It’s no secret that online marketplaces represent some of the most powerful sales channels on the web. From Amazon to Etsy, such platforms have risen to become household names around the world, with billions of customers relying on them for routine and one-off purchases every day.
But just how popular have online marketplaces become? And which are the world’s biggest?
To find out, we gathered Google search data from around the globe, giving us a clear picture of which online marketplaces are most favoured in different countries and regions. From there, a survey helped shed light on people’s perceptions of online marketplaces – including why they’re preferable to single-vendor e-commerce stores.
Explore what our research turned up below.
The State of Online Marketplaces in 2021
Popularity in online marketplaces shows no sign of abating. Indeed, 51% of survey respondents said they buy items from web marketplaces at least once a week, with a further 54% saying that they trust marketplace stores more than a retailer’s direct website.
Online marketplaces are clearly doing something right, then. But remember, while hosting your business on a web marketplace can lead to a notable boost in sales, the onus is on you to ensure that your listings are attractive, trustworthy, and engaging enough to generate the conversions you’re looking for.
Fortunately, the results of our survey go some way towards highlighting what customers are looking for when shopping on online marketplaces. For instance…
- 62% said good product descriptions on online stores were important to them when making purchase decisions
- 58% said having review comments made a difference to them purchasing an item online
- Over half (53%) value high ratings from past buyers to help them make a purchasing decision
Take a look at our chart below for a complete breakdown of the biggest influences on online marketplace purchases.
As well as primary sales drivers, our survey also highlighted the potential barriers that may put customers off making a purchase with a specific marketplace seller. Surprisingly, overall price ranked relatively far down in people’s priorities when buying from web marketplaces, with delivery, returns, postage costs, and product arrival time more likely to affect a person’s purchase intent over price alone.
Take a look at the chart below to get a picture of the biggest concerns which influence online marketplace sales performance.
As made clear in our chart, price isn’t necessarily the main deciding factor for shoppers looking to make a purchase through an online marketplace. So, if you’re wary of lowering the cost of your products simply as a means of capturing a greater share of the market, think twice and consider what other services, product information and offerings could help steer prospective customers in your direction.
The UK’s Top Marketplace Websites
Here in the UK, web marketplaces are a staple of the online sales arena. So ingrained are they, in fact, that everyday consumers are perhaps more familiar with big-name marketplaces than standalone brands – making it more important than ever for small businesses to establish themselves on the right marketplaces for their industry.
Ever wondered what the most prominent marketplaces are here in the UK? Take a look at our list below to find out.
Amazon aside, the UK’s top 10 looks significantly different to the global shortlist, showing the depth of niche marketplaces that are available to British web users. This is despite eight of the marketplaces within the top 10 being available to European and global audiences, with only Notonthehighstreet and OnBuy being geographically exclusive to the UK.
That being said, there are certainly some recognisable names on the UK’s shortlist. Household brands like ASOS, Wayfair, and Etsy all appeared in the top five, while special-interest music marketplace Discogs was an unexpected addition at number seven in the top ten.
Of the marketplaces to garner most searches in the UK, fashion and homeware were among the most popular categories. This is a similar picture to the global marketplace landscape, where fashion and general stores rank above electronics, sports, and music.
The World’s Top Marketplace Websites
From a global perspective, online marketplaces dominate the e-retail space, accounting for billions of search results every month. Indeed, country-specific marketplaces, such as China’s Taobao, accrue over 300 million monthly visits on average – a staggering number that dwarfs UK sites like Notonthehighstreet and OnBuy.
Take a look at the global top 10 below.
It’s perhaps unsurprising that Amazon and eBay topped the list of the world’s biggest online marketplaces. Launched in 1994 and 1995 respectively, these sales platforms laid the groundwork for the concept of the modern web marketplace, and continue to dominate the global sales arena in terms of visitor volume and seller quantity.
Elsewhere, marketplaces in Asia proved extremely popular, with Rakuten, Shopee, Taobao and Pinduoduo accounting for over two billion monthly visitors between them. It was a similar picture in Latin America, too, with general interest marketplace, Mercado Libre, garnering over 683 million visits per month.
As well as the most popular marketplaces themselves, we were interested to find out which types of stores generate the most visits and sales on a monthly basis. Take a look at our top 10 below.
General marketplaces, such as Amazon and eBay, naturally came top from a monthly site visits standpoint, which is understandable given that there are 93 such platforms on the web. What was perhaps most interesting was that arts, crafts and gifts marketplaces collectively accrued more monthly site visits than electronics and homewares – no doubt elevated by the success of the global giftware platform, Etsy.
How to Set Up Your Business on an Online Marketplace
Given the volume of visitors that online marketplaces attract, it’s well worth establishing a presence on relevant platforms to drive sales growth for your business. Optimal product placement and a well-considered online storefront can be of huge commercial benefit, boosting the profitability and revenue of your e-commerce operations.
If you’re keen to expand your existing sales channels, our guide on setting up your business on an online marketplace provides the what, why and how of establishing a presence on the right e-commerce platforms.
Have you enjoyed our feature on the world’s most popular marketplace stores? Perhaps you’re looking to integrate your recent marketplace store with a new ERP platform? At Intact, our future-fit business management platforms make managing e-commerce and online marketplace activity simple. For more information or a free consultation and product demo, visit the homepage or get in touch with our expert team today