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The top 50 e-retailers

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E-retailing, as defined in this analysis, includes B2C e-commerce only (i.e., where the company owns the inventory and the revenue reflects e-retail sales). Companies that primarily operate as e-marketplaces are excluded from this analysis as their revenues are largely derived from fees and commissions on sales from third-party sellers (consumers or other businesses that own the inventory) rather than directly from the sale of goods.

For the first time, Deloitte has compiled a list of the world’s top 50 e-retailers. Ranking the “e-50” was not a straightforward task. First, although many companies tout their e-commerce growth rates, some do not quantify their actual e-commerce sales. One reason for this, according to these companies, is that e-commerce represents an immaterial amount of their overall sales. Among multi-channel retailers, some also make the point that e-commerce sales are not independent of their other channels and, therefore, are not reported separately. When e-commerce data was not disclosed, we have relied on estimates from Planet Retail and other retail analysts.

Even when e-commerce data is reported, it is often not comparable across companies. For example, the revenue for top-ranked Amazon.com reflects the company’s net product sales where Amazon is the seller of record; this excludes not only sales from Amazon Marketplace but also the fees and commissions associated with its third-party sellers. On the other hand, the net revenue figure for Jingdong Mall includes the company’s direct-to-consumer retail sales as well as revenue earned from its e-marketplace activities.

Some companies -- including several of the apparel retailers -- report total non-store revenue, which includes catalog sales as well as e-commerce sales. In the case of Best Buy, the company reports only its domestic online sales, which means it is ranked lower on the list than it would be if its total e-commerce sales had been available.

Finally, to the greatest extent possible we have reported net B2C retail sales. For a few companies, however, gross transaction volume was the only figure available. As a result, the overall ranking for these companies is somewhat inflated. Please view the top 50 e-retailers list with these data limitations in mind.

An analysis of the data shows:

• Amazon dominates the world of e-retailing.

• The Top 250 Global Powers of Retailing dominate the e-50; more than three-quarters of the 50 largest e-retailers (39 companies) are Top 250 retailers.
• The vast majority of the e-50 (42 companies) are multi-channel retailers; only eight are non-store or web-only retailers.

• Most e-50 retailers are based in the U.S. (28), followed by Europe (17), especially the U.K. and France; only five are emerging-market companies (three in China, two in Brazil). While Asia has a number of large and rapidly growing e-commerce companies, online marketplaces tend to serve as the primary e-commerce model in this region. Companies like Alibaba Group, operator of Taobao (China’s most popular consumer-to-consumer marketplace) and Tmall (an open business-to-consumer platform), as well as Japan’s Rakuten derive the majority of their revenue as facilitators, not as retailers; therefore, they do not rank among the e-50.

• e-50 digital sales grew at a rapid pace in 2012, averaging nearly 29 percent.

• E-commerce accounted for a significant share of total retail revenue for the e-50 in 2012 -- nearly one-third of company sales, on average (including the pure-play e-retailers). However, this varies widely. E-commerce was typically a small slice of the big mass merchants’ and food retailers’ revenue, often just 1-2 percent; it accounted for 5-15 percent of sales for some of the big department store and specialty apparel retailers, and reached 15-20 percent for several consumer electronics retailers.

E-commerce activity for all Top 250 Global Powers of Retailing was also analyzed. For 2012, e-commerce retail sales figures were available for 196 companies (either reported by the company or estimated). Of these 196 companies:

• More than one-quarter (53) did not have a transactional e-commerce website in 2012. Most of these companies were food retailers: supermarkets were the dominant operational format for nearly half of those without e-commerce (24 retailers); convenience store operators and hard discount retailers were also unlikely to sell online.

• Online sales grew nearly 25 percent, on average, for Top 250 retailers with e-commerce operations. From a regional perspective, e-commerce sales grew fastest for Asia/Pacific retailers and slowest for North American retailers. The rate of growth was more consistent across the product sectors. Retailers of fast-moving consumer goods reported the highest average growth rate in e-commerce sales, albeit from a small base.

• Top 250 companies generated an average 7.7 percent of their sales online in 2012. E-commerce accounted for the largest share of revenue for North American retailers and the smallest for European retailers. From a product perspective, hardlines and leisure goods retailers derived a larger share of revenue from e-commerce operations than did the other sectors -- an average of nearly 15 percent. E-commerce penetration was lowest (1.7 percent) among FMCG retailers.

As retailers in mature markets look to diversify their revenues globally, we can expect e-commerce to play an ever larger role. The e-commerce landscape, still heavily dominated by local and regional companies, especially in emerging markets, will increasingly include international players as more brands attempt to go global. But to gain acceptance with foreign consumers, e-retailers will need to localize their offers and their operations -- just like their bricks-and-mortar counterparts.

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