PayPal posted strong results across segments in Q3 2016, allowing the firm to increase its growth targets for the year without changing its margins — a good sign for the rest of the year.
PayPal posted strong growth in two key metrics. The firm’s total payment volume (TPV) rose 28% year-over-year (YoY) to $87 billion in Q3 2016. That was likely driven partly by an increase in customers, which grew by 19 million YoY to 192 million during the quarter.
But even as PayPal adds customers, those clients are getting more engaged — average interactions per customer rose to 30, from 27 in the previous year, during Q3. Increased engagement likely means that PayPal’s focus on high-growth areas, like mobile payments and P2P functionality, is helping to drive customers to the service.
Continuing to find ways to grow engagement will likely shape PayPal’s development moving forward. The company is pushing hard into other high-growth areas in order to better become “an everyday essential financial service” for people worldwide. Two such initiatives highlighted in the call stood out:
- Aggressive pursuit of Chinese and cross-border e-commerce: PayPal is expanding its partnership with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba so that Paypal will become a single-click buy button option on AliExpress, one of Alibaba’s largest marketplaces. PayPal customers are already interested in Chinese e-commerce — 40 million of the firm’s customers have made a purchase to China — so this could help them better channel that interest into purchasing. But it also could allow the firm to get a share of China’s fast-growing e-commerce market, and, if successful, could pave the way for more cross-border partnerships in the future.
- Mobile in-store payments: The firm’s recent partnerships with Visa and Mastercard will allow PayPal’s wallet to be accepted in-store anywhere that accepts contactless payments from those cards. And in Europe, PayPal is partnered with Vodafone in markets like the UK, Italy, and Spain, to begin allowing users to pay via NFC. Physical stores present PayPal with a massive volume opportunity, and could help it better monetize some of its mobile and digital platforms through merchant processing fees, for example. These partnerships could also help keep customers loyal to PayPal for a wider variety of financial interactions rather than pushing them to a third-party, which could increase engagement.
PayPal is an important piece of the larger payments ecosystem, but it's still just one piece. The rest of it included merchants, processors, acquirers, gateways, and more.
Evan Bakker and John Heggestuen, analysts at BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, have compiled a detailed report on the payments ecosystem that drills into the industry to explain how a broad range of transactions are processed, including prepaid and store cards, as well as revealing which types of companies are in the best and worst position to capitalize on the latest industry trends.
Here are some key takeaways from the report:
- 2016 will be a watershed year for the payments industry. Payments companies are improving security, expanding their mobile offerings, and building commerce capabilities that will give consumers a more compelling reason to make purchases using digital devices.
- Payments is an extremely complex industry. To understand the next big digital opportunity lies, it's critical to understand how the traditional credit- and debit-processing chain works and what roles acquirers, processors, issuing banks, card networks, independent sales organizations, gateways, and software and hardware providers play.
- Alternative technologies could disrupt the processing ecosystem. Devices ranging from refrigerators to smartwatches now feature payment capabilities, which will spur changes in consumer payment behaviors. Likewise, blockchain technology, the protocol that underlies Bitcoin, could one day change how consumer card payments are verified.
In full, the report:
- Uncovers the key themes and trends affecting the payments industry in 2016 and beyond.
- Gives a detailed description of the stakeholders involved in a payment transaction, along with hardware and software providers.
- Offers diagrams and infographics explaining how card transactions are processed and which players are involved in each step.
- Provides charts on our latest forecasts, key company growth, survey results, and more.
- Analyzes the alternative technologies, including blockchain, which could further disrupt the ecosystem.
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