Understanding Global Marketplace Trends

February 2018

In digital commerce the marketplace model has grown faster than the traditional model over the past five years. It accounted for 41% of digital commerce sales in 2017, up from 17% in 2008. It is expected to continue to growing faster than the traditional model. This report explores why this growth is happening and what it means for the retail industry.

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The marketplace model is growing faster than the traditional model

In digital commerce the marketplace model has grown faster than the traditional model. It accounted for 41% of digital commerce sales in 2017, up from 17% in 2008.

Marketplaces are combined with other types of retail models

There are “pure” marketplaces that only connect third-party merchants with shoppers, but there are “hybrid” models where a marketplace is combined with a traditional model. Some hybrids have a physical presence.

The giant marketplaces are more than retailers

The largest marketplaces have built out a full ecosystem of products and services for both their customers and third-party merchants. Some examples include payments, logistics, entertainment, and financial services.

Retailers need to have a marketplace strategy

The expectation is that the marketplace model will continue to outpace the traditional model. As a result, retailers need to have a strategy when it comes to marketplaces, or risk irrelevancy.

Hybrid model with stores will likely win

The hybrid model benefits from the selection and low prices of a marketplace and the influence a traditional model can have. Adding a store improves the customer experience for logistics. As a result, this model is likely where more marketplaces are headed.


Key findings
Table 1 contents

Introduction to Marketplaces

What is a marketplace?
The leading marketplaces hint at the future
Marketplaces are eating digital commerce
Why is the marketplace model growing so quickly?
The marketplace model proves popular with consumers
The benefits of having a marketplace model
But there are risks too

Marketplace Trends

Marketplaces embrace omnichannel retail
Alibaba and Amazon are the biggest examples of the omnichannel trend
Marketplaces focus on the logistics experience
Marketplaces eye international expansion as a growth driver
Marketplaces leverage loyalty to lock in customers

What Does the Future Hold?

Retailers will need a marketplace strategy to survive
Ignoring the marketplace model is risky for retailers
What does the future marketplace model look like?

Appendix: Regional Snapshots

The 10 largest countries for the marketplace model
Asia Pacific: Alibaba reigns supreme
North America: Amazon pulls away from eBay
Western Europe: Amazon also pulls away from eBay
Eastern Europe: Grupo Allegro holds the lead
Latin America: Hybrid models with stores prevalent
Middle East and Africa: Amazon acquires Souq.com
Australasia: Amazon enters Australia in 2017


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