In 2020, eCommerce retail accounted for over 4 trillion dollars in sales. While the pandemic gave these sites a boost because of safety protocols surrounding in-person shopping, there is no doubt that online marketplaces will continue to have a massive stake in the global economy.
And while 2021 has occupied an odd liminal space between pandemic worries and periods of post-pandemic sentiments, online marketplaces have continued to ride the wave of convenient home shopping that everyone has become accustomed to. Looking to 2022 it will be interesting to see if certain “pandemic darlings” can continue to carve out a place in the market.
When it comes to “who is the best?” there will be some obvious answers—we’re looking at you Amazon—but what does it mean to be a great marketplace? Does it all come down to sales numbers?
Let’s do some investigating.
What makes an online marketplace successful?
The easy answer here would be revenue. As a company, the ultimate goal would be to sell large volumes of your product, and if you do that then it should equate to earning the title of “a successful marketplace”. However, major sales numbers don’t happen overnight. How do top earners reach the upper echelon of online marketplaces?
It comes down to user experience. While brand names like Amazon are at a point of being able to carry themselves on reputation alone, they built their empire on the back of consistent user experience and convenience.
Ultimately, consumers respond to a consistent shopping experience. While on the product side it can be somewhat infuriating to constantly have to generate product content that meets each new marketplace’s requirements, it is important. If your product listing doesn’t match the site’s preferences then it risks that consistent user experience and odds are the discoverability of your product will suffer.
Top 10 Online Marketplaces in 2022 to Sell Ecommerce Products
We know, this might not be a shocker…But in all reality, while this ranking is not a surprise, it is well earned. In 2020, Amazon’s eCommerce revenue was over $367 billion dollars — that’s more than $300 billion more than its closest competitor. While some experts expect a slight dip for Amazon in 2021 they will continue to blow out the competition and remain #1 on online marketplace lists for at least the next 5-10 years.
Walmart comes in at number 2 for a couple of reasons. The first is their massive in-store presence, which adds continuity for users’ shopping experience and also alleviates worries like the ease of making a return. Second, their eCommerce revenue is the second-highest in the United States, and while they won’t be closing the $300 billion gap between them and Amazon, expect Walmart to continue setting personal bests.
After the top two is where some debate will come in. While eBay’s online sales throne has long since been usurped, its name does still carry a punch. A well-known name and a well-known user experience will continue to work for them. Don’t expect the same 22% gross value growth that eBay saw in 2020, but assume they’ll be hanging around the Top 5 for a couple more years.
Perhaps no company benefited from the COVID-19 pandemic more than Instacart. Instacart went from a company that was losing $25 million a month and flirting with bankruptcy to an eCommerce marketplace powerhouse in less than 2 years. Just one month into the pandemic and Instacart had exceeded its sales goals…through 2022. Now, with a $39 billion valuation and a workforce of nearly half a million, watch out for Instacart and make sure you take advantage of Instacart Advertising.
Target may not be as massive of a presence as Walmart, but their eCommerce strategy continues to grow, which granted them a 24% increase in eCommerce sales in the last year. Target’s younger demographic, when compared to Walmart, bodes well for their future advancement on this list.
Sometimes being one of the best online marketplaces isn’t all about sales numbers. A few of the marketplaces represented in numbers 6-10 instead receive credit for establishing and dominating a niche.
Etsy is absolutely beloved by craftspeople and anyone with a strong affinity for buying from small businesses or individual artists. With a great user experience and no major competition, Etsy should be considered among the best online marketplaces for the foreseeable future.
Since 2016, Wayfair has continually been one of the fastest-growing eCommerce retailers. The furniture selling retailer has around 20 million monthly users and each year from 2014 to 2018 the company increased revenue by at least a billion dollars. This growth was amplified during the virus because traditionally only 14% of furniture sales were made online. Once the virus hit Wayfair became a huge supplier to that other 86% of US sales as well.
Costco is an interesting case. Their business model in many ways both helps and hurts their ceiling on a list like this. Because people go to Costco to buy in bulk their average purchase cost can oftentimes be higher. However, since this is bulk shopping, loyal customers do not need to return as often as someone who might use Walmart or Instacart’s services. Plus, with a required membership, Costco does things their way to great success but may not be a fast riser.
GoPuff is perhaps our boldest prediction for a site to make a monumental leap forward. GoPuff is quickly positioning itself to rival Instacart. While GoPuff does operate as a traditional retail site, they do allow for companies to run media on their web pages, which should help raise awareness and generate revenue. Additionally, with a strong affiliate and brand partnership program, GoPuff should gain steam throughout the year.
StockX has quickly become one of our favorite eCommerce marketplaces. StockX from the outside seems like an apparel and shoe distributor, but in reality, StockX specializes in culture. Their main strength is tapping into the world’s current zeitgeist and selling products based on trends with a “no B.S. approach.” Going over to StockX you’re immediately struck by the brands and cultures they promote like sneakerhead culture with Jordan’s and Yeezy’s, fashion with brands like Supreme, and, more recently, the NFT craze with an emphasis on their trading card products.
Looking Ahead to 2022 for Brands and Consumers
While there is a global hope that we will see a return to normalcy in 2022, the natural thought is that eCommerce sites will take a massive step back in revenue as everyone returns to stores. This, however, seems increasingly unlikely. Consumers have grown accustomed to the convenience provided by many of these online marketplaces. Coupled with a potential return to commuter lifestyle, many may be more eager than ever to save time on errands.
Having a sound eCommerce marketplace strategy is now essential for all brands. Companies should be looking at all the ways to appear on as many of these marketplaces as makes sense for their product. If your company needs help establishing itself on eCommerce giant sites like Amazon or Walmart, reach out to our team of specialized experts at Booyah.