with its Entrepreneur Partnership. The Entrepreneur Partnership is an opportunity for brands to further leverage Edison Nation's inventor community and proprietary range of services to launch new products or scale additional product line.

A Strategy For Growth Is Set To Deliver Results

More than just products and idea cultivation, Edison Nation has a detailed growth strategy to deliver intended results. The company recently announced the return of its Emmy and Telly award-winning show "Everyday Edisons", a show that features inventors that are trying to launch inventions into the marketplace. The company is also planning to launch its mobile app version of the Idea Submission Platform during the first quarter of 2020.

To develop product sales opportunities, Edison Nation is focused on launching at least six products per quarter. To complement the product launches, the company is also in the market to purchase up to three new brands per year, will integrate efficiencies for post-merger and brand acquisitions, and is already building out the economy of scale models from its increased attention to product launches.

In addition to the planned product launches, Edison Nation can leverage its cloud-based platform to expertly navigate Big Data and make efficient use of Google and Amazon advertising services to target new products to the right market. Further, Edison Nation and Xspand have the combined experience through their years of industry presence to benefit from a robust platform that differentiates their service from the competition."

For our latest "Buzz on the Street" Show featuring Edison Nation, Inc. recent corporate news, please head over to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EktLaleMUrw

eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY) is a global commerce leader including the Marketplace, StubHub and Classifieds platforms. eBay Inc. recently delivered revenue for the quarter ended June 30th, 2019 of USD 2.7 Billion, increasing 2% on an as-reported basis and 4% on a foreign exchange (FX) neutral basis, primarily driven by gross merchandise volume (GMV) of USD 22.6 Billion, down 4% on an as-reported basis and flat on a FX-Neutral basis. During the quarter, eBay delivered GAAP net income from continuing operations of USD 403 Million, or USD 0.46 per diluted share and Non-GAAP net income from continuing operations of USD 589 Million, or USD 0.68 per diluted share. The company generated USD 744 Million of operating cash flow and USD 607 Million of free cash flow from continuing operations while also repurchasing approximately USD 1.5 Billion of its common stock and paying USD 120 Million in cash dividends in the quarter. "We remained focused on building our active buyer base, delivering outstanding customer experiences, and accelerating our growth initiatives in the second quarter," said Devin Wenig, President and Chief Executive Officer of eBay Inc. "Managed payments continues to exceed expectations, while first party advertising is providing significant benefits to sellers, and new features are making our marketplace easier to use."

Etsy, Inc. (NASDAQ:ETSY) is the global two-sided marketplace for unique and creative goods. Etsy, Inc. recently announced financial results for its second quarter ended June 30th, 2019. Total revenue was USD 181.1 Million for the second quarter of 2019, up 36.8% year-over-year, driven by growth in both Marketplace and Services revenue. Gross profit for the second quarter of 2019 was USD 122.5 Million, up 40.8% year-over-year, and gross margin was 67.6%, up 190 basis points compared with 65.7% in the second quarter of 2018. Gross margin in the second quarter of 2019 compared to gross margin last quarter of 68.9% contracted 130 basis points. The contraction in gross margin was primarily impacted by our on-going migration to the cloud, which we believe is a tailwind to our product development efforts. "Our excellent second quarter growth in revenue and GMS reflects solid execution across our portfolio of product and marketing investments and the strength of our core marketplace," said Josh Silverman, Etsy, Inc. Chief Executive Officer. "We are making great progress improving our product experience and marketing capabilities, and it is paying off.  In addition, we have a number of bold new initiatives which we believe will fuel our growth even further, including enhancing the shipping experience, helping our sellers better market and grow their businesses, and our planned acquisition of Reverb."

JD.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:JD) is a leading technology driven e-commerce company and retail infrastructure service provider in China. JD.com, Inc. recently announced its unaudited financial results for the quarter ended June 30th, 2019. Net revenues for the second quarter of 2019 were RMB 150.3 Billion (USD 21.9 Billion), an increase of 22.9% from the second quarter of 2018. Net service revenues for the second quarter of 2019 were RMB 16.8 Billion (USD 2.4 Billion), an increase of 42.0% from the second quarter of 2018. Income from operations for the second quarter of 2019 was RMB 2,266.6 Million (USD 330.2 Million), compared to loss from operations of RMB 1,033.9 Million for the same period last year. Non-GAAP income from operations for the second quarter of 2019 was RMB 3,217.5 Million (USD 468.7 Million) with a non-GAAP operating margin of 2.1%, as compared to RMB 113.2 Million in the second quarter of 2018 with a non-GAAP operating margin of 0.1%. "Highlighted by our successful June 18th anniversary sales event, JD's strong performance in the second quarter further demonstrated the resilience of our superior business model in a highly competitive industry," said Richard Liu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of JD.com. "JD's commitment to bringing users the best overall shopping experience continues to win over consumer mindshare. We will remain focused on leveraging technology and innovation to enhance our offerings, increase efficiency and drive shareholder value for the long term."

Pinduoduo Inc. (NASDAQ:PDD) is an innovative and fast growing "new e-commerce" platform that provides buyers with value-for-money merchandise and fun and interactive shopping experiences. Pinduoduo Inc. recently announced its unaudited financial results for the second quarter ended June 30th, 2019. GMV in the twelve-month period ended June 30th, 2019 was RMB 709.1 Billion (USD 103.3 Billion), an increase of 171% from RMB 262.1 Billion in the twelve-month period ended June 30th, 2018. Total revenues in the quarter were RMB 7,290.0 Million (USD 1,061.9 Million), an increase of 169% from RMB 2,709.0 million in the same quarter of 2018. Average monthly active users in the quarter were 366.0 million, an increase of 88% from 195.0 million in the same quarter of 2018. Active buyers in the twelve-month period ended June 30th, 2019 were 483.2 million, an increase of 41% from 343.6 million in the twelve-month period ended June 30th, 2018. Annual spending per active buyer in the twelve-month period ended June 30th, 2019 was RMB 1,467.5 (USD 213.8), an increase of 92% from RMB 762.8 in the twelve-month period ended June 30th, 2018. "We are pleased with our results in the second quarter of 2019," said Mr. Zheng Huang, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Pinduoduo. "Putting users' interests first, we worked with our merchants to provide our users with a targeted, compelling value proposition on their most coveted items. This unwavering focus on our users contributed to the significant increase in our annual active buyer base and annual spending per active buyer, which together led to the 171% increase in our last-twelve-month GMV to RMB 709.1 billion."

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