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All change ahead?

The arrival of new marketplaces in Australia may mean wholesale changes in shopper behaviour, writes Chloe Rigby

Marketplaces do not play such a key role in Australian ecommerce as they do in Europe and southeast Asia, RetailX research suggests. That could change with the full launch of , the retail behemoth’s Australia-dedicated offering, as a destination selling general merchandise rather than merely, as it has been, a Kindle-only store.

Analysis of the AU250 shows that as yet marketplaces, which account for fewer than 20 entries on the AU250, have a disproportionate, although still relatively small, share of web traffic, taking a little more than 35% of all web visits to Top250 retailers.

“While marketplace sites receive 35% of web visits to the AU250, this is a smaller share than in comparable markets”

As yet, that share is far behind the presence that marketplaces have in Europe and southeast Asia, according to RetailX analysis that incorporates data from knowledge partners Hitwise and SimilarWeb.

In contrast, marketplaces enjoy 50% of all the traffic that goes to Europe Top500 websites, and more than half of the traffic to ASEAN Top500 websites. Marketplaces are highly influential in both markets, with Amazon and eBay particularly dominant in Europe. In the UK alone, Amazon saw more than a quarter of visits to the UK Top500 retail websites in the run up to Christmas 2017, according to Hitwise data.

But in Australia the picture is, as yet, different. This is probably because of the absence of a major dominant marketplace. Amazon’s Australian website,, for example, did not sell general merchandise until the start of December 2017. Sellers as well as buyers can transact via the site, with Amazon’s Prime membership offering predicted to follow next year.

As yet, RetailX research suggests, only 9% of the Australian web traffic that Amazon websites already enjoy goes to, as measured before the site’s recent launch. Much more (70%) goes to in the US, while Australian traffic to the retail giant’s other websites accounts for the remainder.

That seems to suggest that Australian consumers are receptive to the Amazon model. It’s also worth noting that this interest may also be satisfied to some extent by other entrants to the market. Chinese giant is reported to be expanding its operations in Australia and looking for more local sellers to join its platform as it looks to offer Chinese shoppers a wider choice of premium products.

Is the Australian market set to be dominated by marketplace websites in the same way as markets in Europe and southeast Asia? Or has Amazon’s late arrival given the local industry enough time to develop its own convenient, cheap and reliable alternatives? RetailX will be tracking developments and analysing web traffic over the coming months to see whether, and by how much, these metrics change.

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