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8 Metrics Capture Shopify's Strong Third Quarter

By Daniel Sparks – Nov 1, 2018 at 6:51PM

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This e-commerce platform company continues to grow its business at staggering rates.

Shopify (SHOP 0.64%) managed to impress investors when it reported its third-quarter results. Despite analysts' high expectations for the e-commerce platform company's revenue growth, the company's top line blew past analyst estimates, sending shares up more than 10% following the earnings release. The company's adjusted non-GAAP earnings per share impressed, too, coming in at $0.04 when analysts were expecting a loss per share of $0.02.

To get a better look at Shopify's strong third-quarter results, here are eight telling metrics from the quarter.

Shopify e-commerce platform on a smartphone, laptop, and tablet

Image source: Shopify.

1. Total revenue jumped 58%

Shopify's top line increased 58% year over year to $270.1 million. Though this was a deceleration from the 62% jump the company saw in Q1, it was well above the 50% year-over-year growth analysts were expecting. 

2. Subscription solutions revenue increased 46%

Subscription solutions revenue, which accounts for 45% of Shopify's total revenue, rose 46% year over year to $120.6 million. This growth was driven primarily by an increase in monthly recurring revenue, management said in the company's third-quarter earnings release.

3. Monthly recurring revenue rose 41%

Shopify's monthly recurring revenue (MRR), or revenue from monthly subscription fees, rose 41% year over year in Q3.

4. Shopify Plus accounted for 24% of MRR

Highlighting the growing importance of large merchants to Shopify's monthly recurring revenue, Shopify Plus accounted for 24% of MRR during the quarter. This is up from 20% of MRR in the year-ago quarter.

"Hundreds of high growth merchants continue to join Shopify Plus leading up to the busy holiday season," said Shopify chief operating officer Harley Finkelstein during the company's third-quarter earnings call about its recent success in attracting more Shopify Plus customers. "We attracted these merchants with the flexibility and reliability of our platform, which can manage the stress of high sales volumes and capture all the upside that comes with it."

5. Merchant solutions revenue soared 68%

Shopify's merchant solutions revenue managed to keep the same growth rate it posted in Q2, rising 68% year over year. This put the company's third-quarter merchant solutions revenue at $149.5 million, accounting for 55% of total revenue. Driving this growth was an increase in gross merchandise volume and strong growth from Shopify Capital and Shopify Shipping -- both of which saw revenue more than double since the year-ago quarter.

6. Gross merchandise volume increased 55%

Gross merchandise volume, or the aggregate dollar value of all orders processed on the Shopify platform, increased 55% year over year. Capturing Shopify's strong momentum, this was almost in line with the 56% year-over-year increase the company saw in this key metric in Q2.

7. Shopify Capital issued $68.5 million in cash advances

This is up an impressive 84% from the $37.2 million in cash advances Shopify issued merchants to help them grow their businesses in the year-ago quarter.

8. Operating expenses jumped 61%

Shopify's operating expenses rose 61% year over year. Outsize growth in operating expenses compared to revenue growth put pressure on Shopify's earnings. The company's non-GAAP earnings per share decreased from $0.05 in the year-ago quarter to $0.04.

Shopify's rising operating expenses were primarily driven by continued growth in research and development spending and aggressive investments across core geographies, sales and marketing for Shopify Plus, international marketing, and brand marketing.

Shopify's recent strong execution bodes well for Q4, which is particularly important for Shopify because of the seasonality associated with the holidays. To this end, management guided for fourth-quarter revenue between $315 million and $325 million, up from $223 million in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Daniel Sparks has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Shopify. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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