PayPal Revenue and Usage Statistics (2021)

David Curry

Updated: June 13, 2021

In the late 90s, paying for things online still had a stigma attached to it. There wasn’t any assurance that goods would be delivered or that faulty payments would be recovered. It was a wild west and PayPal was one of the first payment solutions to try and civilise it. 

PayPal was formed when two companies, Confinity and X.com, merged. Elon Musk, of Tesla and Space X fame, was CEO of this combined company for a time. As he would in the future, he zoned in on the vision of PayPal’s future and terminated all other operations that were deemed unnecessary. 

That didn’t go down well with PayPal’s board members, who got rid of Musk in October 2000. He had been CEO for less than 12 months. The lack of faith from the board would sit with Musk during his next ventures, where he ensured he had complete control. 

After Musk left, Peter Thiel took over as CEO as guided PayPal towards its 2002 IPO. PayPal provided its platform to all websites, but the bulk of its transactions were conducted on eBay. A few months after the IPO, eBay agreed to acquire PayPal for $1.5 billion. 

For the next decade, PayPal coexisted inside eBay’s rather tumultuous world, in which the e-commerce platform tried to expand into every internet business, acquiring Skype and a range of classified advertising networks. 

In that time, PayPal spent $800 million to acquire Braintree and Venmo, bolstering its position as a provider of financial services. And as eBay started to feel the effects of a decade of muddled leadership, PayPal looked at a future beyond the e-commerce platform, but first it would need to separate. 

In 2015, eBay announced it would spin out PayPal as a separate entity. Several major eBay shareholders pushed for the split, as they had with the Skype sale in 2009. eBay held a minority stake in the new company, but has since divested almost all shares in the company. 

PayPal missed many opportunities that came with a growing network of e-commerce platforms struggling to make payments safe and secure. If not tied to eBay, PayPal may have partnered with Amazon, Alibaba and retail giants like Walmart, but platforms either built their own solution or partnered with non-competitive affiliates. 

If separate, it may have also been more influential in the growth of contactless payments. Google and Apple both built out their own systems, and PayPal has been effectively shut out of that market. 

Still, PayPal has grown significantly since the break, almost doubling revenue and monthly active users. It has integrated One Touch with over seven million merchants and Venmo continues to attract a younger generation of users. 

PayPal has also made significant acquisitions in the past two years, in the form of iZettle and Honey, bought for $2.2 billion and $4 billion, respectively. It has also launched PayPal Credit. 

We have collected data and statistics on PayPal. Read on below to find out more.

PayPal key statistics

  • PayPal generated $21.4 billion revenue in 2020, a 20.9 percent increase year-on-year
  • PayPal also increased its net profit by 75 percent year-on-year, to $4.2 billion in 2020
  • Over 15 billion transactions were completed in 2020 on PayPal, accounting for $936 billion in transaction volume
  • 337 million users and merchants use PayPal

PayPal overview

Launch date December 1998
HQ San Jose, California
People Dan Schulman (CEO, President), John Donahoe (Chairman)
Business type Public (NASDAQ)
Industry Financial services

PayPal revenue

PayPal annual revenue

Year Revenue
2010 $3.5 billion
2011 $4.5 billion
2012 $6 billion
2013 $6.7 billion
2014 $8 billion
2015 $9.2 billion
2016 $10.8 billion
2017 $13 billion
2018 $15.4 billion
2019 $17.7 billion
2020 $21.4 billion

Source: PayPal

PayPal profit

Year Profit
2012 $0.8 billion
2013 $0.9 billion
2014 $0.4 billion
2015 $1.2 billion
2016 $1.4 billion
2017 $1.8 billion
2018 $2 billion
2019 $2.4 billion
2020 $4.2 billion

Source: PayPal 

PayPal transactions

Year Transactions
2013 3.2 billion
2014 3.9 billion
2015 4.9 billion
2016 6.1 billion
2017 7.6 billion
2018 9.9 billion
2019 12.4 billion
2020 15.4 billion

Source: PayPal

PayPal payment volume

Year Payment volume
2014 $235 billion
2015 $282 billion
2016 $355 billion
2017 $451 billion
2018 $578 billion
2019 $712 billion
2020 $936 billion

Source: PayPal

PayPal non-GAAP operating margin (%)

Year Non-GAAP operating margin (%)
2014 21
2015 21
2016 20
2017 21
2018 22
2019 23
2020 24

Source: PayPal

PayPal users

Year Users
2013 143 million
2014 161 million
2015 179 million
2016 197 million
2017 227 million
2018 267 million
2019 305 million
2020 377 million

Source: PayPal

PayPal transactions per account

Year Transaction per account
2013 23
2014 24
2015 27
2016 31
2017 33
2018 36
2019 40
2020 40

Source: PayPal

PayPal merchant accounts

Year Merchant accounts
2015 13 million
2016 15 million
2017 18 million
2018 21 million
2019 24 million

Source: PayPal 

PayPal subsidiaries

Braintree Provides merchants with an account and gateway to process transactions online
Venmo One of the most popular mobile peer-to-peer payment services in the United States
Xoom Online facilitator of money and mobile transfers across the globe
iZettle Supplier of chip card readers, also provides payments solutions for small businesses
Honey A browser extension that aggregates e-commerce coupons and discounts

PayPal FAQ

How much did eBay acquired PayPal for?

eBay acquired PayPal for $1.2 billion in 2002 and spun out the company in 2015

How many online e-commerce users use PayPal?

87.5 percent of online buyers have used PayPal

How many PayPal users have activated One Touch?

80 million PayPal users have activated One Touch payments

What is the average amount in a PayPal account?

The average PayPal user has $485 in their account

What is PayPal’s largest acquisition?

PayPal’s largest acquisition is $4 billion for browser extension Honey (TechCrunch)

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