Globally, more than 50% of ecommerce sales were made through online marketplaces in 2019, contributing $1.7 trillion to the economy each year. And that is forecast to grow dramatically over the next 5 years, as more companies adopt marketplaces as the best platform to promote online sales.
We are well acquainted with the likes of Amazon, eBay, Rakuten and Alibaba – the giants of online retail – but who are the rising stars? Who are the other big players around the world? Which are the best places to sell niche products?
In this post, we have compiled a definitive list of all the online marketplaces around the world, and we answer those questions and more.
We start with the complete list of 153 marketplaces, then we look at the most popular product categories, and the best-served global regions and countries. We include a detailed breakdown of the top four product categories – fashion, books, homewares and electronics – and finally take a look at the top marketplaces by country and region.
What is an online marketplace?
There are two key features that define an online marketplace:
- There are many sellers and buyers trading through the same website.
- Buyers are able to purchase products without leaving the site (or app).
This excludes price comparison sites like Shopping.com. Although they have products from many sellers, you cannot make a purchase without leaving the site. They are advertising channels rather than online marketplaces.
It also excludes some sites where you can sell used products such as decluttr and ubup. With those, you can only sell directly to the company, so there is only one buyer. They are sourcing products from consumers to resell themselves (often through online marketplaces!)
For this article, we have focused on marketplaces that meet two further criteria:
- The buyers are mainly consumers, not businesses.
- The marketplace sells physical products, not just services.
This means that marketplaces that only support business-to-business (B2B) trade, such as diamond trading site RapNet, are excluded. Marketplaces specializing in services such as freelancing website Upwork and also excluded.
In summary, we are looking at true online marketplaces where you can sell physical products to consumers.
The world’s top online marketplaces
|4||Mercado Libre||South America||General||661.7M|
|10||Etsy||Global||Arts, Crafts & Gifts||266.3M|
|14||Best Buy||USA, Canada, Mexico||Electronics||229.3M|
|19||Wayfair||North America, Europe||Homewares||125.3M|
|49||Barnes and Noble||USA||Books||26.8M|
|51||Rue du Commerce||France||General||26.0M|
|54||Trade Me||New Zealand||General||19.6M|
|74||Privalia||Brazil, Mexico, Italy, Spain||Fashion||9.8M|
|78||notonthehighstreet||UK||Arts, Crafts & Gifts||8.4M|
|87||The Iconic||Australia, New Zealand||Fashion||6.1M|
|96||Nature & Découvertes||France||Homewares||4.7M|
|98||Rue La La||USA||Fashion||4.0M|
|101||1stdibs||Global||Arts, Crafts & Gifts||3.4M|
|102||Delcampe||Global||Collectibles & Antiques||3.2M|
|106||Vestiaire Collective||USA, Europe||Fashion||3.0M|
|114||eCRATER||USA, UK, Australia||General||2.1M|
|122||Biblio.com||USA, UK, AU, NZ||Books||1.2M|
|124||Ruby Lane||USA||Collectibles & Antiques||1.2M|
|130||Hip eCommerce||USA||Collectibles & Antiques||666.4K|
|132||ArtFire||USA||Arts, Crafts & Gifts||572.4K|
|134||Hermo||Southeast Asia||Health & Beauty||465.1K|
|140||1st Choice Spares||UK||Auto||281.2K|
|142||Zibbet||USA||Arts, Crafts & Gifts||208.2K|
|143||Folksy||UK||Arts, Crafts & Gifts||178.6K|
|144||Yumbles||UK||Food & Drink||165.1K|
|150||TIAS||USA||Collectibles & Antiques||93.1K|
Estimated monthly visits for February 2020, from SimilarWeb. Traffic to different domains for the same marketplace (e.g. amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, amazon.de etc.) has been combined.
= marketplace and = retailer
It’s no surprise that Amazon and eBay are in the top 3, with Amazon pulling in nearly 6 billion visits per month and eBay getting 1.6 billion. You can find the biggest sellers on these marketplaces in our articles on the world’s top Amazon sellers and the world’s top eBay sellers.
Japan’s PayPay Mall features in second on the list, which may come as a surprise to the many westerners who have never heard of them before.
These three are the only marketplaces to break the one billion visits mark, although Mercado Libre, AliExpress and Rakuten aren’t too far behind with over 600 million visits per month each.
Looking at the Product Category column, the top 20 marketplaces overwhelmingly sell general merchandise, with only four specializing in a specific product category. Etsy is the largest of these marketplaces, underscoring the popularity of handmade and craft items. It’s an incredibly strong niche, especially when you consider that competing marketplaces are trading in mass-produced products such as electronics and clothing.
In the top 20 there is almost a 50/50 split between marketplaces that are retailers themselves, and those that are only marketplaces. The best known retailer with their own marketplace is Amazon, where over 50% of sales are now made by marketplace sellers. But it also includes companies like Walmart, JD.com and Target. These companies have added marketplaces to their existing retail websites, giving shoppers greater product choice and creating price competition between sellers.
When it comes to geographic regions, there is a really diverse mix represented in the top 20. Six are global brands, but there are also marketplaces in Japan, South America, China, North America, Southeast Asia, India and Europe all represented in the top 20.
It’s important to note that this list is ranked by estimated monthly website visits, using SimilarWeb data. While GMV (gross merchandise value) would be an ideal measure of marketplace size, this is not reliably available for most online marketplaces. Traffic data provides a consistent measure of popularity that can be applied to all marketplaces worldwide.
What has changed in 2020?
Three major marketplaces closed down during 2019:
- Pricefalls was acquired by Canada’s largest retailer, Loblaw, for their technology but not the marketplace itself.
- U.K. marketplace Flubit was acquired by cryptocurrency site MonetaryUnit and does not appear to be trading again.
- iOffer closed down amid speculation around counterfeit goods being sold.
There were also a number of high-profile brand changes:
- Amazon acquired Souq.com, and rebranded the Souq UAE site to Amazon.ae. Souq’s Egyptian and Saudi Arabian sites continue to run under the Souq brand.
- Rakuten Brazil has rebranded as GenMarket.
- PayPay Mall was launched in October 2019 and has replaced Yahoo.co.jp.
Top product categories sold by online marketplaces
|#||Product Category||Marketplaces (1)||Visits/month|
|6||Arts, Crafts & Gifts||3||279.0M|
|8||Collectibles & Antiques||2||5.1M|
1 – Includes only marketplaces with more than one million visits per month.
General marketplaces, where a very wide range of products are sold, are by far the most common type, comprising nearly 60% of all marketplaces, and 16 out of the top 20.
Online marketplaces selling mainly fashion take the second spot, despite only being featured first at place number 20 by Zalando.
Electronics, Homewares and Books come next, ranking above Arts, Crafts & Gifts. Although Etsy features at #10 in the overall list, there are only two other marketplace in the Arts, Crafts & Gifts category with more than one million visits per month – the U.K.’s notonthehighstreet and global site 1stdibs.
Fashion online marketplaces
Clothing and accessories are one of the most popular online marketplace niches, and business is booming. Most of these marketplaces have over one million visits per month, with only 2 of the 24 below this mark, and even those have around 800,000 visits.
There are six more fashion marketplaces on our list than last year, demonstrating the growth in this industry. These are Farfetch, Lamoda, the RealReal, Moda Operandi, Micolet, Goxip and Zilingo. Fashion Plaza and Modnique are also operating in this space, but their traffic was not high enough to be included in our list.
Retailers who have added an online marketplace to their website, such as Zalando and ASOS, make up 11 of the 24 fashion marketplaces. The other 13 are pure-play online marketplaces. Interestingly, only one of the newer fashion marketplaces is also a retailer. Does this suggest a change in business model, or perhaps these newer marketplaces will add a retail strand when their business matures?
Most fashion marketplaces are focused on customers in the USA, Europe or worldwide, but Australasia, South America, East Asia, Southeast Asia, India and Russia also feature. We looked into the best places to sell clothes online in a previous article.
Electronics online marketplaces
Electronics is perhaps a surprising product category for marketplaces to target, given that electronic goods are typically commodity products that are easily available and very price-sensitive.
However, for many of these marketplaces the driver is video games rather than electronics in general. Newegg has its roots in PC components and systems for gaming, while G2A.com is an online gaming marketplace, and GAME is a U.K.-based retailer selling video games, consoles and accessories.
While electronics as a whole is a commoditized product category, video gaming is an area with a lot of innovation and enthusiastic communities.
Note that although G2A.com is best known for digital products such as video game registration codes, it does also sell physical products including merchandise and electronics, qualifying it for inclusion here.
Homewares online marketplaces
When it comes to homewares, Wayfair takes the top spot by a large margin.
At #3 on the list, Houzz highlights another important trend creating new online marketplaces, which is the community-driven marketplace. Houzz began as an online community about architecture and interior design, with tools to help users plan renovation and design projects. It later added an online marketplace as well as retailing products itself using a dropshipping model.
Six out of the seven top homewares marketplaces are European. Although Wayfair’s websites in the U.S. and Canada have the highest traffic at over 99 million visits in total, they also have a strong presence in Europe, with a total of 22.6 million visits to its sites in the U.K. and Germany.
Books online marketplaces
Books is perhaps an unlikely category for the fifth spot on this list, simply because it’s difficult to think of buying books online anywhere other than Amazon. For its first four years, Amazon sold nothing but books and marketed itself as “The world’s largest bookstore”. They have come to dominate book sales both online and offline.
So what is keeping online marketplaces selling books alive? There are two main trends:
- Rare books (including antiques and collectibles, as well as out-of-print books)
Retailer Barnes and Nobles takes the top position in this category, closely followed by Amazon-owned AbeBooks. AbeBooks has global coverage, but the majority of the book marketplaces are focused on the U.S., with only Germany’s ZVAB targeting any other region (incidentally ZVAB is AbeBook’s brand in Germany).
Marketplaces with a strong community-driven atmosphere figure several times in the smaller product categories. Examples include:
- Reverb, for musical instruments and related equipment.
- Bandcamp, for bands to sell music and merchandise.
- BrickLink, specializing in collectible Lego.
These marketplaces work because they relate directly to hobbies and pastimes that people are passionate about, and also meet a strong need to trade products that are collectible, esoteric or simply hard to find.
Two product categories which are in some ways similar are:
- Arts, Crafts & Gifts
- Collectibles & Antiques
Etsy, and its much smaller competitors, also tend to have a community feel, although not quite to the extent of Reverb, Bandcamp and BrickLink mentioned above. These include notonthehighstreet and Folksy in the U.K., and ArtFire and Ruby Lane in the U.S.
The release of Amazon Handmade in October 2015, for craftspeople to sell directly through Amazon, competes directly with Etsy, showing just how large this category is.
Top online marketplaces by country and region
1 – Includes only marketplaces with more than one million visits per month.
The largest regions: developed economies and China
North American consumers generate the most traffic to online marketplaces, with nearly 5 billion visits per month, and 50 different marketplaces having 1 million or more visits each.
This is followed by East Asia, primarily China and Japan, with 4.5 billion visits, but a less diverse landscape with only 16 sites having more than 1 million visits each.
European consumers use the most number of different marketplaces – 63 had over 1 million monthly visits and generated a total of over 3.6 billion visits.
Smaller regions: emerging markets and Australasia
After these big three regions, representing most of the developed economies of the world, traffic levels drop substantially.
South America, Southern Asia (primarily India) and Southeast Asia all have between around 500 million and 1 billion visits to online marketplaces each month. The Middle East and Australasia fall into the 100 million to 250 million range. Africa has only 50 million visits to online marketplaces per month, and only 3 marketplaces breaking the one million visits mark.
Online marketplaces in emerging markets
In the developing world, marketplaces are often mobile-centric because consumers are less likely to own a desktop or laptop computer. In 2015, India’s Flipkart went so far as to shut down its mobile website and force users to download their app (although it later reversed this decision).
Ecommerce faces challenges in many developing countries, due to low adoption of credit cards, slow internet access and patchy delivery logistics. Despite that, online marketplaces are growing strongly in all regions, with Southeast Asia, India and Russia leading the way.
Middle Eastern ecommerce is also building up momentum (front-runner Souq was recently acquired by Amazon), and is attracting interest from European online sellers. There are a growing number of affluent consumers there, a demand for western products, and the Middle East is geographically close to Europe.
This table shows the most popular sites used by people based in the U.S. We have only included those with more than one million monthly visits from American customers.
Shoppers based in the U.S. visited numerous different marketplaces – there were 47 with over one million monthly visits.
The U.S. has a richer range of niche marketplaces than Europe, with 51% of U.S. marketplaces focusing on specific product categories versus 44% in Europe. This is particularly highlighted in the top 10, with electronics, homewares, fashion, and crafts all present.
Further down the list, there are multiple websites specializing in fashion, books, homewares, music and even one that sells weapons.
Amazon still dominates in the U.S., and we can see they received a massive 2.3 billion monthly visits from American customers. However, recent reports have seen Amazon’s share of U.S. ecommerce cut from 47% to 37.7%.
This table shows the most popular sites used by consumers in the U.K. We have only included those with more than one million monthly visits from British customers.
Shoppers in the U.K. favored 17 marketplaces, the majority of which are global sites. Amazon and eBay are in the top two positions. Amazon received more monthly traffic than the other 16 marketplaces combined, and is considered the “go-to” site for many British shoppers.
There are several different product categories reflected here – four fashion sites, two crafts sites, two sites selling homewares and two music sites. Perhaps this indicates that customers visit Amazon for most of their requirements, but when it comes to a particular niche that is not well-served by Amazon – such as fashion – they prefer a more specialized site.
Only three of the 17 top marketplaces visited by British shoppers are mainly focused on the U.K. market – notonthehighstreet, GAME and Trouva. The majority are global sites, with a few based in Europe. A surprising entry on the list is Allegro, Poland’s top online marketplace.
This table shows the most popular sites used by Chinese consumers. We have only included those with more than one million monthly visits from Chinese shoppers.
Chinese shoppers visit a variety of different marketplaces. A third of these are Chinese companies and a third are global sites. Regional giant PayPay Mall (Japan) is also popular with Chinese customers. Two Southeast Asian websites (Shopee and Lazada) and the U.S.’s Walmart complete the line-up.
We have categorized JD.com as global using our definition (see About the data), because it has significant sales in East Asia, Southeast Asia and Russia, but it is a Chinese company, headquartered in Beijing.
All of the marketplaces visited by Chinese customers sell a variety of goods and so are categorized as “General”. Five of the 12 in the list are retailers in their own right, in addition to being marketplaces.
This table shows the most popular sites used by people based in Japan. We have only included those with more than one million monthly visits from Japanese customers.
Only three marketplaces are visited by more than a million Japanese shoppers per month – PayPay Mall received a massive 2 billion visits, Amazon 577 million and Rakuten 521 million.
PayPay Mall clearly dominates here, with almost double the traffic received by the other two. PayPay Mall was launched in October 2019 and replaced Yahoo.co.jp.
If we extended the table further, to marketplaces with under one million visits per month, only three more would be added: Houzz, Fruugo and eBay, but each has a comparatively tiny amount of traffic from Japan.
That this list is so top-heavy is fascinating. Japan’s economy is the third-largest in the world after the U.S. and China, yet most of their online marketplace traffic goes to only three sites.
This table shows the most popular sites used by people based in Europe. We have only included those with more than one million monthly visits from European customers.
People across Europe use a huge range of different sites – there are 63 on our list.
Why do European customers use so many online marketplaces? It is likely because Europe consists of many developed economies with good transport, internet and payments infrastructure, but also many different languages and cultural differences.
The most popular marketplace in Europe is Amazon with 1.6 billion monthly visits, and eBay received less than half of this traffic, with 634 million visits.
European traffic quickly tails off after the top two marketplaces, with the next most popular sites being AliExpress and Allegro with 220 and 204 million visits respectively.
It is no surprise that 14 of the top 20 marketplaces visited by European customers specifically target the region and six are global sites.
Three quarters of the top 20 marketplaces visited by European shoppers are categorized as General, selling a wide range of different products. Fashion marketplaces Zalando and ASOS both feature in the top 20, as do Homewares stores ManoMano and Wayfair, and crafts giant Etsy.
This table shows the most popular sites used by shoppers in South America. We have only included those with more than one million monthly visits from South American customers.
The majority of South American traffic goes to only 13 different marketplaces. Mercado Libre takes the top spot here, with Americanas and Amazon taking second and third place. Submarino (owned by the same company as Americanas) features at number six.
South American marketplaces are mainly generalists, with the only exception being fashion retailers Dafiti, Privalia and Farfetch.
The marketplaces in this list mostly focus just on South America, with three categorized as global and one as Southeast Asian.
This table shows the most popular sites used by shoppers in Southeast Asia. We have only included those with more than one million monthly visits from Southeast Asian customers.
The majority of South American traffic goes to 12 different marketplaces. Shopee and Lazada dominate here, with Tokopedia in third place but receiving less than half the traffic of Lazada.
All but one of the Southeast Asian marketplaces are in the General category, with the only exception being fashion retailer Zalora.
The majority of the traffic from Southeast Asia goes to marketplaces targeting that region, but three are categorized as global and two are focused mainly on China.
Most of these marketplaces are not retailers, with only one-third also selling their own goods.
This table shows the most popular sites used by people based in the Middle East. We have only included those with more than one million monthly visits from Middle Eastern customers.
The majority of Middle Eastern traffic goes to only six different marketplaces, half of which are Turkish sites, reflecting Turkey’s rapidly developing economy.
Trendyol, n11 and GittiGidiyor are the three most popular marketplaces visited by shoppers in the Middle East with 80 million, 77 million and 47 million visits respectively.
All these marketplaces sell goods in the General category, and all but one (Amazon) are pure marketplaces with no retail operations of their own.
This table shows the most popular sites used by shoppers in Australia and New Zealand. We have only included those with more than one million monthly visits from Australasian customers.
The majority of Australasian traffic goes to only eight different marketplaces, with eBay and Amazon topping the list. This is the only place we see eBay’s traffic exceeding Amazon’s – eBay receives more than double the traffic of Amazon from customers based in Australasia. Amazon Australia only launched at the end of 2017 so may take more time to gain traction with the Australian market.
Australia also has significant domestic marketplaces Catch.com.au, The Iconic and MyDeal.com.au. New Zealand has a homegrown eBay equivalent in Trade Me, dominating ecommerce in the country. U.S.-based Target also features at the end of the list, with close to 2 million visits.
Two marketplaces are categorized as Fashion (The Iconic and ASOS) and the remainder sell General goods.
This table shows the most popular sites used by people based in Africa. For this table, we have included sites with more than 200 thousand monthly visits from African customers to reflect the developing nature of Africa’s infrastructure and economy.
Africa has probably the greatest challenges for ecommerce of all regions, with many countries and languages, low trust in online payments and very variable logistics. Still, those factors are more consistent in the largest cities, and innovations such as paying by cash in local stores are helping to address these issues.
Jumia and Konga are traditionally thought of as the big two shopping sites used in Africa, and they are unsurprisingly first and third on the list, with Jumia receiving nearly 32 million visits and Konga a much smaller 2.5 million per month.
Souq was acquired by Amazon in 2019 but only Souq’s UAE site has rebranded as Amazon. Souq’s Egyptian site was visited by 16.6 million African shoppers per month, making it second on the list. Monthly visits to Amazon-branded sites from African shoppers only totaled 277 thousand.
All of these marketplaces sell general goods and all but Amazon and Cdiscount are marketplaces only, and not retailers themselves.
About the data
This is the second edition of the World’s Top Online Marketplaces.
The lists are ranked by estimated website visits, based on SimilarWeb data for February 2020. Traffic to different domains for the same marketplace (e.g. amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, amazon.de etc.) has been combined and allocated to the top five countries in which the traffic has been generated. Marketplaces with no traffic data have been excluded.
While GMV (gross merchandise value) would be an ideal measure of marketplace size, this is not reliably available for most online marketplaces. Traffic data provides a consistent measure of popularity that can be applied to all marketplaces worldwide.
“Online marketplaces” are defined in the main text above. We have excluded some marketplaces which are only a small part of the overall offering from much larger websites. These include Facebook Marketplace, Google Shopping Actions and Groupon Goods. It is not possible to separate marketplace traffic from other website traffic for these sites.
We have not included app-only marketplaces such as WeShop, Shop Seam and Pinduoduo due to a lack of reliable traffic data.
We define a marketplace as “global” if it:
- Sells worldwide, with no specific country targeting; or
- Targets five or more countries across three or more major geographic regions.
For companies that own multiple marketplaces, we have included them separately if they use different brands. For example, eBay-owned Gmarket and GittiGidiyor have their own unique branding so are included separately. Where brands are simply localized for different countries, they are included with the main brand. For example, AbeBooks is known as IberLibro in Spain, but the brand is identical in every other way.
Have we missed any marketplaces or made any mistakes? Do you have any questions? Let us know in the comments below!