According to research firm Euromonitor International, Alibaba’s sales climbed nearly 25% last year to $243.5bn from $196.9bn in 2017, while revenues at JD.com soared by 40% to $201bn from $142.6bn in the previous year.
Euromonitor’s Top 100 Retailers in Asia-Pacific report, which studied 15 markets in the region, attributed these explosive growth rates to the rise of the marketplace model with which Alibaba and JD.com are closely associated.
“In 2018, 47% of all digital B2C commerce sales were made through the marketplace model, up from 27% in 2009,” the report said. “In addition to offering a very wide selection, large marketplaces such as Alibaba, JD.com and Rakuten have brought security to payments and reliability to delivery.”
The report went on to say that companies will have to adapt to changes in consumers’ expectations and shopping habits, which are being driven by rising incomes, ageing populations, urbanisation and more single households.
It estimated that online retail sales in Asia-Pacific will grow to $1.6 trillion by 2023, or almost double that of 2018, with Indonesia, Malaysia and India driving much of the growth as consumer in these countries get wealthier.
But the sheer scale of China and other larger regional markets will continue to be the focus of major retailers’ expansion plans.
“Four out of the top 10 retailing companies derive the entirety of their sales from China only, speaking volumes about China’s existing lead in Asia-Pacific’s e-commerce and also the amount of growth potential left,” said Ivan Uzunov, research manager at Euromonitor, in comments reported by the South China Morning Post.
“It is no surprise that Alibaba and JD.com continue to be the internet retailing giants in Asia-Pacific due to their dominant position in China, where they have captured nearly three-quarters of the market,” he added.
Apart from Alibaba and JD.com, some of the other major regional retailers in Euromonitor’s rankings include Japan’s Seven & I Holdings, which owns the 7-Eleven convenience store chain.
Euromonitor placed the company third after it generated sales of $77.4bn in 2018. AEON Group, another Japanese firm, came fourth with sales of $67.96bn, followed by Amazon.com ($40.65bn). Walmart, ranked seventh, almost doubled its sales in the region, from $19.72bn in 2017 to $35.4bn in 2018.
Sourced from Euromonitor, South China Morning Post; additional content by WARC staff