Pandemic-fueled rush to link digital and physical shopping powers payments firm Adyen to record growth

February 9, 2022, 12:29 PM UTC

Adyen, the Dutch payments company that boasts many of the world’s best-known brands as its customers, posted big annual growth numbers on Wednesday, in a clear sign that the pandemic’s transformation of the retail industry shows no sign of letting up.

The company saw its processed transaction volumes surge 70% in 2021 to €516 billion ($590 billion), with more than half that volume—€300 billion—coming in the second half of the year. The Amsterdam-based firm’s revenues hit the €1 billion ($1.14 billion) mark for the year, and its Ebitda profits hit €630 million ($719 million), a 57% increase from 2020. The company has an astounding 63% Ebitda profit margin.

The news sent Adyen’s shares, which are listed on the European stock exchange Euronext, up almost 10% to €1,845 per share.

The company’s strong performance is in part a testament to the way the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has continued to accelerate consumers’ shift to e-commerce and mobile commerce. That trend showed no sign of letting up in 2021, Pieter van der Does, Adyen’s cofounder and chief executive officer, said.

He also told Fortune that Adyen has benefited from large retailers seeking a single payments backbone to “omnichannel” selling. This is the idea that customers should be able to do things such as shop online, but then purchase through click-and-collect and pick up the item at a physical store; or return an item they purchased online in store.

Adyen is one of the few payments companies that can unify transaction processing across physical and digital shopping. Among its customer base are retail brands ranging from Gap Inc. and Levi’s to L’Oréal and Swarovski, as well as major online platforms such as eBay, Etsy, and Uber.

“The pandemic proved that unified commerce is essential for companies and that it is a need-to-have,” van der Does said. He noted that point-of-sale terminals for physical stores, an area where Adyen had once lagged other payments competitors, now account for 14% of the company’s processed volumes and have been a key factor in winning increased business from existing customers.

Once a company uses Adyen for its in-store payment terminal, he said, it tends to use Adyen as its sole payments provider across all parts of its business, whereas those who were only using the company for mobile or e-commerce had often maintained relationships with multiple payment vendors. “That whole feeling of ‘We need a second supplier to keep you honest,’ is disappearing,” he said.

The CEO also noted Adyen can tell from its transaction volumes the extent to which the travel industry has continued to be hobbled by the pandemic. The company counts among its customers such large travel vendors as and European low-cost airline EasyJet. Van der Does said that while payment volumes for travel have now recovered to pre-pandemic levels, this is in contrast to volumes in other industry segments that have now grown much larger than they were in 2019. “Travel is not supporting growth yet,” he said.

Adyen’s results also provide insight into the changing payments landscape globally. Here, van der Does said, there is continued fragmentation of payments methods between traditional credit and debit cards and new, digital-only forms of payment. In Asia, for instance, he said that Adyen has seen the inroads that companies offering buy-now, pay-later payment schemes, such as Cashalo and Hoolah, have been making. He also said that in Asia many consumers who have never had a credit or debit card are skipping directly to a mobile payments platform like China’s Alipay or India’s Paytm.

“It’s not just Google Pay and Apple Pay,” he said. “We see a whole new wave of payment methods.”

Adyen, he said, will continue to look to support as many of these different payment schemes as possible, enabling merchants, who are Adyen’s main customers, to meet consumers wherever they want to shop and using whatever payment methods they want to use.

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