By Kate Merton
Globally, 47% of ecommerce sales were made through online marketplaces in 2020, amounting to nearly two trillion dollars. Given a dramatic boost by the COVID-19 pandemic, this 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 155 marketplaces that have more than one million visits per month, then we look at the most popular product categories, and the best-served 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?
- The world’s top online marketplaces
- What has changed in 2021?
- Top product categories sold by online marketplaces
- Top online marketplaces by country and region
- About the data
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 sites where you sell used products directly to the company operating the site, such as decluttr and ubup. As you can only sell directly to the company, 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 digital downloads or 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
|3||Mercado Libre||Latin America||General||683.9M|
|8||Etsy||Global||Arts, Crafts & Gifts||391.8M|
|14||Wayfair||North America, Europe||Homewares||179.1M|
|61||Barnes and Noble||USA||Books||22.5M|
|64||Best Buy Canada||Canada||Electronics||20.3M|
|67||Trade Me||New Zealand||General||18.2M|
|72||Rue du Commerce||France||General||16.8M|
|100||Privalia||Brazil, Mexico, Italy, Spain||Fashion||7.9M|
|110||Desert Cart||Middle East||General||6.2M|
|112||Vestiaire Collective||USA, Europe||Fashion||5.9M|
|113||1stdibs||Global||Arts, Crafts & Gifts||5.0M|
|116||notonthehighstreet||UK||Arts, Crafts & Gifts||4.7M|
|121||Delcampe||Global||Collectibles & Antiques||3.8M|
|122||Rue La La||USA||Fashion||3.8M|
|134||eCRATER||USA, UK, Australia||General||2.5M|
|145||Biblio.com||USA, UK, AU, NZ||Books||1.8M|
|148||Ruby Lane||USA||Collectibles & Antiques||1.7M|
|149||Nature & Découvertes||France||Homewares||1.6M|
Estimated monthly visits for April 2021, from SimilarWeb. Traffic to different domains for the same marketplace (e.g. amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, amazon.de etc.) has been combined.
Key: = marketplace and = retailer
It’s no surprise that Amazon and eBay top the list, with Amazon pulling in over five billion visits per month and eBay getting 1.7 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.
Latin America’s Mercado Libre is third on the list, which may come as a surprise to the many westerners who have never heard of them before.
Only Amazon and eBay break the one billion visits mark, although Mercado Libre, Rakuten and AliExpress aren’t too far behind with over 500 million visits per month each.
Looking at the product categories, the top 20 marketplaces overwhelmingly sell general merchandise, with only three 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 a 40/60 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. Four are global brands, but there are also marketplaces in Japan, Latin 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 2021?
Two major marketplaces closed down during 2020:
- Jet.com was acquired by Walmart in 2016, then shut down in June 2020 as Walmart’s own ecommerce operations, including its marketplace, enjoyed record growth.
- Southeast Asia’s fashion marketplace Zilingo has become a B2B-only company.
Minor marketplace closures included:
- GenMarket, the Brazilian division of Rakuten.
- ttHigo, which was Newegg’s Chinese marketplace.
- Pixmania, a French electronics retailer which had been in decline for several years.
- British crafts marketplace oodlique.
- US marketplaces sell.com, Modnique and uBid all closed or changed their business models.
There were also a number of high-profile brand and company changes:
- Amazon launched websites in Sweden and Poland and rebranded Souq in Saudi Arabia to Amazon.sa. Souq’s Egyptian site continues to run under the Souq brand.
- Germany’s Real.de is now Kaufland.de.
- Romanian online retailer eMAG’s marketplace in Poland has been taken over by local online retailer Morele.
- Used fashion marketplace Poshmark launched in Australia.
- Rakuten pulled back from the US, Germany, Spain and Brazil. It now operates only in Japan and Taiwan.
Top product categories sold by online marketplaces
|#||Product Category||Marketplaces (1)||Visits/month|
|3||Arts, Crafts & Gifts||3||402.5M|
|10||Collectibles & Antiques||2||6.4M|
|11||Toys & Baby||2||6.0M|
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 17 out of the top 20.
Online marketplaces selling mainly fashion take the second spot, despite only being featured at number 20 in the main list, with Zalando.
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The Arts, Crafts & Gifts category comes next, although this is mainly down to Etsy. Only two other marketplaces feature in this category – the UK’s notonthehighstreet and global site 1stdibs. Last year, Electronics, Homewares and Books all ranked above Arts, Crafts & Gifts, but the explosive growth of Etsy in 2020 has moved the entire category with it.
Fashion online marketplaces
|17||Privalia||Brazil, Mexico, Italy, Spain||7.9M|
|21||Vestiaire Collective||USA, Europe||5.9M|
|22||Rue La La||USA||3.8M|
Clothing and accessories are one of the most popular online marketplace niches. Retailers who have added an online marketplace to their website, such as Zalando and ASOS, make up 15 of the 31 fashion marketplaces. The other 16 are pure-play online marketplaces.
Most fashion marketplaces are focused on customers in the USA, Europe, Latin America or worldwide, but Australia, Southeast Asia, Japan, India and Russia also feature. We looked into the best places to sell clothes online in a previous article.
Homewares online marketplaces
|1||Wayfair||North America, Europe||179.1M|
|7||Nature & Découvertes||France||1.6M|
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.
Five out of the seven top homewares marketplaces are European. Although Wayfair’s websites in the US and Canada have the highest traffic at over 147 million visits in total, they also have a strong presence in Europe, with a total of 32.6 million visits to its sites in the UK and Germany.
Electronics online marketplaces
|2||Best Buy Canada||Canada||20.3M|
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 UK-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.
Books online marketplaces
|1||Barnes and Noble||USA||22.5M|
|3||Biblio.com||USA, UK, AU, NZ||1.8M|
Books is perhaps an unlikely category for 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 US, with only Germany’s ZVAB targeting any other region (incidentally ZVAB is AbeBook’s brand in Germany).
Note that textbook marketplaces eCampus.com and TextbooksRush do not feature here as they have under one million visits per month. Perhaps as students return to classrooms their traffic will increase.
Community-driven online marketplaces
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 UK, and ArtFire and Ruby Lane in the US.
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 top four regions
North American consumers generate the most traffic to online marketplaces, with 4.4 billion visits per month, and 55 different marketplaces having one million or more visits each.
This is followed by Europe, which has the highest number of different marketplaces – 68 had over one million monthly visits and generated a total of over 3.7 billion visits from European shoppers.
Third in the table is East Asia, primarily China and Japan, with 2.3 billion visits, but a less diverse landscape with only 17 sites having more than one million visits each.
Fourth is Latin America, with 1.3 billion visits per month from 19 different online marketplaces.
Smaller regions: emerging markets and Australasia
After these big four regions, which include most of the developed economies of the world, traffic levels drop substantially.
Southeast Asia and Southern Asia (primarily India) both have over 500 million visits to online marketplaces each month. The Middle East and Australasia fall into the 100 million to 500 million range. Africa has only 52 million visits to online marketplaces per month, and just six 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 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.
|4||Etsy||Global||Arts, Crafts & Gifts||238.4M|
|6||Wayfair||North America, Europe||Homewares||122.5M|
|16||Barnes and Noble||USA||Books||19.3M|
|30||Mercado Libre||Latin America||General||4.6M|
|32||Rue La La||USA||Fashion||3.4M|
|34||1stdibs||Global||Arts, Crafts & Gifts||3.2M|
|42||eCRATER||USA, UK, Australia||General||1.7M|
|49||Ruby Lane||USA||Collectibles & Antiques||1.3M|
|50||Desert Cart||Middle East||General||1.3M|
|52||Vestiaire Collective||USA, Europe||Fashion||1.0M|
This table shows the most popular sites used by people based in the US. We have only included those with more than one million monthly visits from American customers.
Shoppers based in the US visited numerous different marketplaces – there were 53 with over one million monthly visits.
The US has a richer range of niche marketplaces than Europe, with 53% of US marketplaces focusing on specific product categories versus 47% in Europe. This is particularly apparent in the top ten, with homewares, fashion, and crafts all present. Further down the list, there are multiple websites specializing in fashion, books, homewares, music and sports.
Amazon still dominates in the US, and we can see they received a massive two billion monthly visits from American customers.
Also see Online Marketplaces in the USA: Amazon is Not The Only Show in Town.
|3||Etsy||Global||Arts, Crafts & Gifts||36.0M|
|4||Wayfair||North America, Europe||Homewares||24.1M|
|10||notonthehighstreet||UK||Arts, Crafts & Gifts||4.0M|
This table shows the most popular sites used by consumers in the UK. We have only included those with more than one million monthly visits from British customers.
Shoppers in the UK favored 19 marketplaces, the majority of which are global sites. Amazon and eBay are in the top two positions. Amazon received more monthly traffic than the next ten marketplaces combined, and is considered the “go-to” site for many British shoppers.
There are several different product categories reflected here – six fashion sites, two crafts sites, three 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 top marketplaces visited by British shoppers are mainly focused on the UK market – OnBuy, notonthehighstreet and GAME. The majority are global sites, with a few based in Europe.
Also see Online Marketplaces in the UK: Amazon and eBay Dominate.
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. Half of these are Chinese companies and two are global sites. Regional giant Rakuten (Japan) is also popular with Chinese customers. Two Southeast Asian websites (Shopee and Lazada) along with eBay complete the line-up.
All of the marketplaces visited by Chinese customers sell a variety of goods and so are categorized as “General”. Four of the ten in the list are retailers in their own right, in addition to being marketplaces.
Also see Online Marketplaces in China: The Land of The Giants.
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 six marketplaces are visited by more than one million Japanese shoppers per month – Amazon is top with 556 million visits, Rakuten has 544 million and Mercari has 75 million.
Japan has a surprisingly narrow range of popular online marketplaces, despite being a developed economy and the third-largest by GMV globally.
Also see Online Marketplaces in Japan: Rakuten, Amazon and PayPay Mall.
This table shows the most popular sites used by people based in India. We have only included those with more than one million monthly visits from Indian customers.
Amazon tops the list, with 296 million monthly visits from Indian consumers. Walmart-owned Flipkart has 167 million visits per month.
The majority of these online marketplaces are Indian companies, and all but Pepperfry are pure-play online marketplaces without retail operations of their own in India. For foreign-owned companies such as Amazon, Indian regulations forbid them from selling online directly – they are only allowed to operate a marketplace.
Also see Online Marketplaces in India: Amazon and Walmart Evenly Matched.
|9||Etsy||Global||Arts, Crafts & Gifts||59.1M|
|17||Wayfair||North America, Europe||Homewares||32.4M|
|22||Rue du Commerce||France||General||16.4M|
|47||notonthehighstreet||UK||Arts, Crafts & Gifts||4.1M|
|49||Privalia||Brazil, Mexico, Italy, Spain||Fashion||3.9M|
|52||Delcampe||Global||Collectibles & Antiques||3.0M|
|54||Vestiaire Collective||USA, Europe||Fashion||2.7M|
|65||Mercado Libre||Latin America||General||1.6M|
|66||Nature & Découvertes||France||Homewares||1.5M|
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 68 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 1.4 billion monthly visits. eBay’s traffic is around half of this, with 665 million visits.
European traffic quickly tails off after the top two marketplaces, with the next most popular sites being Allegro and AliExpress with 186 and 181 million visits respectively.
Twelve of the top 20 marketplaces visited by European customers specifically target the region (or individual European countries) while the remainder are global sites.
70% of the top 20 marketplaces are categorized as General, selling a wide range of different products. Fashion marketplaces Zalando, Vinted and ASOS both feature in the top 20, as do Homewares stores ManoMano and Wayfair, and crafts giant Etsy.
Also see Online Marketplaces in Europe: Dynamic, Diverse and Disjointed.
|1||Mercado Libre||Latin America||General||667.7M|
|17||Privalia||Brazil, Mexico, Italy, Spain||Fashion||3.9M|
This table shows the most popular sites used by shoppers in Latin America. We have only included those with more than one million monthly visits from Latin American customers.
The majority of Latin American traffic goes to 19 different marketplaces. Mercado Libre takes the top spot here, with Amazon and Americanas taking second and third place. Submarino (owned by the same company as Americanas) features at number 11.
Latin American marketplaces are split between generalists and fashion retailers, which include Dafiti, Netshoes, Zattini, Privalia, Kanui and Tricae.
Ten marketplaces on this list focus on Brazil. Only four have a wider Latin American market, three are categorized as global and one is Southeast Asian.
Also see Online Marketplaces in Latin America: Mercado Libre the Clear Leader.
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 Southeast Asian traffic goes to 13 different marketplaces. Shopee, Tokopedia and Lazada dominate here, with Bukalapak in fourth place but receiving less than a quarter of 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 the region, but two are categorized as global and two are focused mainly on China.
Also see Online Marketplaces in Southeast Asia: A Unique Region for Ecommerce.
|7||Desert Cart||Middle East||General||1.1M|
This table shows the most popular sites used by shoppers 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 seven different marketplaces, four of which are Turkish sites, reflecting Turkey’s rapidly developing economy.
Trendyol, Hepsiburada and n11 are the three most popular marketplaces visited by shoppers in the Middle East with 199 million, 93 million and 48 million visits respectively. Amazon is only a little way behind, with 46 million monthly visits showing its growing foothold in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
All these marketplaces sell goods in the General category, and all but two (Amazon and noon) are pure marketplaces with no retail operations of their own.
Also see Online Marketplaces in the Middle East: It’s Only Just Getting Started.
|3||Trade Me||New Zealand||General||17.7M|
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 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. US-based Target also features at the end of the list, but with only one million visits.
Two marketplaces are categorized as Fashion (The Iconic and ASOS) and the remainder sell General goods.
Also see Online Marketplaces in Australia and New Zealand: eBay and Trade Me Lead.
This table shows the most popular sites used by people based in Africa. For this table, we have included sites with more than 250 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.
Africa-wide marketplace Jumia is first on the list, with 23.3 million visits per month. Next is South Africa’s Takealot.com with 10.5 million monthly visits and then Souq with 10 million. Souq is now owned by Amazon but continues to operate in Egypt under its own brand. Nigeria’s Konga is fourth with 2.3 million visits per month.
Most of these marketplaces sell general goods, with fashion website Zando the only exception. Many of the sites are retailers themselves as well as marketplaces, with just Jumia, bidorbuy and Kilimall adopting a pure-play marketplace model.
Also see Online Marketplaces in Africa: Fast Growth, Enormous Potential.
About the data
This is the third edition of the World’s Top Online Marketplaces.
The lists are ranked by estimated website visits, based on SimilarWeb data for April 2021. 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 from which the traffic was generated. Marketplaces with under 50,000 monthly visits have been excluded entirely and only websites with more than one million visits per month are listed (except for Africa).
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 and Buy on Google. 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 and Shop Seam 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.