Online retail giants show uneven growth

18 August 2011

NEW YORK: Amazon, eBay and Alibaba are all among the world's biggest online retailers, but are developing at very different speeds, a new study has found.

ComScore, the research group, reported Amazon's portfolio of sites secured 282m visitors across the globe in June 2011, equivalent to 20.4% of the whole internet population.

More specifically, 35.4% of people logging on were from North America, 31.8% from Europe and 24.1% from Asia Pacific, with Latin America on just over 4%, the same as the Middle East and Africa.

EBay, the auction platform, had an audience of 224m, or a 16.2% reach, with Europe providing 46.9% of this user base, North America on 34.6% and Asia Pacific recording 11.7%.

"Technology-driven innovation is changing how consumers shop and pay," John Donahue, eBay's CEO, said earlier this year. "The advantage is the ability to connect with consumers anytime, anywhere."

Claiming third place was the stable belonging to Alibaba, a Chinese firm operating services including an eponymous business-to-business site and Taobao Mall, a business-to-consumer offering.

Although its selection of ecommerce properties drew 157m individuals in June, 85.7% of this total was accounted for by Asia Pacific, showing the scale of the local opportunity and the difficulties Alibaba faces in expanding overseas.

"We believe in building a sustainable e-commerce model, growing the market and helping entrepreneurs and small businesses move online," Linda Kozlowski, Alibaba's head of international business development and marketing, said.

Apple, the electronics giant, attracted 132m shoppers, as North America took a 32% share, Europe posted 29.6%, Asia Pacific scored 24.9%, and MENA and Latin America were both in single digits.

Elsewhere, 72.7% of the 58m strong audience for Rakuten, the Japanese online retailer was drawn from Asia, and 83.4% of Wal-Mart's 45m visitors lived in North America.

"I believe that Wal-Mart is the best positioned retailer to serve the needs of the next-generation customers who are striving to join the emerging global middle class," Mike Duke, Wal-Mart's CEO, said this week.

"They're connected to the world through smartphones and social media. They have higher expectations of value, quality and a better life."

Data sourced from comScore; additional content by Warc staff