The Big Three (Amazon, eBay, Alibaba) at Shoptalk 2017

It is unfortunately rare (unseen even?) to have all relevant players on a big stage and thus be able to directly compare them to each other. At the Shoptalk conference last week, Amazon, Alibaba and eBay made very different impressions. And Wish and Walmart will be online players to count on, going forward.

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Amazon got the most space. The company got to present itself twice on the main stage – with Prime Now as a driver of innovation and with the Marketplace as “brands’ best friend”.

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The biggest splash came from Alibaba which showed the audience the magnitude of the Chinese market and used this for a grand advertising tour for China and Tmall..

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And (surprisingly to me) the audience was surprised by how big the Singles Day is.

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eBay on the other hand, well: There is still no answer to the question how eBay will enter growth mode again. eBay boss Devin Wenig had a hard time convincing a sceptic interviewer who kept pushing: What makes eBay unique? And is AI really the answer for eBay?


An interesting parallel between eBay and Walmart became visible: Both are working on the quality and the presentation of their product catalogs, but they are choosing different paths.

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It is becoming apparent that Walmart will increasingly get into eBay’s way. eBay remains a takeover candidate, maybe even for Walmart. For that though eBay’s share price -driven by share buybacks- needs to come down to a sensible level.

A combination of Walmart, and eBay would be fascinating construct for a global competition with Amazon and Alibaba. In China, Walmart bought (more and more) shares of JD.


Last not least, Wish is very much a wild card right now when it comes to how global e-commerce will look like in 2025.

All in all, a lot of things are in flux right now in our industry.

By Jochen Krisch and Marcel Weiß

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