The global ecommerce market is in a state of both expansion and consolidation. More consumers than ever before are buying digitally, and worldwide retail ecommerce sales are rising. At the same time, major international players like Amazon and Alibaba are widening their reach by buying up smaller local platforms, especially in burgeoning ecommerce markets.
eMarketer estimates that worldwide retail ecommerce sales will increase from $2.290 trillion in 2017 to $4.479 trillion by the end of 2021, equating to 16.1% of total retail sales.
On a global level, Amazon and Alibaba are the largest players. Amazon dwarfed all other companies in a January 2017 report by Deloitte showed that Amazon’s retail ecommerce sales for its fiscal 2015 reached $79.27 billion—nearly triple that of the second largest digital retailer on the list, China-based JD.com ($26.99 billion). Apple took a close third place, at $24.37 billion, followed by Walmart ($13.70 billion) and China retail giant Suning Commerce Group ($8.10 billion).
This article is drawn from a new eMarketer report, “Global Ecommerce Platforms 2017: A Country-by-Country Review of the Top Retail Ecommerce Sites,” which provides detailed breakdowns of ecommerce platforms and usage for 30 markets around the world. Subscribers to eMarketer PRO can access the report here. Individual copies of the report can be purchased here.
Alibaba is not featured on Deloitte’s list, likely because the data excludes consumer-to-consumer (C2C) sales and sales from third-party sellers, both of which make up a large part of Alibaba’s business. When those are included, however, Alibaba is likely on par, if not ahead, of Amazon.
Overall ecommerce sales data for the firm is hard to come by, but Alibaba’s own figures showed that RMB120.7 billion ($18.2 billion) worth of products were sold on its platforms during Singles Day in 2016—the online shopping festival that occurs on November 11 every year. This was up from RMB91.2 billion ($13.7 billion) in 2015. That’s nearly one-fifth (17.3%) of Amazon’s total sales for its fiscal 2015, according to Deloitte.