March 7, 2021

Amazon v Alibaba; numbers and statistics

Dr Peter Mowforth

While there are plenty of opportunities for small online niche players and SME’s to sell online directly to their customers, the lion's share is increasingly getting taken by a small handful of of online players.Within this small group of elite players, there are two stand-out titans; Amazon and Alibaba. Each represent the two largest and most powerful countries in the world, The US and China. With trading turnovers far greater than the vast majority of countries, these two companies are increasingly locked in a trade war. Here’s a brief rundown on the key stats between the two contenders for the control of Global trade.The following table provides a numbers review for Alibaba and Amazon each in the home countries.

In 2013, two of Alibaba's websites handled $240 billion in sales - that's double the size of Amazon and triple the size of eBay {ref}.In 2016, Amazon accounted for 53% of US online sales growth and accounted for 6x sales volume of the next 8 largest online retailers {ref}. Today, more US shoppers start their retail journey on Amazon than on Google.In 2017, Amazon purchased WholeFoods and so positioned itself for taking on the supermarkets for the food and drinks market {ref}.In 2017, Alipay (owned 50% by Jack Ma) has been positioning itself to potentially dominate the financial services market {ref}.Both China and the US have Governments that will use and interpret the law so as to favour their own local suppliers (Amazon in the US and Alibaba in China). Both Amazon and Alibaba are aggressively expanding their products and services globally both through organic marketing and acquisition. Which of the two is currently more successful in trade is a matter for debate.The single most interesting business development likely over the next year will be the Alipay IPO via Jack Ma’s Ant Financial {ref}. This has been held back while the Chinese Government appraises the consequences (along with it’s potential stake holding) for this transformation of the Chinese financial services and banking sector. I will be surprised if this isn’t one of the biggest serious business stories of 2018.

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