Shopify Inc . SHOP delivered fourth-quarter 2018 adjusted earnings of 26 cents per share outpacing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 5 cents. Moreover, the figure soared 73.3% year over year.
Total revenues surged 58% from the year-ago quarter to $343.9 million, comfortably surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $327 million. The figure also fared better than management's guided range of $315-$325 million.
The top line benefited from a diversified expanding merchant base. The company continues to launch a number of merchant-friendly applications to meet the requirements of a dynamic retail environment, in turn bolstering its merchant base.
Notably, shares of Shopify have gained 39.2% in the past year, against the industry
's decline of 16.5%. Quarter in Detail
Subscription Solutions revenues (38.8% of total revenues) surged 42% to $133.6 million driven by persistent growth in Monthly Recurring Revenue ("MRR") aided by the addition of several new merchants.
As of Dec 31, 2018, MRR was $40.9 million, up 37% from the year-ago quarter figure of $29.9 million. Shopify Plus accounted for $10.4 million representing 25% of MRR compared with 21% in the quarter ended Dec 31, 2017.
Merchant Solutions revenues (61.2%) advanced 63% to $210.3 million, primarily driven by growth in GMV which gained 54% from the year-ago quarter to $14 billion.
In fact, Shopify platform garnered GMV of approximately $1.5 billion in the Black Friday-Cyber Monday period of four days. Notably, year-ago GMV figure in the same period stood at $1 billion.
Management noted that Shopify merchants added approximately 40 million products to their shops in the reported quarter.
Robust performance of Shopify Payments, Shopify Shipping and Shopify Capital also aided growth.
Shopify Capital advanced $71.8 million cash to merchants in the reported quarter, registering growth of 81% compared with $39.7 million in the year-ago quarter. Notably, since the launch of Shopify Capital, cumulative merchant cash advances have grown to almost $447 million, out of which $92 million was outstanding as on Dec 31, 2018.
Shopify Shipping witnessed robust adoption in the fourth quarter. The offering is being leveraged by almost 40% of total eligible merchants across the United States and Canada.
However, it is to be noted that GMV growth is declining. In the first, second and third quarter, GMV registered a year-over-year increase of 64%, 56% and 55%, respectively.
Gross Payments Volume ("GPV") came in at $14 billion, accounting for 41% of GMV processed in the fourth quarter, up from $3.5 billion (39%) in the prior-year quarter.
Purchases from merchants' stores from mobile devices witnessed 78% of traffic and garnered 66% of orders for the quarter ended Dec 31, 2018, up from 73% and 61%, respectively, reported in the year-ago quarter.
In the reported quarter, the company introduced Shopify Payments in Spain.
Shopify Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise
Shopify Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise | Shopify Inc. Quote
Non-GAAP gross profit surged 53.4% year over year to $186.4 million primarily on the back of robust performance of Shopify Shipping and Shopify Capital.
Non-GAAP gross margin contracted 100 basis points (bps) from the year-ago quarter to 54%. The margins were impacted by the risk posed by strained Subscription Solutions margins on account of transition to cloud.
Non-GAAP operating expenses surged 51.4% year over year to $166.4 million. Non-GAAP operating expenses as a percentage of revenues contracted 100 bps to 48%.
Adjusted operating income of almost $20 million soared 72.4% from the year-ago quarter. Notably, management had anticipated adjusted operating income to be in the range of $16-$18 million. Adjusted operating margin expanded 100 bps on a year-over-year basis to 6%.
Balance Sheet & Cash Flow
Shopify ended the reported quarter with cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities balance of $1.97 billion compared with $1.58 billion recorded at the end of the third quarter. Management attributes the increase to contribution from the sale of Class A subordinate voting shares as part of public offering which was concluded in December 2018.
The company provided cash from operations of $9.3 million for 12 month period ended Dec 31, 2018, compared with $7.9 million reported in the year-ago period.
Notable Developments Aid Financial Performance in 2018
For full year 2018, Shopify reported adjusted earnings of 38 cents per share which soared 153.3% over 2017. The Zacks Consensus Estimate was pegged at 32 cents.
In 2018, revenues increased 59.74% over 2017 to $1.073 billion, wherein Subscriptions Solutions and Merchant Solutions contributed 43.3% and 56.7% to total revenues, respectively. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for sales was pegged at $1.06 billion.
Shopify Inc. Revenue (TTM)
Shopify Inc. Revenue (TTM) | Shopify Inc. Quote
In a bid to make the platform more merchant friendly, Shopify is working on extending language capabilities beyond English. The focus on local languages is helping in bolstering international presence. We believe this inclusive move will boost engagement and consequently increase adoption going forward.
In fact, Shopify reported merchant base of 24% from outside of core geography (with significant non-English-speaking population) in 2018, comparing favorably with 21% in 2017. Notably, Shopify has introduced seven accessible local language capabilities on its platform to date, including English, Brazilian Portuguese, Japanese, German, Spanish, French, and Italian.
Shopify is also benefiting from introduction of Dynamic Checkout, Centralized Marketing Dashboard, Fraud Protect and Shopify Ping solutions. The launch of Shopify Ping has made it easier for merchants to process payments, ship products and secures financing through messaging for their working capital needs.
The company also partnered with Alphabet's GOOGL Google to empower physical stores with enhanced security. The company provides Google Wi-Fi routers and Nest cam hardware across its Hardware Stores, to around 70,000 point-of-sale merchants. This aids businesses to monitor their physical outlets leveraging the Shopify dashboard, consequently streamlining management processes.
The latest merchant friendly applications and innovative initiatives to enhance visibility across physical outlets along with exploring new markets are anticipated to significantly expand merchant base, going ahead.
In fact, management noted that merchants on average became more successful on Shopify, as number of merchants with GMV exceeding $1 million grew 58% in 2018.
Moreover, management remains positive about the company's expanding partner ecosystem that aids it to identify and reach merchants who are otherwise inaccessible. The total number of apps registered in the App store amount to more than 2,500. More than 18,000 partners referred merchants to Shopify in the past 12 months.
For 2018, GMV of $41.1 billion surged 56% over 2017. Notably, revenues of both Shopify Shipping and Shopify Capital have "together doubled" year over year in 2018.
At the end of 2018, the company had more than 820,000 merchants on Shopify platform compared with 609,000 merchants reported in 2017.
For first-quarter 2019, Shopify projects revenues in the range of $305-$310 million, whose mid-point of $307.5 million, is marginally above the current Zacks Consensus Estimate of $307.14 million.
For full-year 2019, management projects revenues in the range of $1.46-$1.48 billion (mid-point of $1.47 billion). The Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged at $1.47 billion.
Management expects adjusted operating income for fiscal 2019 to be in the range of $10 million to $20 million.
Zacks Rank & Key Picks
Shopify carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
MeetMe, Inc. MEET and Jabil, Inc. JBL are better-ranked stocks worth considering in the same sector. Both the stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks Rank #1 stocks here .
Long-term earnings growth rate for MeetMe and Jabil is projected to be 20% and 12%, respectively.
3 Medical Stocks to Buy Now
The greatest discovery in this century of biology is now at the flashpoint between theory and realization. Billions of dollars in research have poured into it. Companies are already generating revenue, and cures for a variety of deadly diseases are in the pipeline.
So are big potential profits for early investors. Zacks has released an updated Special Report that explains this breakthrough and names the best 3 stocks to ride it.
See them today for free >>
Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report MeetMe, Inc. (MEET): Get Free Report Shopify Inc. (SHOP): Free Stock Analysis Report Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL): Get Free Report Jabil, Inc. (JBL): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here.