Factors Behind the Explosive Growth of Marketplace Sales

Marketplaces 21/05/2024
Online sales through marketplaces have multiplied exponentially over the past year, with some seeing growth of up to 26%. We analyze the factors behind this trend and its potential impact on the strategies of the various players in the e-commerce world.

Fully immersed in the so-called digital age, also known as the information age, which originated around the middle of the 20th century, e-commerce has been experiencing unprecedented growth for decades, redefining the way in which people buy and sell products all over the world. In this context, marketplaces have proliferated massively, emerging to become the undisputed protagonists over the last few years, registering a constant growth that has revolutionized the world of e-commerce.

Thanks to their ability to offer a wide range of products in a single virtual space, marketplaces have democratized access to e-commerce, currently led by giants such as Amazon, eBay, Temu or AliExpress, and complemented by a host of more specialized platforms. Marketplaces have also changed the habits of consumers, who seem to feel very comfortable in a space where they can find and access an infinite number of products, compare their features and prices without limitations, and purchase them with the click of a button.

In addition, marketplaces have opened their doors to sellers of all sizes and segments, who can now reach and impact a global audience, without the need for costly infrastructure, worrying about logistics or investing in the creation of their own platform.

A clear example of this consolidation of the online market can be found in cases such as Decathlon. This French group, which specializes in sports equipment, closed its 2023 fiscal year with more than 900 million euros in revenue, from the sale of a total of 1.19 billion items worldwide. Online sales accounted for 17.4% of the group's total turnover, up 0.7% on the previous year.

For its part, the Carrefour supermarket network, which also has its own online marketplace, ratified this upward trend, posting a net profit of 1,659 million euros last year, up 23.1% on the previous year. In addition, thanks to the implementation of digital strategies, online sales grew by 26% compared to 2022.

Something similar happened in the United States with Walmart, the supermarket and warehouse chain known for its popular discounts. In 2023, this North American department store marked a historic milestone with record sales that reached 600 billion dollars, representing a 6% growth during the fiscal year. Much of this sales success can be attributed to the online channel, where the brand surpassed $100 billion in sales.

Another important example is the Douglas marketplace, which has also jumped on the bandwagon of the success of the online sales channel. In the fourth quarter of 2008, the perfumery chain generated sales of 1.5 million euros, 33% of which came from online sales.

Changing the landscape of buying trends

The world of e-commerce is here to stay, and the new work and social structures favor its consolidation. Telecommuting has been identified as one of the main factors that have boosted online shopping, as consumers can spend more time researching on the Web before paying. In fact, experts point to a 65% increase in online consumption, a figure they link directly to the growth of remote workers.

This situation has led to a surge in e-commerce, which now represents 58% of total consumer spending. A figure that, according to the forecasts of the VLM Future Shopper Report, will not remain so for long. The report's authors predict that this figure will rise to 64% over the next decade.

The growth of social commerce

The consolidation of social networks and platforms such as Instagram and TikTok have perfected the art of creating demand by exposing customers to products they didn't even know existed, but which they suddenly crave.

The growth of social commerce has had a profound impact on traditional marketplace dynamics, challenging established metrics and reshaping consumer behavior. For businesses, this form of e-commerce, with its vast user base and high segmentation capacity, represents a great opportunity to engage customers in innovative ways. With Generation Z as the main target, social commerce is a new approach to the buying process that fits their consumer habits and digital preferences like a glove.

Such is the success of social networks that even marketplaces want a piece of the action. For example, Meta has partnered with Amazon to integrate shopping capabilities into its various platforms. As a result of this agreement, users will now be able to shop on Amazon through Instagram and Facebook without interrupting their social media experience.

The future of shopping is characterized by seamless integration across channels, the growing importance of social commerce, and an evolving consumer mindset driven by telecommuting, sustainability, and digital innovation.

The future of marketplaces

As e-commerce continues to evolve, marketplaces will continue to play a key role. Thanks to the increasing integration of technologies, platforms are in a constant process of improvement, with the goal of providing users with an increasingly personalized shopping experience.

Expansion into new markets and diversification of offerings will continue to be strategic keys to the rise of online sales. The versatility of these platforms and their use of specialized tools will allow them to adapt to changing consumer demand and market trends, using data from both users and sellers. Knowing the number of visits to a product, the browsing habits of potential customers, or what competitors are offering, among many other indicators, will help marketplaces continue to differentiate themselves and shape consumption patterns.

In this complex context, we need to be aware of the incalculable value of data. That is why DIP Insights, our 360º digital intelligence platform, has become the ultimate ally for every player in the world of e-commerce. From retailers to manufacturers, from wholesalers to marketplaces. It allows you to build a solid pricing strategy, position yourself ahead of your competitors, create personalised offers, control stock and identify unauthorised sellers or counterfeit products, as well as analyse your visibility and online reputation by studying ratings and reviews. All with a view to making better decisions and improving your bottom line.