Ascential (credit image/Pixabay/chriswanders)Edge by Ascential has released its annual 2022 Future of Marketplaces Report. The research projects that worldwide, third-party online marketplaces will be the largest and fastest-growing retail channel globally. The report anticipates that third-party sales through online marketplaces will add $1.3 trillion in sales over the next five years. Furthermore, by 2027, the four largest global online marketplaces–Amazon, Alibaba, Pinduoduo and–will be responsible for $4.3 trillion in sales. This is up from $2.5 trillion today.

Edge by Ascential’s 2022 Future of Marketplaces Report examines the evolving model of digital retail platforms. It also looks into the growing importance of the marketplace model to these businesses.

The most successful retailers, both now and in the future, will operate third-party marketplaces,” said Deren Baker, CEO of Edge by Ascential. “Between 2022 and 2027, data forecasts that third-party marketplaces will be the largest and fastest-growing retail channel globally. The four largest global marketplace leaders of today– Amazon, Alibaba, Pinduoduo and–all operate growing third-party marketplaces. They are increasingly prioritising this model as a core part of their commerce strategy. Edge Retail Insight’s forecasting software anticipates that by the end of 2027, these four marketplaces will account for more than two-thirds of global ecommerce sales – first-party and third-party.

(credit image/LinkedIn/Daren Baker)
Deren Baker, CEO of Edge by Ascential

“The consumer brands that will be most successful in this new retail environment will align with the right marketplace partners. Moreover, they will optimise their unique capabilities to use all elements of the marketplace. This will be achieved by leveraging real-time data and insights to respond effectively to competitive intelligence, performance blockers and changing market conditions.

Some key findings from the report include:

Alibaba will continue to be the global leader in retail sales by 2027. The report estimates growing total net GMV sales (eCommerce and brick and mortar) in 2027 to $1.5 trillion. Amazon will be the second-largest online retail marketplace with $1.2 trillion in total net GMV sales in 2027.

  • In 2022, the four largest global marketplace leaders– Alibaba, Amazon, Pinduoduo and– account for $2.5 trillion global sales. (Taking into account first-party and third-party sales through their platforms).
    By 2027, these four marketplaces will account for $4.3 trillion in global retail sales (almost 66.5% of global eCommerce sales).
  • By 2027, all five of the leading global retailers–Amazon, Alibaba, Pinduoduo, and Walmart–will operate a third-party marketplace.
    By 2027, third-party sales through marketplaces will be the largest and fastest-growing retail channel globally. Adding more than $1.3 trillion in sales by 2027 and accounting for 38% of all global retail sales growth.
  • First-party eCommerce sales will shrink from 44% today to 41% in 2027. Adding $778 billion in sales over the next 5 years.
  • By 2027, third-party sellers through marketplaces will capture 59% of global ecommerce sales, up from 56% in 2022. The number of third-party marketplaces operating globally has jumped by more than 500% since 2007.
  • Edible grocery will be the fastest-growing category for third-party online sales between 2022-2027. The report estimates third-party sales compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11%.
  • Household and Pet Care will be the second-fastest-growing category. With 10.6% CAGR growth for third-party sales and third-party sales in the office supplies category growing at 10.5% CAGR
  • In China, third-party sales currently account for almost 80% of online sales.


  • The report was created with data from Edge by Ascential’s proprietary analytics tool, Retail Market Monitor (RMM). This can give five-year projections by sector, geography, channel and chain retailer and identifies growth opportunities for retailers and brands.
  • Retail sales for third-party marketplaces referenced are calculated using Gross Merchandise Value (GMV). A standard used to measure the size of a third-party marketplace. It is calculated by multiplying the number of products sold by the price at which each product was sold over a given time period.
  • Retail sales data includes online and offline operations and only includes chain retailers, of which Edge Retail Insight covers almost 2,500 worldwide.
  • Forecasts change week by week because of the fast-moving developments in retail environment. In addition to uncertain economic conditions so the data in the report reflects the RMM data at the time of publishing.

Enterprise Times: What this means for business

What’s interesting about this report is the forecast Alibaba will become the global leader in retail by 2027. The company is expected to grow its total net GMV sales in 2027 to $1.5 trillion. Amazon will be the second-largest online retail marketplace with $1.2 trillion in total net GMV sales in 2027. Can this really be true? Currently, analysts estimate it is the second largest online retailer behind Amazon. There’s plenty of data that indicate marketplaces in the US and Europe will take a greater share of online spending. However, in China, the situation appears to be less clear. However, since the Edge by Ascential report is based on actual data from the company’s proprietary analytics tool. Then perhaps the findings of the report is built on much stronger foundations than other similar market reports.




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