The transformation in the retail industry is accelerating, with more products sold online every day and e-commerce becoming more important than ever. Already dominating the space, marketplaces are well positioned to facilitate this shift, in an increasingly competitive digital environment. This report profiles a diversity of marketplace business models from around the world, while analysing the trends that drive the transformation and the successful strategies built around them.
E-commerce reached a value share of 16% of total retail sales in 2020, with the top 10 marketplaces generating almost half of the world’s online sales. Amazon, Tmall and JD are the clear leaders. The platform economy transformed the retailing industry, and the way businesses sell products online.
2020 brought an unprecedented shift to e-commerce due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Searching for alternative channels to continue selling their products, retailers ramped up their omnichannel operations, listing on marketplaces or investing in own websites. This led to higher competition in marketplaces and fragmentation in e-commerce.
With the competition one click away, successful marketplaces need to understand and adapt to consumers’ current and future needs, focusing on service, satisfaction and engagement. By doing so they enhance the shopping experience and build loyalty.
The explosive growth in e-commerce is likely to be followed by increasing digital sales regulations and taxation focus, with the goal to create an environment dominated by fair competition, to promote innovation and to protect consumers’ interest.
Even if ongoing vaccination campaigns provide hope for a return to normality, e-commerce is expected to continue its growth, pushed by increased interest from both companies and consumers. As a result, we expect e-commerce to generate more than half of the absolute value growth for the global retail industry by 2025.
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