Within just two years, the number of active marketplace players in the German-speaking region in the B2C sector has risen by 40 percent to 214. Compared to 2015, the number has roughly tripled. This is what the digital consultants from ecom consulting and the review management specialists, gominga, have counted for the second edition of their compendium “The Marketplace World 2022 – Online Marketplaces and their Success Factors”.
In the consumer world alone, which includes all formats excluding B2B, around 100 additional online marketplaces were launched by new and established (retail) providers in the past two years. In the same period, around 30 marketplaces have disappeared from the market again, including big names such as Rewe or Rakuten, but also various niche players and start-ups. The reasons for this are varied: In numerous cases, companies were taken over, merged or renamed (Kleiderkreisel / Vinted, Uvinum / drinks & Co. etc.). In others, the marketplace model was discarded again (Rewe) or the decision was made to withdraw from the DACH region (Rakuten).
Every niche has its marketplace
Breaking down the online marketplaces by category, the authors counted more than 200 online marketplaces that can be assigned to the B2C sector. In terms of product range, around one fifth of the B2C marketplaces follow the Amazon strategy and position themselves as full-range providers, while a further fifth (17%) are multicategory providers. The vast majority, however, seek their salvation in specializing in one category or product group. “For almost every industry and every niche, there are now numerous more or less strong competitors,” sums up study co-author Christian Driehaus of gominga. “But hundreds of B2C marketplaces in Germany and Europe don’t make it easy for newcomers to grab market share, and marketplace vendors and sellers are also facing ever greater challenges in managing the various channels.”
The development of B2B marketplaces is deliberately only touched on in one expert article in this study, but is seen by the study authors as “the next big thing”. “Within Europe, there are already over 300 online marketplaces in the B2B segment,” states study co-author Ralph Hübner of ecom consulting. “By 2025, the number will explode to well over 1,000 B2B marketplaces – that’s not just the experts’ forecast, major investors are also betting on it.”
The enormous number of marketplaces, the constant rise of new start-ups, and the permanent differentiation of marketplace offerings are also an ideal breeding ground for entrepreneurs and agile companies. It is true that the first edition of the marketplace study by ecom consulting and gominga already referred to the many companies specializing in marketplace services such as software interfaces, content management, logistics or after-sales services. But compared to the power this technology and service provider industry has today, it was still a tender seedling back then. Within the past few years, this marketplace supply industry created tens of thousands of jobs, makes billions in sales, attracts billions in investments, and has thus become the marketplace ecosystem’s own flywheel. That is why the new “Marketplace World” now dedicates a separate chapter to this “Marketplace Ecosystem” and also graphically depicts this global Business Enabler Universe.
Another new feature is a comprehensive practical section in which well-known experts and brand manufacturers such as Kärcher, Samsung and WMF describe their growth strategies and learnings in the marketplace business in a very transparent manner. “We were asked so often after our first study how to solve the challenges outlined,” says co-author Ralph Hübner. “That’s why we’ve added a lot of practical tips and advice to our study this time.” There are numerous challenges for the internationalization and cross border management with Marketplaces and the study highlights smart ways to master these, especially for data, logistics, duties and taxes. The editors also venture a look into the (near) future. According to the forecasts, live shopping and other entertainment factors will increase significantly, payment providers will develop into shopping portals and the B2B marketplace world will explode. It is also already apparent today that the topic of second hand is becoming standard in the vast majority of marketplaces. However, the marketplace experts also expect a noticeable consolidation on the market in the next two years.
The new edition of ” MarketplaceWorld 2022 – Online marketplaces and their success factors”, powered by top partners Arvato Supply Chain Solutions and Lengow, is now available for download free of charge (here and here)