Facebook’s growth rate could be impacted by Covid vaccines as consumers shift spending to services, CFO says

David Wehner, CFO at Facebook.

Harriet Taylor | CNBC

Facebook CFO David Wehner on Tuesday said the social media company’s advertising growth rate could be impacted as more consumers receive their Covid-19 vaccinations and shift their spending back toward services like travel instead of consumer goods.

We “expect some of consumer expenditures to shift back into services in places like travel as we get further into the year and people get vaccinated,” Wehner said, speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference. “That could impact us in terms of growth rate because we tend to under index relative to the overall economy in some of the service sectors.”

Wehner said that it is still tough to forecast for 2021 with so much uncertainty, but, in general, Facebook expects the growth in e-commerce ad sales to slow down. E-commerce was a key sector that fueled Facebook’s growth in the third and fourth quarters of 2020, Wehner said.

“The acceleration that we saw in the e-commerce growth side, that’s going to slow down because we’re not going to have the same drivers of acceleration pushing people to shift online,” Wehner said. “We do think that online is going to be a bigger component of people’s businesses going forward, so we think we’ll lock in those gains. But I don’t think the shift will be happening as quickly, so that’ll be somewhat of a headwind to our business.”

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