The global landscape of online marketplaces

Amazon and Alibaba are the top dogs, but the global competitive landscape is diverse

Marketplaces are among the most popular online shopping destinations for digital consumers worldwide. Online shoppers value the great variety of products that are usually available at comparably low prices on platforms like Amazon, eBay or Tmall. More and more retailers, on the other hand, also turn to online marketplaces as a valuable sales channel – a trend which has recently seen another boost caused by COVID-19 lockdowns. The online marketplace industry is thus constantly growing and – according to a report recently published by Digital Commerce 360 – was responsible for 57% of all eCommerce sales worldwide in 2019. In total, the top 100 online marketplaces contributed a GMV of US$1.97 trillion to the global economy. The global top dogs by GMV in the business are Amazon and Alibaba, but the competitive landscape is becoming ever more diverse, with new players trying out the promising business model and growing remarkably. In terms of popularity of marketplaces in general, there are significant differences between the major world regions according to webretailer’s “World’s Top Online Marketplaces”1:

The online marketplace business is most popular in North America: North American marketplaces register almost 5 billion website visits each month and there are over 50 marketplaces that receive more than 1 million visits per month – the most popular being Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Target, and Best Buy. East Asia follows in terms of total visits, with 4.5 billion. There are only 16 players that register more than 1 million site visits in East Asia, though – the biggest being Taobao, Tmall, Rakuten, and JD. Europe has 63 marketplaces that reach site visit numbers of more than 1 million. Amazon, eBay, AliExpress, and Allegro are the most popular marketplaces by website traffic in Europe.

1: webretailer ranks marketplaces by estimated website visits, based on SimilarWeb data for February 2020. Marketplaces which are only a small part of the overall offering from much larger websites (e.g. Facebook Marketplaces) and app-only marketplaces (e.g. Pinduoduo) are excluded from this analysis.


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August 2020