A period of sustained profitable growth
Despite a challenging macro environment, our trajectory of sustained profitable growth left us well-positioned to invest in the business' long-term potential.
EBITDA margin landed at 52% for the period due to investments in the team.
To advance our platform, we succeeded in hiring additional tech roles, which amounted to 58% of total hires this period.
Relentless innovation across our single platform
To best service our customers, we continued innovating online checkout journeys with iterations to our authentication and payment methods.
We further established ourselves in Mexico and Japan with the launch of Unified Commerce in these countries.
We deepened our partnerships with platform businesses utilizing embedded payments – the gateway to further embedded financial product adoption.
Further strides in our global expansion
Net revenue continued to diversify across regions in H2, with the most notable growth rates coming from North America and APAC.
To set Adyen up for further success, we ramped up our presence in global hubs including Singapore, Chicago, San Francisco, Madrid, and São Paulo.
We won new customers around the world including Koala, Lacoste, and Instacart.
Sustained profitable growth & long-term investments
February 8, 2023
Before writing these letters, we always take time to reflect on the past half year. The world economy was volatile in H2 2022, with high inflation and geopolitical instability creating a challenging period for global commerce. Adyen closely monitors these developments and is not immune to their effects. Despite these obstacles, our demonstrated history of building for the long term and remaining a committed partner to our customers put us in the fortunate position of sustained profitable growth. Thanks to this track record, in H2 we were able to accelerate our investments into the business and continue laying the groundwork for Adyen’s next growth phase. While attuned to the market, we proceeded with discipline in executing on our long-term ambitions.
By following this approach, we closed 2022 with a motivated team and a strong set of results. This period, our net revenue landed at €721.7 million, up 30% YOY, mainly driven by our customers’ continued growth on our single platform. EBITDA margin came in at 52% for H2 2022, a metric impacted by the 757 new joiners we welcomed, which brought us to a total of 3,332 FTE at the year's end. To preserve our culture of speed and autonomy, we upheld our high talent standards. Our deliberate decision to continue scaling the team with high-impact team members further situates us to capitalize on the sizable opportunity at hand.
When diving into this cycle’s results, you will find that our long-standing investments are many of our largest revenue drivers. However, these areas of our business did not become today's growth engines overnight. Across the board, our successes are the result of disciplined planning, focus, and constant iterative improvement. We always take the surest path towards long-term, sustainable return, even if that road is more extensive and complex to navigate. This philosophy, which often necessitates greater and more lengthy investments, has ultimately come to differentiate us.
Our Unified Commerce solution is a prime example of how maintaining our long-term perspective is paying off today. After disrupting the online payments landscape, in 2013 we saw an opportunity to tackle in-store payments as well. This space was already crowded but lacking a tech-first solution. Rather than taking the fastest route to market entry, we opted for the most comprehensive and promising. This meant engineering solutions in-house for the highest end of retail and enterprise customers. These businesses provide far more complex consumer journeys and thus require an equally advanced back-end infrastructure, which we remain the first and only to build.
Our early alignment on the long-term potential of our Unified Commerce solution makes us the partner of choice for leading businesses today, including H&M, Levi’s, and Lacoste. In H2 2022, our point-of-sale (POS) volume was €67.6 billion, up 62% YOY and comprising 16% of total processed volume. With POS volume contributing larger amounts of our overall volume each cycle, we continue to invest in its potential. This period, we made strides with the launch of Unified Commerce in Mexico and Japan. We see a promising horizon ahead for Unified Commerce as we deepen our presence in these evolving markets and beyond.
When it comes to establishing ourselves in opportune markets and regions where our customers need support, North America is a strong case study of how Adyen plays the long game. We began selling there in 2007, opened our San Francisco office in 2012, obtained our US branch license in 2021, and over time grew our team in the region to 482 colleagues. Today, leading North American businesses leverage our technology for both domestic and international growth. Our historical investments in the region have put us in the reputable position of working with household names including Microsoft, Instacart, and Subway®. We continue to scale our activities by building upon this foundation of foresight and discipline. In H2, North American net revenue totaled €190.7 million, up 45% YOY. We are excited by the progress we have made thus far and consider ourselves at the early stages of what we aim to achieve in the region.
While our long-term view is embedded into all areas of our business, it was clearly reflected in our H2 recruitment strategy. Amid a backdrop of widespread tech lay-offs and hiring freezes, we consciously grew our team in order to further scale the business. During this time, the labor market proved favorable for reaching our intended hiring speed. While this backdrop supported our headcount goals, it did not dictate them. We did not adjust our plan nor meet quotas because candidates were more widely available.
Rather, we have always been efficient about the number of people required to solve problems. This held true during the initial pandemic years, when we were not distracted by e-commerce or in-store volume fluctuations. Our approach remains the same today. We continue to look beyond short-term changes, and are instead committed to our long-term growth. By staying critical of both the quantity and quality of people we hire, we are building a team that is capable of realizing it.
Carrying on from H1, our tech-first approach to building Adyen resulted in the majority of our new colleagues joining our tech domain, which comprises more than half of our global team. These software engineers, product managers, and data analysts are contributing to the full breadth of our platform – including our payments, data, and financial services products. Expanding these disciplines remains essential to scaling our platform and its capabilities. As it stands, investments in the team were the predominant driver of H2 and full year margin evolutions. While costs and revenue are not directly connected in the short term, we remain confident in the long-term return on investment into our team.
2022 was a significant year of headcount growth for our business and we still have a way to go. To meet our technical and commercial ambitions, we plan to add a similar number of colleagues in 2023 as in 2022. With our return to in-person collaboration and launch of additional global academies, we are able to absorb and onboard colleagues at this level. These new joiners will again solidify our high-impact commercial and platform engineering teams, as well as strengthen younger ones ranging from data infrastructure to embedded financial products.
By the start of 2024, we expect our team to have reached its next maturity level. At that time, we will slow our hiring pace and allow the operating leverage inherent to our business model to kick in. We remain in full control of and intentional about this dynamic. Although we could quickly reach our projected 65% EBITDA margin if we shifted to optimizing for this metric, our gaze is fixed on the horizon.
Hiring aside, the overall macro environment was still marked by turbulence. The second half of this year saw soaring inflation impact households globally. The war in Ukraine waged on, catalyzing both humanitarian crises and economic knock-on effects felt around the world. Commerce naturally slowed as businesses and consumers alike grappled with supply chain disruptions, record debt, and energy price spikes. We remain aware of and sensitive to the difficulties experienced by global businesses, and will continue to support them as a steadfast partner.
Despite the surrounding global instability, our business fundamentals remained intact and we saw longer-term platform trends persist. Strong indicators of Adyen’s resilience include the continuation of volume churn remaining below 1% and more than 80% of our growth stemming from customers already on the platform. We also experienced the continued regional diversification of our net revenue, highlighting that we are a more global business every cycle. These platform trends assure us that our strategy is able to withstand the market’s changing tides.
We saw consumer behavior evolve in the second half of 2022, with the world's return to travel causing the most noteworthy volume developments. This was the first period since H2 2019 that travel volumes rebounded in full, with most countries reopening their borders and to a large extent adjusting to COVID-19. We accordingly processed increased travel volumes (including airlines) throughout H2, with full-stack volumes amounting to 79% of our total volume.
While our platform continues to scale, so too must the infrastructure powering it. Exceptional investments into our data centers resulted in CAPEX increasing to 8% in H2. As a natural consequence of these investments, free cash flow stands at €298.1 million (free cash flow conversion was 80% in H2 2022 vs 90% in H2 2021). In the first half of 2022, we made the decision to procure equipment ahead of schedule to protect ourselves against potential supply chain delays. This approach not only proved fruitful during H1's chip shortage, but again when we opened our newest data centers this period. Scaling our data center footprint in globally strategic locations is critical to supporting customer needs and handling our ever-growing processed volume. With our infrastructure in a sound position to withstand the coming years, we will return to our 5% guidance in 2023.
As Adyen continues to steadily perform, our success will not only be for our benefit. We want to underscore our long-term commitment to supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). This year, we announced that we will annually donate 1% of our net revenue to initiatives that align with this framework. We were intentional about contributing 1% - a variable figure - rather than an annually fixed amount. The rationale behind this decision is that as our business grows, so too must our positive impact on the trajectory of the world around us. As we embarked on addressing some of the planet’s most pressing issues, part of our 1% commitment went towards our charitable partnerships including the UNHCR.
If there is one takeaway to bring into the year ahead, it's this: Adyen is in investment mode. Long-term gain often requires short-term sacrifice. We have embraced this approach throughout our company’s history and will stick to our long-term focus in 2023. This ongoing investment period is critical to realizing our platform’s full potential. While remaining disciplined in our decision making, we are taking the steps needed to reach it. We are in the process of broadening our offering, expanding our global reach, and actively seizing opportunities. This is only the beginning.
Scaling our customer portfolio across all pillars
Throughout this period, we maintained our track record of winning additional wallet share across our commercial pillars. Highlighting the strength of our land-and-expand strategy, over 80% of our growth came from businesses that were Adyen customers before the year began. This approach involves signing customers, demonstrating our value, then scaling with them long-term across regions and channels. We initially solve a single problem, then ramp up our collaboration by helping businesses identify and address far more complex needs. In a continuation of another long-term trend, H2 saw volume churn remain below 1%. Once again, our ability to nurture long-term, trusted customer relationships kept them growing on the platform. This metric is a testament to our unique implementation of the most advanced user journeys.
When it comes to digital businesses – the customer group Adyen first targeted – we have further solidified our reputation as the partner able to increase conversion, manage risk, and rapidly expand into new markets. In a reflection of this, digital remained our largest volume contributor at 60% in H2. A few notable digital customer wins included GymPass and Koala. These businesses will leverage our single platform's transaction oversight and valuable consumer insights – the utilization of which drives digital engagement and revenue.
However, today’s consumers are not just digitally native – they are option native. Speed, convenience, and above all: choice, remain key. We therefore facilitate and encourage seamless movement between their preferred on and offline channels. Having originally developed our Unified Commerce technology to meet the needs of luxury retail – where consumer journeys are elevated as standard – we are inherently equipped to provide solutions to ‘everyday’ retailers ready to modernize. This can mean enabling online retailers to adopt a POS stream or vice versa, by adding digital channels to brick-and-mortar businesses. Both directions persisted this cycle. We are permeating further into everyday retail, with customer wins including Żabka and Pet Supplies Plus. Alongside the industries we already have a strong foothold in, this vertical remains hungry for multi-channel transformation.
Adyen’s history of developing solutions for the most complex journeys is also demonstrated across our Platform pillar. We have a well-established presence in the enterprise platform space, where we first and foremost help platforms fortify their relationships with sub-sellers through embedded payments. We see that the most forward-thinking platforms are actively seeking opportunities to embed payments that differentiate their offering, unlock new revenue streams, and improve their user experience. For these reasons, there is significant opportunity presented by business models including SaaS platforms, marketplaces, on-demand platforms, and social networks.
Though increasingly essential, the process of embedding payments can be complex and timely for platforms, as it requires distinct expertise and resources to be shifted away from their core business. Adyen's platform offering offloads this responsibility by enabling them to seamlessly integrate payments using our single API. Our embedded payments solution is currently how we initiate the majority of our relationships with platform customers, and will predominantly drive the pillar’s volume growth in coming years.
Partnering with platforms simultaneously opens the door to an interesting customer demographic: the SMBs they host. Through our platform customers, we are naturally moving from the enterprise level down to the long tail of the market, which is rapidly digitizing. Beyond enabling their embedded online payments, we generate a competitive advantage for platforms through our Unified Commerce offering, which unlocks multi-channel business models for their users.
One key point of stickiness is amongst platforms who want to offer easy and affordable terminals to SMBs. The breadth of use cases facilitated by our payment devices enables SMBs – who are often less resourced – to free up sales associates and provide more personalized in-person services. Through Unified Commerce for Platforms, companies of all sizes can benefit from the technology and insights enjoyed by leading global enterprises.
To further cater to the SMB cohort, in H2 we broadened our platform offering by taking live our full suite of embedded financial products, which provides platform users with access to consolidated business banking. These products are currently being piloted by our first customers including accounting software platform, Moneybird. To efficiently meet their user’s business needs, Moneybird integrated Adyen’s card issuing, working capital, and business accounts - taking their offering from balance sheet oversight to fully embedded financial services. By circumventing the administrative demands and slower pace of traditional banks, their users can now leverage complete cash flow management including business banking.
We look forward to covering the sizeable ground still present across each pillar.
Continuous product innovation on our single platform
No matter how advanced our technology becomes, we relentlessly seek new avenues for innovation across our single platform. This process includes working closely with our customers to understand their needs, then engineering solutions that best enable their ambitions. With our finger on the pulse of changing consumer behavior and product development agility, we remain at the industry’s cutting edge.
Adyen's engineering dominance is embodied by our Digital offering, which is leading the transition to more invisible and secure payments. To cement our position at the forefront of digital consumer journeys, in H2 we launched several product iterations within online checkout including Click to Pay. This new way of paying improves the online checkout experience by enabling shoppers on recognized devices to make purchases with just one click – even when doing so as a guest. On unrecognized devices, Adyen will first verify a shopper's identity, then retrieve their historically preferred card information – thus removing the need for manual data entry. This is done using our extensive customer network, with which consumers are highly likely to have at some point engaged. Our resulting one-click checkout solution improves conversion and ultimately enables us to drive higher revenue for our customers.
Another way we improved online checkout is through Delegated Authentication. This feature is the latest addition to our 3DS2 authentication solution, which was originally developed in 2018 to meet European regulatory requirements (i.e. PSD2). The authentication flow of many European transactions is typically full of friction including redirects. Delegated Authentication, on the other hand, allows Adyen to centralize the verification process by authenticating consumers within our customers’ checkout stage. By taking this responsibility in-house, we can preserve our standard of excellence in checkout experiences and, most importantly, keep consumers in that pivotal destination. In this way, we once again improve conversion and increase our customers’ revenue.
To enable seamless in-person payment journeys in parallel with those transacted online, this period we rolled out our recently launched terminals: the NYC1 and AMS1. Empowering our customers to deliver superior cross-channel experiences, our in-house designed terminals offer flexibility when accepting in-person payments. The devices realize our customers’ wishes to be mobile, discrete, reliable, and long-lasting – all while capturing actionable data insights. The devices run on our single platform to enable tailored payment flows, end-to- end oversight, and high speed of innovation at the point of sale. The breadth of use cases we have seen this period signifies an exciting development in in-person payments.
Beyond rolling out our advanced hardware, in H2 we also scaled Unified Commerce in key markets. Adyen continues to invest in the largest and most dynamic economies by expanding our local acquiring network. This period saw us launch our Unified Commerce solution in Mexico and Japan – two countries that are systematically difficult to enter. To service customers spanning these diverse regions, we iterated our single platform to not only meet their complex local requirements, but also offer the first comprehensive solution to rapidly address their legacy hurdles.
Mexico and Japan have historically been cash-based and dependent on outdated financial infrastructure. However, both countries are now rapidly digitizing – and Adyen's Unified Commerce offering is poised to drive their transformation. With our multi-channel expertise, we are bridging the gap between consumers accustomed to cash purchases and businesses keen to modernize. Our single integration enables businesses to centralize payment data from all channels – not just locally, but on a global scale. With our in-house acquiring capabilities, we look forward to further embedding our unique solution into these promising markets.
Meanwhile, Adyen for Platforms further catered to the needs of our customers and the SMBs they host. This period, we took our Capital and Accounts embedded financial products live. Paired with Issuing, these products combine to form a modular suite that unlocks an end- to-end financial ecosystem for SMBs. We currently have our first customer trialing the synergies between all products.
Issuing exemplifies the time it often takes to properly launch, pilot, and iterate products in this space. Since launching Issuing in 2019 as a strategic addition to our platform, we have released multiple customer-driven product iterations. Looking at the timelines needed for our in-house acquiring and POS solutions, we consider ourselves at the starting line of realizing Issuing's potential. At its current stage, Issuing volumes are still in the tens of millions. Our conversations with both existing and prospective customers contribute to our confidence in Issuing's broader appeal as part of our embedded financial product (EFP) suite. We have a long runway ahead.
While we are energized by our embedded financial product offering and the use cases our current pilots embody, we want to reiterate that this area of our business is still very much at its outset. As part of the long game we are playing, we will continue strengthening our ongoing platform and embedded payments relationships, which serve as the gateway to further EFP adoption.
Investing in our team to capitalize on our long-term opportunity
Adyen is operating at an increasingly global scale. To sustain this rate of expansion, we spent H2 building our team at an accelerated pace. Our headcount grew to a total of 3,332 FTE this period, compared to 2,575 FTE at the end of H1. To bolster our international presence, we further developed our teams in cities around the world including Singapore, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Madrid, and São Paulo. Illustrating our tech-first approach to problem-solving, 58% of our H2 joiners were in the technology domain across data, payments, and financial product roles. Meanwhile, 26% of the H2 new hires sit in commercial positions to scale our account management and sales abilities.
While the wider tech industry engages in headcount reductions and hiring freezes, we remain committed to the hiring plans that align with our long-term ambitions. This means we do not deviate based on short-term, external factors such as candidate availability or fleeting sales channel fluctuations. Our sights are fixed on progressing towards our well-considered technical and commercial aspirations, for which additional muscle is essential. As we proceed with growing the team, we will stay disciplined in our resource planning. This applies to both the quantity of people needed to solve problems, as well as their quality.
The Adyen Formula is the cornerstone of our company and we go to great lengths to scale it. Since our founding, every successful candidate has had to pass an interview with a member of our most senior leadership team. To ensure Formula fit remains intact, we continue to implement this final round. We believe it is an essential step in both upholding our high talent standards, as well as preserving our company culture across all roles and regions.
After finding the right people and getting them through the door, Adyen’s focus shifts to efficiently onboarding them. Although we are capable of welcoming team members remotely, returning to the office this year positively impacted our absorption rate. Being together in person best conveys our ways of working, with our office environment facilitating the creativity and collaboration needed to deliver our speed of execution. We continuously assess and ensure our absorption capacity matches our hiring pace.
To round out our onboarding program with technical upskilling, in H2 we further developed our internal academies, which were established to train our diverse functions in-house and get them up to speed on the Adyen way of working. The various academies specialize in operations, tech, sales, account management, and marketing.
All programs feature tailored content that expedites a new joiner’s learning curve or teaches leadership skills to first-time managers. Designed to kick-start employee growth from day one, the courses empower them to understand the company, quickly jump into their functions, and make an impact.
Nothing Adyen has set out to achieve will be possible without our driven team. With more hands on deck, we look forward to together laying the bricks needed to reach our next level.
Discussion of financial results
Processed volume driven by growth within existing customers
We processed €421.7 billion during H2 2022, up 41% YOY. For the full year, we processed €767.5 billion, up 49% YOY. In line with previous cycles, the majority (>80%) of our growth came from customers that were already on our platform in earlier periods.
Of processed volumes, we saw solid growth across all commercial pillars. Digital – the bread and butter of our offering – remained the largest volume contributor overall, realizing €253.8 billion in H2 and €471.4 billion for the full year, making up 61% of total processed volume in 2022 and growing 46% YOY. Unified Commerce volumes amounted to €116.1 billion in H2 and €196.2 billion for the FY, which was 26% of total processed volume in 2022 and up 67% YOY. Platforms contributed €51.8 billion in H2 and €99.9 billion for the FY, making up 13% of total processed volume in 2022 and growing 31% YOY. Taking eBay volumes out of the equation, Platforms would have been our fastest growing pillar at 79% in H2 and 95% for the full year.
Our point-of-sale (POS) volume was €67.6 billion in H2 and €112.5 billion (up 74%) for the full year, comprising 15% of total processed volume in 2022 – up from 13% in 2021.
With secular tailwinds on our side, we look forward to helping our customers build the commerce journeys of the future.
All amounts in EUR thousands unless otherwise stated
Net revenue contributions continue to globally diversify
Net revenue was €721.7 million in H2 2022, growing 30% YOY*. Full year net revenue came in at €1.3 billion, up 33% YOY. The majority of our net revenue follows the success of our land-and-expand commercial strategy.
A natural consequence of this strategy is how take rate evolved. H2 2022 take rate was 17.1 bps, compared to 17.6 bps in H1 2022 and 18.6 bps in H2 2021. This decline is driven by the continued growth of customers already on the platform. It was also impacted by our increased overall ATV, due to travel volumes rebounding. Take rate remains an outcome, not a driver, of the business.
Net revenue contributions further regionally diversified in the second half of 2022, with North America and APAC displaying the greatest acceleration. EMEA contributed 55% of total net revenue, followed by North America (27%), APAC (11%), and LATAM (7%). In terms of net revenue growth, North America (up 45% YOY), was narrowly followed by APAC (up 44% YOY), LATAM (up 36% YOY), and EMEA (up 20% YOY). H2 2021 was an exceptionally strong period for EMEA contribution, which impacted H2 YOY growth rates. We remain confident in the significant opportunity still present in this region.
For the full year, net revenue contributions were €746.8 million in EMEA, €343.2 million in North America, and €142.4 million in APAC, and €97.8 million in LATAM. For the FY, net revenue growth rates were: North America up 48% YOY, APAC up 48% YOY, LATAM up 31% YOY, and EMEA up 25% YOY.
* On a constant currency basis, net revenue of €721.7 million would have been 4% lower than reported.
Investing for scale as we prepare for the next phase of Adyen
Operating expenses were €387.7 million in H2 2022, up 78% from H2 2021. Full year operating expenses were €665.4 million, up 64% YOY. These increases were mainly driven by investments in growing our global team as we prepare to further scale.
Employee benefits were €222.1 million in H2 2022, up 83% YOY. For the full year, these were €380.6 million, up 58% YOY. As we scale our existing activities and ramp up new ones, 2022 was a year of accelerated investment in our global team. The talent we onboard remains essential to succeeding in our long-term ambitions. With our focus on where we want to be years from today, we are dedicated to preserving our company culture and high talent standards.
It is worth noting that gradual hiring in a given period annualizes in the period thereafter.
Advisory costs – the large bulk of which stem from headhunting services – notably increased this period in line with our global recruitment needs.
In other operating expenses, we donated a large part of our 1% commitment to the UN SDGs via the UNHCR’s relief work.
Sales and marketing totaled €31.4 million in H2 2022, up 64% YOY. For full year 2022, these were €55.6 million, up 53% YOY as we invest in driving brand awareness to unlock commercial growth at a global level and were able to host events to meet our customers in- person again.
EBITDA - Sustained profitability amid long-term investments into the Adyen team
EBITDA was €372.0 million in H2 2022, up 4% from €357.3 million in H2 2021. For the full year, EBITDA was €728.3 million, up 16% from 2021.
EBITDA margin was 52% in H2 2022, compared to 64% in H2 2021. Full year EBITDA margin was 55%, compared to 63% in 2021. Both were driven by employee benefits exceeding net revenue growth as we accelerated our hiring pace.
Robust free cash flow conversion
Free cash flow was €298.1 million in the second half of 2022, down 7% from €320.2 million in the second half of 2021. Free cash flow conversion ratio was 80% in the second half of 2022, down from 90% in H2 2021. Full year free cash flow conversion ratio was 83%, down 8% YOY. This metric was impacted by our increased CapEx.
CapEx impacted by infrastructure investments
CapEx was €59.1million, and 8% of net revenue, up from 6% of net revenue in H2 2021. This increase was due to exceptional investments into our data centers, which technologically prepare us for the volume growth we will handle in the coming years. In the first half of 2022, we made the decision to procure equipment ahead of schedule to protect ourselves against potential supply chain delays. This approach proved fruitful when we opened our new data centers in H2.
For the full year, CapEx was €99.1 million, and 7% of net revenue.
We did not see any business developments over the second half of 2022 that would lead us to update our guidance. Our standing financial objectives therefore remain unchanged.
Net revenue growth: We aim to continue to grow net revenue and achieve a CAGR between the mid-twenties and low-thirties in the medium term by executing our sales strategy.
EBITDA margin: We aim to improve EBITDA margin, and expect this margin to benefit from our operating leverage going forward and increase to levels above 65% in the long term.
Capital expenditure: We aim to maintain a sustainable capital expenditure level of up to 5% of our net revenue.
A call to discuss these results will be livestreamed from our Investor Relations page at 3PM CET on February 8, 2023. A recording will be made available on the same page following the call.
P.W. van der Does
Interim Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements
H2 2022 Adyen N.V
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