How 10 Marketplaces From Amazon to Tmall Are Coping With COVID-19

George Hatch

June 17, 2020

It’s old news that ecommerce has changed as a result of COVID-19, causing new trends to emerge and a surge in online grocery. And while some ecommerce platforms were already in the process of introducing innovations to their platforms that happened to coincide with the pandemic (we’re looking at you, Walmart Fulfillment Services), all ecommerce platforms have had to think on their feet.

Here, we’ve gathered all the need-to-know information on innovations different marketplaces tried (and occasionally failed) in the first quarter coinciding with the pandemic, how things went, and what the future of ecommerce on these platforms looks like for now.

Amazon

It’s easy to say that Amazon has led out when it comes to ecommerce marketplace response to COVID-19, with a 24% increase in sales just Q1—its fastest growth in four years.

Initially, like every other platform it seemed, Amazon was overwhelmed by demand for items like masks, hand sanitizer, and so on. Amazon’s response to the pandemic was to first suspend shipment for “nonessentials” in mid-March, lifting the suspension for all items last month, and its grocery feature has seen a lot of demand—which is great, but only if Amazon can keep up with supply. At the beginning of April, went as far as removing its deals page, product recommendations, and “frequently bought together” to encourage shoppers to buy less.

However, Amazon has since recovered from all of these setbacks, bringing back the deals page, product recommendations, and fast shipping for non-essentials.

What will really determine Amazon’s success, it seems, is how it treats its workers—without them, the system doesn’t run, and Amazon continues to make headlines about safety for warehouse workers, with workers testing positive for the virus and at least one death.

This isn’t the first time Amazon has dealt with controversy over labor conditions, and it seems doubtful that people will stop relying on the ecommerce giant to deliver necessities out of moral obligation. However, if Amazon’s workers continue to protest, breaking down Amazon’s fulfillment, consumers may turn to other channels simply because they can’t get their items shipped.

**Best Buy **

On April 15, a business update from Best Buy stated online sales were up 250% year-over-year, as more customers began to use a mix of delivery and curbside pickup, with each representing about half of total online sales.

In March, the company suspended in-home delivery, installation, and repairs, and switched to curbside service only. Despite this, the CEO said the company had maintained 70% of sales Y/Y.

In an article by Barron’s, an analyst suggested Best Buy is better positioned than most to recover from the pandemic because of its tech focus and growing services business. Also, as more workers in the U.S. are being allowed to work from home indefinitely, there will likely continue to be an uptick in sales for home goods, including electronics, which of course is Best Buy’s specialty.

eBay

Just like other online marketplaces, eBay has seen significant growth since the pandemic, pulling in record numbers by eBay standards. eBay GMV is expected to grow between 23% and 26% in Q2, well above it’s 2% average since 2016.

eBay reported a revenue of $2.4 billion in Q1, but is likely to have a net increase of $5 billion since Q2 2019. Since mid-March, eBay reported seeing strength in traffic, acquisition, conversion, sold items, and GMV, in part because of customers’ new-found interest in the platform and Amazon’s focus on essential items. The platform also saw an uptick in small business sellers.

In the U.S., eBay is helping retailers open up shop as quickly as possible, according to one report, and in the U.K. it’s been involved in building a PPE platform. In the meantime, eBay has seen some negative effects as a result of advertising slowing down and removed over 15 million listings because of price gouging or false claims.

eBay has worked to continuously update sellers and consumers about safety precautions and shipping delays. Because eBay relies on individual sellers shipping their own items via FedEx and USPS, it is not experiencing the same supply chain issues as Amazon.

The one issue eBay is dealing with is price gouging, or people taking advantage of concerned consumers. Since February, the marketplace has been working to remove listings and prevent sellers from charging outrageous prices for goods.

Etsy

Etsy is one marketplace that has seen record performance during the pandemic, growing 140% in May after 100% growth in April. Plus, 165K new sellers joined in May—double the average.

When high-demand items ran out on places like Amazon or Walmart, people turned to the individual makers and sellers on Etsy; in the meantime, people who are furloughed or out of work or just looking for ways to fill their time have monetized their skills on Etsy in droves.

The number one item people were looking for? Face masks. Etsy sent a push notification to its sellers encouraging them to make face masks, and at one point, people were searching for face masks on Etsy nine times per second, according to Marketplace Pulse.

There doesn’t seem to be anything negative in the news around Etsy, and in the new normal, the marketplace could continue to fill needs that aren’t met or can’t be met by larger marketplaces.

Google Shopping

Google is great at a lot of things, but so far, ecommerce is not one of them. It made headlines in April when it announced retailers and brands could list their products for free on Google Shopping; prior to April, merchants had to pay Google every time someone clicked on their Google Shopping listing.

Relevant items for sale have been attached to searches since 2002, with a service called “Froogle” that was overhauled and turned into Google Shopping in 2012.

According to Marketplace Pulse, Google Shopping has around 4,500 active retailers and brands, but it has yet to address the problems it originally had. For some excellent scathing remarks, read the Marketplace Pulse article we referenced. But otherwise, we wouldn’t call Google Shopping a contender at this time. Read some more of our thoughts on Google Shopping here.

**Shopify **

Canadian-based Shopify is a bit of a dark horse. The $83 billion company helps one million companies in over 175 countries build and run online stores, from small brands to Kylie Jenner’s cosmetics line.

During the pandemic, Shopify has introduced a new money management solution specifically for small businesses, made a new cryptocurrency partnership, and launched a consumer shopping app, aptly called Shop. While the money management solution seems pretty great, the app—an updated and rebranded version of Shopify’s original package tracking app—is somewhat clunky in its function, with no clear appeal to consumers looking to shop.

Shopify isn’t exactly a marketplace (it’s more of a platform), so it can’t really be compared to the others on this list—but it’s here because it offers alternative routes for brands, big and small, to sell their products. All in all, the future of Shopify looks bright, even if it has a few kinks to work out.

Target

At just over a year old, Target’s marketplace is the youngest on this list, and one of the smallest with 109 merchants and less than 200,000 products. While Marketplace Pulse suggests Target has not yet applied the things that make it great to its marketplace, its marketplace still saw tremendous usage this first quarter.

According to a business update in April, digital sales trended up 275% from April 2019, with the majority of consumers buying from Essentials and Food, and Apparel and Accessories suffering, on par with other ecommerce trends.

Overall, Target has been a strong performer during the pandemic, the report said, in part because of extended delivery windows on Amazon. Target is hardly a contender for Walmart and Amazon, but it doesn’t really seem like it’s trying to be. There is power in being consistent though, and Target has made it a point to seek out small businesses and help them grow, which could prove to be a boon both to small business owners and to the Target brand.

Read more about Target marketplace trends here.

Walmart.com

Last, but certainly not least is the No. 2 contender for the No. 1 marketplace. Like Amazon and eBay, Walmart had a problem with coronavirus-inspired fraud, but it’s also made leaps and bounds with its online grocery and recently launched fulfillment service.

In fact, as recent as this month—Walmart may have pulled into the No. 1 spot, outperforming both Amazon AND eBay. Not only did Walmart.com see a 55% traffic increase in April (compared to just 15% on both eBay and Amazon), but the Walmart app became the No. 1 most downloaded app in the shopping category in mid-May. From January to April 5, the app saw a 460% increase in average daily downloads.

Walmart also added 50% more sellers from April-May, and third-party sellers are reaping rewards from the growth too. It seems the problems that have plagued Amazon with fulfillment have been a non-issue for Walmart, which had the infrastructure in place for WFS in place long before it launched.

We could go on, but long story short: Walmart is killing it.

MercadoLibre

Like other marketplaces, MercadoLibre saw huge increases in purchases of necessities, such as homecare and laundry products, specifically a 403% increase in March, according to Statista. Sales in “mass-consumption products” and pharmaceuticals also rose by over 100% each.

In response to the pandemic, MercadoLibre announced it would waive fees for sellers of “necessity products.” Reporting on Q1 2020, it seems that MercadoLibre is functioning relatively normally, with on-time deliveries and fully operational storage centers.

Tmall/Alibaba and JD.com

Since the outbreak started in China, Chinese marketplaces have been at the forefront when it comes to innovation to meet customer supply and demand.

Like marketplaces around the world, ecommerce in China saw a surge in demand for groceries and other necessities. JD.com and Alibaba both got creative and have continued to innovate to meet consumer demand while supporting sellers—for instance, collaborating with alcohol brands to bring virtual nightlife to people in isolation, and now, offering bookings for COVID-19 tests.

As China slowly relaxes preventative measures, it is likely that consumers who have come to depend on ecommerce for their everyday needs will continue to do so as part of their new normal.

Looking to the future

So there you have it. Some marketplaces, namely Amazon, are recovering, while others, like Walmart and Etsy, are thriving. Some are worth watching, like Shopify and Target, while still others have yet to prove their worth, like Google Shopping. International marketplaces like MercadoLibre and Tmall are all responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in different ways in their respective markets.

If you’re an established brand looking to grow your ecommerce business or expand to global marketplaces, contact Pattern using the form below.

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Sept 6, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 6th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon announces new inventory and distribution service, AWD Amazon has launched Amazon Warehousing and Distribution (AWD), providing inventory and distribution services to its sellers as a means of addressing current supply chain issues. AWD is now available for sellers using Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA), i.e. outsourcing their fulfilment to the platform. Amazon has plans to expand the service outside the platform in 2023. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/02/amazon-introduces-new-service-to-help-solve-supply-chain-challenges/) Amazon Web Services (AWS) launches in the UAE AWS, Amazon’s cloud-computing platform offering, has launched its second region in the Middle East and now provides its services in the UAE. The move will now allow anyone in the UAE who utilises cloud technologies to harness AWS’s advanced platforms and APIs. An estimated $11 billion USD is expected to be added to the UAE’s GDP thanks to the implementation, with an average of 6,000 external vendor jobs to be created annually. AWS is now available in 87 zones across 27 regions, with sights set on expanding further across Australia, Canada, India, Israel, New Zealand, Spain, and Switzerland. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/30/amazon-web-services-launches-region-in-uae/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Lazada to launch in Europe Alibaba-owned ecommerce platform Lazada is set to launch in Europe, marking a refreshed internationalisation push from the company. The move follows toughening economic conditions and performance in Southeast Asia, advancing the need to tap overseas markets. In Europe, Lazada will face tough competition from giants like Amazon and Zalando. Lazada’s exact entry strategy is to be confirmed and will be reliant on macroeconomic and market conditions, according to Lazada CEO James Dong. [Read more on DigitalCommerce360](https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/2022/09/01/alibabas-lazada-to-take-on-amazon-zalando-in-europe-push/) Chinese ecommerce giant Pinduoduo to launch cross-border platform in the United States Pinduoduo, a Chinese ecommerce giant rivalling Alibaba and JD, has announced it will be launching a new cross-border ecommerce platform. The marketplace is set to launch in the United States next month, as part of the company’s larger push into new markets. Pinduoduo found success in China thanks to its rock-bottom price offerings and harnessing of social commerce marketing, emulating strategies similar to fast-fashion giant Shein. [Read more on Yahoo Finance](https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/pinduoduo-launch-international-e-commerce-034129263.html) Alibaba launches its biggest B2B sales event, ‘Super September’ China ecommerce giant, Alibaba, has now launched its month-long B2B sales event ‘Super September’. The event provides 40 million buyers and 200,000 suppliers with the ability to connect on the platform, showcasing a ‘virtually unlimited’ number of products. The event hopes to foster new cross-border business relationships to tackle supply chain challenges currently faced by businesses. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/01/alibaba-launches-super-september-b2b-sales-event/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Klarna’s losses quadruple in first half of 2022 BNPL provider, Klarna, has reported losses of $581 million USD for the first half of 2022. This figure is almost four times larger than a year earlier, where $129 million USD in losses were reported. The company attributes the losses to employee costs, technology investments, and rising credit losses. Klarna’s figure reporting comes amidst worsening economic conditions, fresh legal and regulatory scrutiny, and pressure from Big Tech competitors. [Read more on The Financial Times](https://www.ft.com/content/483451db-9221-4ca4-83a6-b4ddc6bfcfbb) [Read more on the Guardian](https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/aug/31/klarna-losses-more-than-triple-as-consumer-spending-slows) One fifth of Snap employees to be laid off amidst poor financial performance Social media platform Snap (‘Snapchat’) has announced it will be laying off 20% of its employees and closing out a number of projects following a year of poor financial results.The move will see 1,200 employees globally lose their jobs, saving the company an estimated $500 million USD in costs. Snap is currently valued at $20 billion, an 84% decrease from its valuation of $130 billion last year. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/01/snap-to-lay-off-20-of-its-workforce-and-wind-down-a-number-of-projects/)
Aug 30, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 30th August 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon set to shut down Amazon Care Amazon is closing its telehealth service, Amazon Care, which launched in 2019 as a trial program for its headquartered employees. Later the service was rolled out nationwide for employees and other companies. The ecommerce giant has now made the decision to move away from the healthcare space, believing it was not the right long-term solution for its enterprise customers. [Read more on CNBC](https://www.cnbc.com/2022/08/24/amazon-is-shutting-down-amazon-care-telehealth-service.html) Peloton closes new deal to sell on Amazon Following a recent deal, Amazon customers will soon be able to buy Peloton fitness equipment on the marketplace, marking Peleton’s first move outside a direct-to-consumer model. According to Peloton’s CCO, there are already around half a million searches on Amazon for Peloton products every month, despite having no presence on the marketplace. Some key products include the original Peloton Bike, retailing for $1,445 and Peloton Guide for $295. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/24/peloton-strikes-deal-to-sell-fitness-equipment-on-amazon/) --- Other Marketplace News --- 60% of Malaysians are buying from local sellers on Shopee A recent survey of nearly 3,500 respondents found that nearly half of the shoppers prefer to purchase from local sellers due to shorter delivery times. Other shoppers decide to shop locally due to the quality of the products made in Malaysia and an interest in keeping the economy running. As a result, smaller local merchants have been able to grow their businesses, and shoppers benefit from shorter delivery times, products of high quality and supporting local businesses. [Read more on The Malaysian Reserve](https://themalaysianreserve.com/2022/08/25/around-60-malaysians-are-buying-from-local-sellers-on-shopee/) Flipkart’s social commerce platform Shopsy crosses 100 million users Flipkart launched a social commerce arm, Shopsy, in July of last year, which has now surpassed 100 million users, ahead of its target timeline being the end of 2022. This acquisition of new users has made Shopsy one of the largest platforms of its kind in the country, and is expected to onboard a further 100 million by the end of 2023. The platform is centred around boosting local entrepreneurship and powering ecommerce for consumers across tier 2+ regions where users face challenges around trust and navigation when shopping online. [Read more on Business Standard](https://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/flipkart-s-social-commerce-platform-shopsy-hits-100-million-users-1220828006851.html) Meta joins Amazon and Walmart in bid for Indian ecommerce market Amazon mentioned earlier in the year that it would be building a logistics division in-house through its purchase of a 51% stake in Ecom Express, an end-to-end logistics firm, to make ecommerce deliveries more efficient in the country. Walmart operates Flipkart in India and is set to continue its investment in the marketplace. In an effort to compete in the Indian ecommerce market, Meta has partnered with Indian ecommerce company, JioMart, to offer customers a grocery shopping platform within its WhatsApp chat feature. [Read more on Pymnts](https://www.pymnts.com/news/retail/2022/meta-joins-amazon-walmart-indian-ecommerce-market/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Ecommerce in Spain worth €57.7 billion in 2021 Spanish ecommerce saw 11.7% growth compared to last year, largely attributed to cross-border sales. In the final quarter of 2021, ecommerce sales in Spain were at €16.9 billion euros, at least 60% of which came from cross-border sales. Transactions from foreign locations to Spain generated a turnover of €1.56 billion in Q4, a growth of 27.7% compared to Q4 a year before. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/ecommerce-in-spain-was-worth-e57-7-billion-in-2021/)
Aug 23, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 23rd August 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon to add mental health support to primary-care service Amazon is set to move into mental health therapy with its primary-care division, following its recent acquisition deal of One Medical. The plan is to partner with virtual behavioural therapy service, Ginger, to offer its Amazon Care users with on-demand access to mental health services, licensed therapists and psychiatrists. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/11/amazon-plans-to-add-mental-health-support-to-primary-care-service/) GMB union calls for £15 an hour minimum pay at UK Amazon warehouses Amazon recently offered its warehouse workers a 3% pay rise, which in comparison to the June inflation rate of 9.4% left employees disappointed. Following this, hundreds of Amazon warehouse workers stopped work last week, protesting against the minimal pay increase, seeking a minimum of £15 an hour. Recent protests consisting of employee walkouts and sit-ins aim to get a better offer out of Amazon. [Read more on The Guardian](https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/aug/09/gmb-calls-for-15-an-hour-minimum-pay-at-amazon-warehouses-in-uk) Amazon third-party sellers have received their first-ever holiday fee hike Amazon’s third-party marketplaces account for close to half of the company’s online sales. The company introduced a 5% fuel and inflation charge to its third-party sellers earlier this year, and has now implemented another inflation increase charge. Commencing 14 October, any seller who uses Amazon’s fulfilment service is subject to the price hike, which is set to be an additional 35 cents per item for products sold in the US and Canada. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/17/amazon-third-party-sellers-have-received-their-first-ever-holiday-fee-hike/) Amazon puts a pause on UK grocery shop roll-out as the cost of living increases Amazon has slowed down on its UK roll-out of till-free Amazon Fresh grocery stores following disappointing sales and the rise in cost of living. Allegedly, the company is no longer looking for potential sites to expand and if more stores are opened, they will likely no longer use a till-free system, as consumers become more cautious about spending. [Read more on The Telegraph](https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/08/21/amazon-pauses-uk-grocery-shop-roll-out-following-disappointing/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopee overtakes Alibaba across international markets Shopee has surpassed Alibaba and taken the top spot for sales outside of China. Singapore-based marketplace saw a year-on-year increase of 51.4% at the end of Q2 of this year, while Alibaba saw a 3% drop during the same time period. This can be seen as a promising development for start-ups and their ability to compete with some of the largest ecommerce giants in the market. [Read more on Exchange Wire](https://www.exchangewire.com/blog/2022/08/18/shopee-surpasses-alibaba-in-international-sales-amazon-searches-for-entertainment-exec/) H&M reopens its official store to Alibaba’s Tmall ecommerce platform It has been nearly 18 months since Alibaba removed H&M from its Tmall platform, following H&M’s criticism of human rights abuses in Xinjiang. It is estimated that over a million people, predominantly minorities in the area, have been unlawfully detained in camps across the city. Brands including Nike, Adidas, Burberry and Converse were swept up in the controversy, however H&M was one of the first to be targeted for speaking out about the issue. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/16/hm-returns-to-alibabas-tmall-platform-16-months-after-xinjiang-controversy/) Klarna launches new feature allowing UK consumers to view full online order history Buy-now-pay-later company, Klarna, has launched a new feature on its shopping app, which allows UK consumers to view their full online order history, regardless of whether they purchased the product using Klarna. The feature also shows delivery tracking and aids consumers in managing their online purchases more conveniently. [Read more on The Industry](https://www.theindustry.fashion/klarna-launches-new-feature-allowing-uk-consumers-to-view-full-online-order-history/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Online marketplaces responsible for £280 billion business turnover in the UK Nearly 900,000 UK businesses are currently selling on online marketplaces, generating an estimated £282 billion worth of sales each year. This figure represents 6% of the UK’s annual business turnover, highlighting the notable contribution that marketplaces make to the UK economy, along with the potential for further growth in this area. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/09/online-marketplaces-responsible-for-280-billion-business-turnover-in-uk/)