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Australia absent from global e-commerce rankings

While Wesfarmers and Woolworths held their ground as the only two Australian-owned and operated businesses in an annual ranking of the world’s 250 largest retailers, Aussie names were entirely absent from a shorter list of the world’s largest e-retailers.*

According to Deloitte’s 2017 Global Powers of Retailing Report, the vast majority of the 50 biggest e-commerce companies are based  in the US (26) or Europe (19), with just a handful coming from other regions of the world (4 from China and 1 from Brazil). No Antipodean retailers made the list.

“The challenge is that Australia is a relatively small market, so in order to grow, they’ll need to expand to other major retail markets like the US, UK and Asia,” Deloitte’s national retail leader David White told Internet Retailing.

Amazon topped the e-retailer rankings for the fourth year in a row, with an estimated US$79.3 billion in online retail sales in FY2015 (excluding third party sales). This put it well ahead of the next biggest e-commerce company, China’s pureplay online retailer, which had nearly US$27 billion in sales in FY2015.

US retail giant Apple ranked third, with US$24.4 billion. And despite just US$13.7 billion, or 2.8 per cent, of total retail revenue coming from online sales, Walmart’s scale secured it a spot in fourth.

Rounding out the top five with just over $8 billion online retail sales, China’s Suning Commerce Group unseated the German mail order company Otto for the first time since Deloitte began ranking the 50 biggest e-retailers in 2014.

Five companies also dropped off the list, including Russia’s e-retail leader Ulmart, French international retail group Auchan and US retailers Newegg, Lands’ End and Toys ‘R’ Us.

It’s notable that 40 of the top 50 e-commerce companies also appeared on Deloitte’s ranking of the 250 largest retailers in the world. Walmart topped that list, while Amazon broke into the top 10 for the first time this year.

E-commerce is the primary driver of revenue growth for many of the top 250 retailers, according to the Deloitte report. And although the pace of online growth has slowed, more retail sales are shifting to digital channels.

In FY2015, e-commerce accounted for 8.7 per cent of the combined retail revenue of the world’s largest 250 retailers, compared to 7.6 per cent in FY2014.

This presents the most likely scenario for an Australian retailer to appear on the list of top 50 e-retailers in future, according to White.

“Wesfarmers and Woolworths are investing significantly in their online platform. And food and agriculture is where we’re more competitive with exports. That’s the most likely area [for an Australian company to rank as a top 50 e-retailer] in the short term,” he said.

White doesn’t see change occurring at the top of the e-retailer rankings anytime soon: “It will take a number of years to dislodge the top 10 or 20.”

Meanwhile, White suggested Deloitte may do away with the separate retailer and e-retailer rankings altogether.

“It’s something we’ve been debating. We’ve been putting out this report for 20 years, and the role of e-commerce has changed a lot in that time. We’ll be thinking about how we present that going forward.”

*Deloitte defines e-retailing as B2C e-commerce, where the business owns the inventory and sales are made directly to the consumer. It excludes from its ranking companies that primarily operate as e-marketplaces or facilitators that aggregate many sellers, since their venues are largely derived from fees or sales commissions from third parties, rather than directly from the sale of goods. 

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