The UK’s e-commerce market is a standout, known for being one of the most lively and rewarding across the globe. With each person spending an average of £866 online, Brits are at the forefront in Europe and are high up the list worldwide. In the first quarter of 2023, the average online expenditure saw a notable 11% surge compared to the same period in 2022, climbing from £399 to £442 A lot of these sales happened on the UK's top online marketplaces. This post will look at and give a rundown of the most popular online marketplaces in the UK for 2024.
To be classified as an online marketplace, an e-commerce website has to check two main boxes:
This means those price comparison pages, where you need to hop off to another site to make your purchase, don’t make the cut!
The concept of a one-stop online shopping mall is a convenient option for online shoppers and has consequently been gaining popularity. For this reason, a staggering $5.5 trillion was spent on the world's largest markets in 2024.
When we talk about the UK’s e-commerce arena, Amazon and eBay are the undisputed titans, casting long shadows over a scattered battleground where Etsy and Wayfair strive to lead the charge, as shown by Statista's data.
To put it into perspective, the average monthly footfall on Amazon (a staggering 407 million visits) quadruples the combined traffic of the next top 3-12 marketplaces (91.1 million)! eBay, with its robust 297.9 million visits, is the only marketplace giving Amazon a run for its money in the UK.
Boasting nearly two-thirds of Amazon’s monthly visitors, eBay flexes its muscles firmly in the UK, a stark contrast to its presence in the US where it garners a mere 34% of Amazon’s traffic.
It comes as no surprise that Amazon leads the British e-commerce market as it does in most Western countries. To put the 474 million visits per month into perspective, one has to consider the population of the UK. There are around 67 million inhabitants, which means that every one of them (statistically including all ages) visits Amazon 5-6 times per month.
Amazon winning edge:
Amazon stands tall as the most recognized online marketplace on this planet! Selling on the platform guarantees the trust of potential buyers. The second major advantage is the sheer amount of monthly visitors.
Right on the tail of Amazon’s massive footprints is eBay, the one marketplace that dares to dance in the same ballroom. The American company, founded in 1995, could record a turnover of $9.7 billion globally in 2022.
eBay's winning edge:
The perks of selling via eBay are similar to those of Amazon. However, while visitor numbers are a bit lower, fees for selling via eBay are lower than Amazon’s for most products.
Etsy strides ahead as the alpha of the “pursuit squad”, but let’s be real, it’s trailing a fair bit behind the UK’s top dogs, Amazon and eBay. To paint the picture, eBay’s visits are a whopping 5.5x those trooping into Etsy, with Amazon pulling a majestic 8.5x!
Launched in the United States in September 2022, Temu quickly rose to prominence, securing its position as the top downloaded app in the country. By March 2023, Temu had extended its reach into several European nations, notably entering the UK market alongside France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain. By June 2023, Temu's gross merchandise volume (GMV) - a key indicator of total sales prior to deducting expenses - soared, hitting an impressive milestone of $1 billion.
The key to Temu's success lies in its role as a comprehensive online shopping destination, catering to a broad spectrum of consumer needs across categories including fashion, beauty, electronics, home essentials, and more. Central to Temu's approach is its unwavering commitment to affordability, ensuring that consumers in the UK and beyond have access to a vast selection of competitively priced goods. This commitment is underpinned by the company's strategic exploitation of economies of scale coupled with the adoption of efficient supply chain management techniques, ensuring the provision of an extensive range of products at prices that challenge the market norm.
Cue Wayfair, the UK’s e-commerce maestro when it comes to homeware and furniture! With 14.36 million visits per month zeroing in on one specific category, it's no chump change! Given its niche, Wayfair sees a parade of big spenders, not necessarily the recurring type, pushing the cart value above most of its peers and netting a revenue of $814.4m in 2022.
Wayfair's winning edge:
The chief advantage of Wayfair is comparably less competition than on other marketplaces. When selling furniture or home goods, you can benefit from a favorable ratio of potential buyers and sellers.
Meet OnBuy, the UK’s homegrown answer to Amazon! Conceived in 2014 and making its grand entrance in 2016, it swiftly gathered a band of loyal followers, racking up 4 million monthly visits in the UK alone. With eyes set on conquering over 140 countries by 2023, OnBuy is unfolding an ambitious blueprint for global domination.
OnBuy's winning edge:
Being the UK’s native-born marketplace has its perks, earning OnBuy a special place in the hearts of British online shoppers. But that’s not all - OnBuy claims to be the fastest-growing online marketplace in the world.
Say ‘Hallo!’ to Zalando, Europe’s fashion maestro in the marketplace arena! Hailing from Germany, this marketplace has been growing its revenue by at least 20% YoY for the past 10 years. It doesn’t seem to stop here.
Zalando's winning edge:
Zalando's catwalk extends chiefly across Europe, with its flair for fashion owning the online runway. Additionally, compared to other European markets, there is still a lot of room for growth in the popularity of Zalando in the UK’s e-commerce sphere. Getting used to the marketplace and gaining a foothold early might be beneficial in the long run for online merchants.
Vive la ManoMano! This French whiz of a marketplace, specializing in the gardening and DIY arena, planted its roots in the UK in early 2016 and has been blossoming ever since. Besides charming the British and the French e-commerce market, it’s weaving its home and garden magic across Germany, Italy, Belgium, and Spain.
ManoMano's winning edge:
ManoMano stands tall with its renowned niche reputation. Trust within the community is solid and visitors on the marketplace have a stronger purchase intent than, for example, visitors of Amazon.
Some of these advantages are:
Amazon’s secret weapon? It’s all in the logistics. Online shoppers have developed a taste for swift and free deliveries, often overlooking the intricate dance of order fulfillment happening behind the scenes. This has left many e-commerce brands scrambling to match up to the logistics maestro.
For those looking to step up their e-commerce game and not just stick to the big online marketplaces, 3PLs like byrd can really help. They make things run smoothly and quickly, just like Amazon, but you get to add your own touch with things like branded packaging and flyers.
Plus, with byrd, you get to see everything that’s happening. There’s a simple dashboard that shows you more than 100 live updates, so you're never in the dark about what’s going on with your products. It’s about making sure everything is moving along nicely and you know exactly what’s happening every step of the way!
The best part, you can sell via various sales channels and marketplaces while benefiting from a centralised logistics setup.
Additionally, byrd’s European fulfillment network facilitates and accelerates cross-border e-commerce and provides a fast, resilient, and sustainable order fulfillment solution for growing companies, established retailers, and enterprises.
Just integrate your shop system in a matter of minutes and you are ready to go.
So, if you are looking for an alternative to marketplaces or you want to pursue a multi-channel strategy in the UK and Europe, byrd might be just the right partner for you.