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Adobe’s Q1 FY19 Revenue and Earnings Power to New Heights

Adobe’s revenues grew at a rate of 25% to $2.6 billion in the most recent quarter, placing the company on an annualized run rate of about $10 billion! The Magento (e-commerce) and Marketo (B2B marketing) acquisitions bolstered the digital experience segment while continued strong organic growth in Creative Cloud and Document Cloud powered the digital media market.

It seems like yesterday that Adobe took the bold move of abruptly transitioning its customers from a perpetual license and support model to today’s subscription-based recurring revenue model. It’s easy to lose sight of those early days when revenue plummeted and Adobe's resolve was tested! Perseverance coupled with a tight focus on continuous innovation across the existing Creative product lines, along with diversification into the customer experience and digital marketing spaces, has since enabled Adobe to more than double its annual revenues, trough to peak, since 2013.

Key facts to be mindful of:

  • Creative Cloud growth of 22% year over year – $1.5 billion in Q1.
  • Lightroom CC users increased by 400% year over year.
  • Expansion of select CC products onto the Android platform (Rush CC and Acrobat Reader).
  • Deeper integrations and plug-ins for Microsoft, Slack, and the Atlassian eco-systems.
  • Digital experience segment growth of 34% year over year – $743 million in Q1.
  • Key Experience Cloud “logo wins” in the quarter:
    • HSBC
    • NBC Universal
    • Bass Pro Shops
    • Web MD

Digital Media Highlights

Adobe realizes strong growth from the Creative Cloud, Document Cloud, and Adobe Sign products. There are still millions of Adobe users still hanging on to their legacy versions of various Adobe creative design products. These legacy software users will likely be forced to migrate to the subscription model over the next year or two, as the older functionality does not meet current levels of quality and feature parity.

Additionally, Adobe enterprise deals have become a hydra, with maximum discounts being obtained only when customers purchase components of each of the core products. It is increasingly common to see enterprise term license agreements with Creative Cloud Suite, Document Cloud, Adobe Sign, and Stock.

Digital Experience Highlights

The integration process has begun in earnest to incorporate Magento’s e-commerce capabilities into the Adobe Experience Cloud, while Marketo continues to perform well and fills the B2B marketing gap in the Adobe digital marketing platform. Combined with continued robust growth in new customer acquisition with Adobe Campaign and Experience Cloud, the group posted a record $743 million in revenue during the quarter.

Our Take

Adobe has created a true moat for itself in the creative design and digital marketing software space through its organic development and acquisition of intangibles, such as the IP-driving new product development, the sheer network effect of the Adobe ecosystem, and the high cost of switching vendors once engaged on the Adobe platform.As Adobe continues to rack up quarter after quarter of stunning revenue and margin growth, customers must adapt and take a proactive sourcing and procurement approach with Adobe that brings competitive solutions into the digital marketing space.

Lastly, Adobe customers locked into Creative Cloud solutions must carefully analyze their need for various Adobe products and right-size their deployment, as meaningful price concessions are increasingly difficult to obtain from Adobe.


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