Which eCommerce marketplaces are trending?

Choosing the right eCommerce marketplace is essential for a successful sales strategy. They can avoid a lot of admin tasks like inventory control and customer service.

Analysing financial results from marketplaces can provide insights into their growth trajectory. You can see below the financial results for the most relevant marketplaces.

Amazon

Net sales increased 12% to $574.8 billion in 2023, compared with $514.0 billion in 2022.

Net income was $30.4 billion in 2023 compared with a net loss of $2.7 billion in 2022.

Source: https://ir.aboutamazon.com/overview/default.aspx

eBay

Revenue increased to $10.1 billion from $ 9,795 in 2022

Net income (GAAP) was $ 2,775 million from a loss of $ 1,274 in 2022

Source: https://investors.ebayinc.com/financial-information/financial-summary/default.aspx

Shopify

Revenue increased to $7.06 billion (from $5.6 billion in 2022)

Net income was $132 million in 2023, compared with a net loss of $3.46 billion in 2022.

Source: https://investors.shopify.com/home/default.aspx

Bol.com

In Europe, gross merchandise value (GMV) was €5.75 billion, an increase of 4.9% compared to 2023.

source: https://www.aholddelhaize.com/investors/annual-reports/2023/

Etsy

Revenue increased to $2.74 billion from $2.56 billion in 2022

Net income was $307 million in 2023 compared with a net loss of $694 million in 2022.

Source: https://investors.etsy.com/home/default.aspx

Wayfair

Revenue decreased to $12 billion from $12.22 billion in 2022

Net loss was $738 million in 2023 compared with a net loss of $1,33 billion in 2022.

Source: https://investor.wayfair.com/overview/default.aspx

Zalando

Zalando will release the results March 13th

Source: https://corporate.zalando.com/en/investor-relations/financial-reporting

OnBuy

OnBuy doesn’t release figures, but an article says: “OnBuy’s 2023 Rewind: Our Most Exciting Year To Date”. It also states “October saw us reach new heights as we achieved our first EVER profitable month since our inception in 2016, leading to a profitable quarter”.

Source: https://www.onbuy.com/gb/news/onbuys-2023-rewind~a981/

How to choose which online marketplace to sell on?

Financial performance is not the only consideration when you are deciding which marketplace to sell on. Although this will give you an indication of the overall health and trend of the marketplace its also important to consider the more specific use case for your product category and business model. Here are some things you should consider:

Audience and traffic

How many people regularly shop on this marketplace? How many of them are they part of your target customer base in terms of their core demographics: gender, age, income,  interests etc? Does this marketplace have a lot of international shoppers or are they located in the market you are targeting?

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Product fit

What categories are the most popular on this marketplace? do they specialise in one particular type – for example B&Q marketplace specialises in home, DIY and garden. What is the competition like for your product category? are there many big sellers with similar products competing in this space. Are there any product restrictions that may prevent you from selling your items on this marketplace?

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Selling costs

How does the marketplace charge for sales made on the platform? are there listing fees, commission structures, transaction fees or subscription costs? Do these change with the volume of orders you receive or the categories you list in?

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Day to day use (fulfilment, customer service, etc)

What are the shipping solutions available to buyers? are there any targets for order dispatch, delivery times or inventory health that you are required to meet? are you required to use specific couriers or shipping services? How are returns handled? do they manage customer service queries and refund requests? Do they need any special packaging or dispatch notes? How do you process orders from this marketplace? Are sellers or products reviewed? How easy is it to manage inventory and product listings?

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Marketing and promotions

How do they rank listings on the product pages? are there any built-in marketing tools or advertising opportunities to increase visibility on the platform? Can you integrate links to the listings on social media and track this anywhere? what type of product imagery performs the best? Do you get an online storefront on the platform to build your brand? How much control do you have over your listings and brand? Do they have any promotions you are required to take part in, such as Amazon Prime Day?

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Seasonality and order stability

Do orders fluctuate throughout the year with traditional buying cycles or they they have additional factors to be aware of – i.e. sponsorships of national events, TV shows or campaigns.
Ebay for example have partnered with popular dating show Love Island to promote the sales of pre-loved clothing which may increase searches for this category during the shows airtime.

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2023 marketplace performance

On the whole, consumer surveys suggest that fewer shoppers will begin their journey on marketplaces in 2024 than they did last year, however, using order data from over 1200 eCommerce sellers using Huboo Fulfilment, we have tracked changes in order volumes across the 4 most popular and diverse sales channels, Shopify (own brand website) , eBay (pre-loved items), Amazon (new items) and Etsy (handmade goods), to demonstrate how different marketplaces performed month on month in 2023, excluding Q4.

This data shows us how compared to Shopify, marketplaces are much more volatile throughout the year and the impacts of the platforms own marketing efforts. Amazon for example, experiences a 5-10% increase in March and July when they hold their Prime Day sales, while Etsy was the only marketplace that grew in April. This can help you identify which channel to focus on at various times throughout the year and when might be the best time to sign up to gain momentum as quickly as possible.

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