The Titans of ecommerce – Alibaba vs Amazon


Alibaba billboard in London
Alibaba billboard in London

Alibaba had its record highest revenue day yesterday – a staggering $5.75bn in 24 hours during a promotional event. Or put another way, that’s $66,500 of sales per second. Alibaba is the biggest ecommerce business in China, and it will be interesting to see how it stacks up against its peers in the West.

Put into relative context, Marks & Spencer has annual revenue of £10bn per year – that’s around 3 times the Alibaba 24 hour amount.

Amazon released their annual revenue earlier this month. Their 9 month revenue (since Jan 1 2013) is $48.8 billion, of which $39.8bn is product sales – a better comparison to Alibaba.

Alibaba is planning to IPO soon, and rumours are that it’s value will exceed Facebook. And so it should. As a retailer, it has product sales and clear profits. It doesn’t rely on other organisation’s advertising and marketing budgets. Similarly to Amazon and eBay, Alibaba is a marketplace, bring sellers and consumers together, and the company doesn’t need to hold all stock itself.

On the subject of eBay, the first major online marketplace, it reported 9 months revenue of $11.5 billion.

The next major landmark will be when Alibaba achieves revenues higher than the biggest bricks and mortar retailer, Walmart, who posted revenues of $116 billion last quarter. Alibaba still has some way to go.

2 thoughts on “The Titans of ecommerce – Alibaba vs Amazon

    1. Hi Leonard, I agree with your comment – we’ll see all sorts of additional promotions from Amazon in the future. I wouldn’t rule out a complete postal/ delivery service either – it sounds far fetched, but so did a global hosting platform and regional fulfilment centres a short while ago.

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