Online marketplaces around the world enjoyed stratospheric growth in 2020. According to the research data analyzed and published by ComprarAcciones.com, the cumulative sales for the top 100 marketplace sites reached $2.67 trillion during the year.
Compared to the 2019 figure, that marked an increase of 29% year-over-year (YoY) in gross merchandise sales. It grew at a faster rate than non-marketplace sites, whose sales increased by 25% YoY.
For perspective, total eCommerce sales worldwide (marketplace and non-marketplace) grew by 27.6% in 2020. Based on a study by eMarketer, the global sales figure for the industry was $4.28 trillion. On the other hand, worldwide retail sales, both online and offline declined by 3% in the same period to $23.84 trillion.
Notably, the top 100 sites accounted for a 95% share of global sales on online marketplaces. Overall, they held a 62% share of worldwide digital sales.
The world’s largest sites in the industry, Taobao, Tmall (both operated by Alibaba) and Amazon took the lion’s share of the total gross merchandise volume (GMV). Their combined sales accounted for close to two-thirds of the global figure.
From the top 100 sites, only five had a GMV ranging between $50 billion and $100 billion or more. Twelve had a GMV of $10 billion to $50 billion while 22 produced $1 billion to $10 billion. The most populous category was the $250 million to $1 billion range, with 31 marketplaces.
US-Based Marketplace Site Sales Hit $667 Billion in 2020, Amazon Held Over 30% Share
North America had the highest number of marketplaces, a total of 52, while Asia came in second with 22. Europe was third with 19.
Fifty of North America’s sites were based in the US and together, they posted a 41.7% increase in annual sales during the year.
Amazon was the US market leader, with a total of $475 billion in annual GMV. Marketplace sales accounted for a 60% share of this total. The platform’s third-party GMV during the year grew by 40%. All in all, Amazon held a close to one-third share of eCommerce sales in the US.
eBay was the second highest grossing US marketplace. It generated a total of $37.53 billion in GMV, marking a 17% YoY increase from $30.74 billion in 2019. Its global GMV rose by 16.9% to $100 billion up from $85.51 billion in the previous year.
Without Amazon, the US annual growth rate was slightly higher, at 44.3%. It was considerably higher without Amazon and Ebay, at 63.5%.
Walmart took third spot on the list of highest grossing US eCommerce sites. Its total online sales for the US market reached $21.5 billion and $92 billion worldwide.
In total, US-based marketplace sites sold a cumulative $667 billion, with 55% median sales from mobile devices.
The fastest-growing marketplace in the US was alcohol delivery marketplace Drizly, whose sales surged by 308% YoY. Its GMV for the year totaled an estimated $900 million, remarkably higher than the $45 million posted in 2016. Uber acquired the company for $1.1 billion, its biggest deal since the purchase of Postmates in July 2020.
China’s Top Three eCommerce Retailers Accounted for 80% of Online Sales in 2020
The US was the second highest grossing market globally in 2020 in the eCommerce sector. Its sales rose by 44% YoY to reach $861.12 billion, the highest growth in two decades. eCommerce sales accounted for 21.3% of total retail sales in the country, up from 15.8% in 2019.
On the other hand, China took the lead globally with $1.495 trillion in online retail sales during the year, up by 14.5% from $1.306 trillion in 2019. It accounted for 59% of Asia’s total eCommerce sales, which rose by 19.2% to $2.525 trillion.
Leading eCommerce retailers Taobao and Tmall, along with JD.com accounted for over 80% of online purchases in China in 2020.
According a study by eMarketer, China is poised to take the lead globally in 2021 in terms of digital buyers. It is projected to have a total of 792.5 million of them, accounting for 33.3% of the worldwide total. The country’s eCommerce sales will total $2.78 trillion, translating to 56.8% of the global total. Around 52.1% of these retail sales will take place online, making it the first country in history to produce over half its retail sales from digital platforms.
Globally, eCommerce growth is forecast to slow down significantly to a growth rate of 14.3% in 2021. The muted growth is attributed to an expected rebound in brick-and-mortar retail sales. Overall, retail sales are projected to shoot up by 5.1% in 2021.