… the Big Tech companies that reported earnings over the last several days — Alphabet (Google’s parent), Amazon, Facebook, Twitter among them — showed that eCommerce, and the ads that keep eCommerce top of mind for consumers… And, the card companies show that, at least for now, the consumer wants to spend.
At a high level, ad revenues for these firms were up markedly, in some cases by double-digit percentages. Facebook said that ad sales were up 22 percent; for Google, search and other ad revenues surged by roughly 6 percent to $26.3 billion, and YouTube saw ad sales up by 32 percent to $5 billion and network ad spend up 9 percent year on year to $5.7 billion. Amazon’s own “other revenue” category, which includes advertising, leapt by 51 percent. Twitter’s ad revenues were up by 15 percent in the period to about $808 million as ad engagement was up 27 percent in the period. eBay noted on its earnings call that organic revenue growth came in at 26 percent, driven by payments and advertising. Promoted listings surged 77 percent year over year to $186 million.
Taken as a group, the platform companies show that consumers are increasingly comfortable coming online to get what they need, that ad targeting is working, and that the companies that are pivoting online to reach consumers where they are — namely, on mobile devices and tablets — are embracing new ways to monetize that contact.
… Beyond the online ordering of goods, beyond the ads to get consumers to mull what they’d like to buy online, streaming media gained ground, perhaps to the surprise of absolutely no one. Apple is looking increasingly toward bundling and content to move the needle on its transition away from the vagaries of hardware.
… The banks showed that the worst may be over regarding the state of the consumer, and as they reduced loan loss reserves… Citigroup, J.P. Morgan and others reduced those reserves and noted a rebound in consumer spending off of recent nadirs. Wells Fargo said debit purchase volumes were up 11 percent year on year.
The payments network giants also gave indications that spending had rebounded into the most recent period.