Walmart Is Currently The World’s Largest Retailer, But Alibaba And Amazon Are Closing In

Michael O'Grady
Forecast Analyst
August 10, 2018

Global B2C eCommerce grew by 10% in 2017 to reach US$1.8 trillion, driven by online sales from brick-and-mortar stores and marketplaces.

Marketplaces Grow Their Share Of eCommerce
Fifty-six percent of global B2C eCommerce occurred via marketplaces in 2017. As Amazon’s latest earnings report highlights, global retail marketplace performance is strong and isn’t showing signs of slowing down. Marketplace growth is driven by online spend per buyer, growth in the number of online buyers, and the adoption of new online services. Amazon’s gross merchandising volume (GMV) in the US grew by 26% in 2017, significantly more than the 16% growth of the entire US eCommerce market. In China, JD.com and Alibaba’s Tmall also grew faster than the Chinese B2C eCommerce market as a whole. If current trends continue, Tmall will overtake Walmart to become the world’s largest B2C retailer by 2020.

Marketplaces Have Plans For International Expansion
Direct competition between marketplaces will become more intense as they expand internationally to sustain growth. Almost half of marketplace sales in 2017 came from the top three platforms: Amazon, Alibaba’s Tmall, and JD.com. Marketplaces offer services for fulfillment, payments, cross-border logistics, and online advertising to drive growth.

Brick-And-Mortar Stores Will Invest In And Sell Through Marketplaces
Brick-and-mortar retailers are investing in marketplaces and blurring the boundaries between online and offline sales. Half of the products sold on Amazon come from small and midsize businesses. Amazon bought grocery retailer Whole Foods in 2017, while Alibaba plans to double its Hema grocery stores in China in 2018.

Forrester’s marketplace tracker helps retailers understand global B2C eCommerce and marketplace trends for 11 marketplaces across 16 countries and tracks their historical and future growth trajectories from 2015 to 2018.

March 12, 2018
Amanda LeClair

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