Shopify's Surprising Earnings Revealed

Shopify's Surprising Earnings Revealed

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Shopify's Earnings Report
    • Letter to Shareholders
    • Shopfiy Logistics
    • Revenue and Earnings
    • Margins and Expenses
    • Financial Sustainability
  3. Subscription Solutions and Gross Margins
  4. Gross Merchandise Volume and Take Rate
  5. Free Cash Flow
  6. Guidance and Outlook
  7. Key Metrics to Watch
  8. Valuation and Growth Cycle
  9. Conclusion
  10. FAQ

Shopify's Earnings Report


In this article, we will analyze Shopify's recent earnings report and delve into the important aspects that investors should focus on. Shopify, the e-commerce platform, surprised the market this quarter with an early release of their earnings, causing shares to rise significantly. We will examine the letter to shareholders, discuss their decision to divest from Shopify Logistics, assess revenue and earnings figures, and analyze gross margins and expenses. We will also evaluate the company's financial sustainability, explore subscription solutions and gross margins, and look at gross merchandise volume and take rate. Additionally, we will discuss free cash flow, guidance and outlook, key metrics to watch, and Shopify's valuation and growth cycle. Finally, we will summarize our findings and provide answers to frequently asked questions.

Letter to Shareholders

In his letter to shareholders, Shopify CEO and co-founder, Toby Lukey, addressed the company's recent developments and strategic decisions. The letter revealed that Shopify will be smaller by about 20 percent and will sell Shopify Logistics to Flexport. This decision means that several jobs will be cut, mainly in the logistics department. Lukey emphasized the company's main quest, which is to make commerce better for everyone. He explained that side quests, such as Shopify Logistics, can distract from the main mission and may not always be worth pursuing. This strategic move indicates that Shopify is prioritizing its core business and ensuring long-term growth.

Shopify Logistics

The decision to divest from Shopify Logistics is significant and indicates a shift in focus for the company. Lukey explained that the logistics business was not working as expected and was not aligned with Shopify's mission. Although the logistics venture initially generated excitement, internal economics and considerations for making commerce better for everyone influenced the decision to abandon it. The market has responded favorably to this strategic move, as it demonstrates Shopify's commitment to its core mission.

Revenue and Earnings

Shopify reported a 25 percent increase in revenue for the quarter, surpassing Wall Street's estimates and management's guidance. However, gross margins declined, and operating margins experienced a loss. Net margins also decreased significantly. Although the overall financial picture is not ideal, the company's positive free cash flow and ample cash reserves ensure its sustainability. Shopify has approximately $5 billion in cash and only $1 billion in debt, providing a strong financial foundation for future growth.

Margins and Expenses

Gross margins, a crucial metric for any business, declined in this quarter's report. However, subscriptions' gross margins increased slightly due to a rise in subscription prices. This expansion of gross margins is a positive development, highlighting Shopify's ability to maintain customer loyalty despite price increases. Operating expenses, particularly in research and development, have increased by 50 percent. The impact of job cuts on this area remains uncertain as Shopify strives to streamline operations and optimize efficiency.

Financial Sustainability

Shopify's strong financial position is evident in its positive free cash flow and the substantial cash reserves it possesses. The company's ability to generate free cash flow and its low debt levels contribute to its financial sustainability. This financial stability allows Shopify to invest in growth opportunities and withstand economic downturns. Investors can have confidence in Shopify's ability to weather challenges and continue delivering value in the long term.

Subscription Solutions and Gross Margins

Subscription solutions are a fundamental source of revenue for Shopify. In the earnings report, subscription solutions revenue increased by 11 percent, surpassing the cost of subscriptions, leading to a marginal expansion in gross margins. The forthcoming increase in prices for subscription plans is expected to further boost gross margins in the future. Shopify's subscription business demonstrates its strong customer base and the value merchants see in their platform.

Gross Merchandise Volume and Take Rate

Shopify's gross merchandise volume, which measures the value of goods sold through the platform, grew by 15 percent to approximately $50 billion. The take rate, representing how much Shopify retains from each transaction, increased to 2.29. This growth is primarily driven by the adoption of Shopify Pay, indicating strong user engagement and customer satisfaction. Monitoring this take rate will be crucial to gauge Shopify's ability to capture value as the platform continues to thrive.

Free Cash Flow

Shopify's positive free cash flow is a testament to its sustainable growth model. In this quarter's report, free cash flow improved significantly from a negative $41 million to a positive $86 million. This positive cash flow demonstrates the company's strong financial performance and indicates its ability to invest in further expansion and innovation.

Guidance and Outlook

Management provided guidance for future performance, projecting similar revenue growth and gross margins as this quarter. Furthermore, Shopify stated its intention to achieve positive free cash flow every quarter in 2023, a notable achievement that it has not accomplished since the onset of the pandemic. These optimistic projections exceed Wall Street's expectations, indicating further potential for upward revisions in future forecasts.

Key Metrics to Watch

Investors should pay close attention to subscription gross margins as Shopify moves forward. The price increase in subscription plans will be essential in determining margin expansion and the company's ability to retain customers. Additionally, monitoring gross merchandise volume and the take rate will provide insights into Shopify's ability to drive value for merchants and capture a larger share of transactions. Lastly, tracking free cash flow will indicate the company's financial health and its capacity to invest in growth initiatives.

Valuation and Growth Cycle

Analyzing Shopify's valuation can be challenging due to its high growth rates and unique business model. With a forward price-to-earnings ratio of 1,600, the stock appears to be expensive. Moreover, the price-to-earnings power ratio indicates a high valuation, even under hypothetical scenarios. Considering Shopify's current growth stage, it falls between stage 3 and 4. Investors should be cautious of the stock's high valuation and carefully assess the company's growth prospects.


In conclusion, Shopify's earnings report revealed notable developments and strategic decisions. While revenue and earnings exceeded expectations, some margin declines were observed. However, the company's strong financial position and positive free cash flow indicate its resilience and ability to drive sustainable growth. Investors should closely monitor subscription gross margins, gross merchandise volume, take rate, and free cash flow to gauge Shopify's future performance. Despite a challenging valuation, Shopify remains a leading player in the e-commerce industry, continuously striving to make commerce better for everyone.


Q: What prompted Shopify's decision to divest from Shopify Logistics?\ A: Shopify concluded that Shopify Logistics was not aligned with its mission of making commerce better for everyone. The company recognized that pursuing logistics may distract from its core objectives, leading to the decision to jettison this part of their business.

Q: How has Shopify's gross merchandise volume performed?\ A: Shopify reported a 15 percent increase in gross merchandise volume, amounting to approximately $50 billion. This growth demonstrates the platform's ability to facilitate a significant volume of transactions.

Q: What impact did the price increase in subscription plans have on Shopify's gross margins?\ A: The price increase in subscription plans is expected to positively impact gross margins by expanding the profitability of subscription solutions. This indicates that customers are willing to pay higher prices for the value provided by Shopify's platform.

Q: How does Shopify plan to achieve positive free cash flow in every quarter of 2023?\ A: Shopify aims to achieve positive free cash flow by leveraging its strong financial position, optimizing operational efficiency, and continuously investing in growth initiatives. This strategy will enable the company to generate sustainable cash flow throughout the year.

Q: Should investors be concerned about Shopify's valuation?\ A: Shopify's valuation is high, presenting a challenge for investors. However, considering the company's growth potential and market position, a careful assessment of its long-term prospects is necessary. Evaluating Shopify's valuation within the context of its growth stage is crucial for making informed investment decisions.

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