Ecommerce has been around since at least 1982 when the Boston Computer Exchange was created as a way to buy and sell used computers. That was before most of the general public had ever used the internet.
Things have changed a lot since then. Online shopping is popular around the world, and ecommerce continues to grow every year. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated ecommerce growth as people looked for ways to shop without going to the store in person.
Amid this ecommerce boom, some companies stand apart from the competition.
This article is about the top 15 ecommerce companies in the world. It will let you know what those companies are, what they do, and how much revenue they earn.
What are the top ecommerce companies in the world?
Before we look at the detailed list of top ecommerce companies, here’s a quick preview of the top five globally and in the U.S.
The companies are ranked based on their 2020 revenue.
Top ecommerce companies globally
- Otto Group
Top ecommerce companies in the U.S.
Ecommerce trends and stats
The 15 companies on this list are part of a larger story about the rise of ecommerce. Here’s what you should know about ecommerce today.
Ecommerce is a more significant piece of the retail pie every year.
In 2015, only 7.4% of global retail sales came from online shopping. In 2020, that number jumped to 18% due to the pandemic. In fact, 79% of consumers made purchases online specifically due to the pandemic. By 2024, 21.8% of retail sales are expected to come from ecommerce.
So who is making all of these online purchases? Over half of ecommerce sales (52.1%) come from China. The U.S. is the next biggest ecommerce market with 19% of sales.
The U.S. may not lead the world in online sales, but American shoppers are big fans of ecommerce. 25% of Americans shop online at least once a month, and 69% have bought at least one item online.
Top ecommerce company trends
Let’s look at the stats for the top 15 global ecommerce companies from our list below.
Five of the top 15 companies are from the U.S., and four are from China. Germany contributed two companies to the list, while Russia, South Korea, Japan, and the UK each contributed one.
The companies on the list have experienced impressive growth, with an average YOY revenue increase of 35.72%. That includes a 38.1% average increase from the American companies and a 22.26% increase from the Chinese companies.
Some of the top ecommerce companies have been around for a long time. Amazon, founded in 1994, has been in the ecommerce business the longest (although Otto Group, founded in 1949, is a much older company). Others are relative newcomers, like Carvana, founded in 2012.
The top 15 ecommerce companies (ranked by 2020 revenue)
These are the 15 companies that currently dominate ecommerce.
Country: United States
Revenue: $386.06 billion
There’s no ecommerce company more famous than Amazon, so it’s unsurprising that the retailer tops our list.
Founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos, Amazon started as an online bookseller. A few years later, Amazon moved beyond books and started selling CDs and DVDs. As we all know, today it sells almost every type of product imaginable.
Amazon earned the top spot on our list due to its revenue, but it also wins in terms of popularity. Amazon.com gets over 5 billion website visits per month, and 92% of online shoppers in the U.S. say they’ve bought an item from Amazon.
In 2020, Amazon’s revenue was $386.06 billion, a 37.62% increase over the previous year.
Revenue: $114.30 billion
JD.com has gone through a few names.
When it was founded in 1998, it was called Jingdong Century Trading Co and was an offline business operating out of a four-square-meter store in Beijing.
When it first went online in 2004, it was called jdlaser.com and has also used the domain name 360buy.com and the name Jingdong Mall.
Under any name, JD.com can be considered a huge success. These days, it sells all types of products. It has around 472 million annual active customers, and its $114.30 billion in revenue was a 37.93% increase from the previous year.
Revenue: $71.99 billion
Often referred to as “the Amazon of China,” Alibaba entered the ecommerce market just five years after the American retail giant.
Alibaba Group was founded by former English teacher Jack Ma and 18 partners. In 1995, while in the United States, Ma learned about the internet and discovered that few Chinese companies were on it. He dreamed of changing that.
Although Alibaba is often discussed in the same breath as Amazon, it started out much differently. In the days when Amazon was an online book retailer, Alibaba was a website for Chinese manufacturers and exporters to connect with the global market.
Today, in addition to being one of the largest ecommerce companies in the world, Alibaba is involved in other areas such as electronic payments and cloud computing.
In 2020, it earned $71.99 billion in revenue, a 28.2% increase over 2019.
Revenue: $38.971 billion
Yet another large Chinese ecommerce company on our list, Suning was founded in 1990 as an air-conditioner retailer. It started selling other appliances in 1998. It wasn’t until 2010 that it moved into ecommerce.
Suning.com now sells a variety of products, with a focus on consumer electronics and household appliances.
Suning.com’s 2020 revenue of $38.971 billion was up 5.2% from 2019. However, in 2021 it ran into financial trouble and currently faces debts of around $6.6 billion.
Suning.com also owns the Italian soccer club Inter Milan.
5. Otto Group
Revenue: $17.82 billion
Before there was ecommerce, there was mail order.
Otto group was founded by Werner Otto in 1949 and put out its first mail-order shoe catalog in 1950.
It may be an old company, but it has adapted to the times, introducing telephone ordering in 1963 and moving into ecommerce in 1995.
Otto Group is currently the largest online retailer of fashion and lifestyle products in Germany, not to mention one of the most successful ecommerce companies in the world.
In 2020, Otto Group’s revenue was $17.82 billion, up 9.7% from the previous year.
Revenue: $16.65 billion
The last Chinese ecommerce company on the list is also the newest.
Founded in 2010, Meituan is an ecommerce platform for purchasing local products and services. The Meituan app connects consumers to food takeout, hotel bookings, movie tickets, and more.
Meituan’s 2020 revenue was $16.65 billion, up 17.7% from 2019, but like many of the big Chinese technology companies, it has recently faced a regulatory crackdown. In 2021, Meituan lost $38.96 billion of its value after an antitrust probe by the government.
Country: United States
Revenue: $14.15 billion
Wayfair is an American ecommerce retailer selling furniture and home goods.
In 2002, founders Niraj Shah and Steve Conine got the business started with a small ecommerce site called racksandstands.com. When that was a success, they launched 200+ more sites, like everycuckooclock.com, strollers.com, and holidaydecorationsdirect.com.
All of the niche sites were rebranded as Wayfair in 2011. In terms of traffic, wayfair.com has the 7th most traffic of any ecommerce site.
In 2020, Wayfair delivered 61 million furniture orders and earned $14.15 billion in revenue, a 54.98% increase from the last year.
Revenue: $13.68 billion
Rakuten means “optimism” in Japanese, and Rakuten Group’s founder was right to have high hopes when he created the company in 1997.
Rakuten Group runs Rakuten Ichiba, one of the largest ecommerce sites in the world, as well as rakuten.co.uk and rakuten.fr.
Rakuten also bought the American ecommerce website buy.com in 2010 and operated it as rakuten.com until 2020, when it shuttered the site.
In addition to ecommerce, Rakuten operates in other sectors like messaging, food delivery, and life insurance. Its revenue of $13.68 billion was a 17.66% YOY increase.
Country: South Korea
Revenue: $11.97 billion
Founded in 2010, Coupang is South Korea’s largest online marketplace.
Its success may be attributed to its fast delivery, which is operated by its own logistics branch, Rocket Delivery. According to the company, 70% of South Koreans live within ten minutes of a Coupang logistics center.
In 2019, Coupang took rapid delivery a step further when it launched dawn delivery, which guarantees that orders placed as late as midnight will arrive by 7 a.m. the next day. That’s even faster than Amazon.
Coupang’s 2020 revenue was $11.97 billion, an incredible 90.77% increase from the year before.
In 2021, Coupang expanded further into Asia, launching operations in Japan and Taiwan.
Country: United States
Revenue: $10.27 billion
Like Amazon (which was founded a year earlier), eBay was one of the early ecommerce sites.
eBay was founded by Pierre Omidyar and was originally called AuctionWeb. The first sale was Omidyar’s broken laser printer, which he listed for $1. Bidders ultimately drove the price up to $14.83, and history was made.
While eBay rose to fame as an auction site, and auctions still exist on eBay, it’s now primarily a standard ecommerce marketplace. Sellers love it — eBay is the most popular ecommerce site based on seller ratings of profitability, customer service, and ease of use.
Its revenue in 2020 was $10.27 billion, an 18.93% increase from 2019.
Revenue: $9.12 billion
Like the other German company on this list, Zalando got its start selling shoes. But Zalando was founded much later than Otto Group in 2008 and got its inspiration from American retailer Zappos.
Founders Robert Gentz and David Schneider originally tried launching a Facebook alternative in Central America, which failed so badly that they needed to be flown back from Mexico by the incubator Rocket Internet. In a last-ditch effort, they used some more of Rocket’s money to start selling flip-flops online, and Zalando was born.
Zalando now offers a wide variety of fashion and beauty products and is one of Europe’s largest clothing retailers.
Its revenue of $9.12 billion was a 23.13% increase from the previous year.
Revenue: $5.7 billion
Wildberries founder Tatyana Bakalchuk created the Russian ecommerce giant in 2004 while home on maternity leave from teaching. She realized it was difficult for mothers to shop for clothes while home with a child, so she came up with a platform to resell items from retailers like Otto Group.
Bakalchuk is now Russia’s richest woman, and her company is the most successful online retailer in Russia. It sells a wide variety of items from fashion to electronics to cookware.
Wildberries’ revenue grew 95.6% in 2020 to reach $5.7 billion.
Country: United States
Revenue: $5.59 billion
Most of the companies on this list sell things like clothes, household items, and consumer electronics.
Carvana, which was founded in 2012, is a new type of ecommerce site that sells used cars. It has brought some unique innovations to the online retail world. For example, after you buy your car online, you can pick it up in a car vending machine, the largest of which is eight stories high.
Carvana did well in the pandemic, thanks to car buyers not wanting to visit dealerships in person. Its 2020 revenue was $5.59 billion, a 41.79% increase from 2019.
Country: United States
Revenue: $4.85 billion
Our pets deserve the convenience of ecommerce too. Chewy sells pet food and other pet-related products.
It’s another fairly recent ecommerce success story, having been founded in 2011. Founder Ryan Cohen used Jeff Bezos's letter to Amazon shareholders in 1997 as a roadmap for how to grow Chewy.
Chewy is known for its great customer service. It made Newsweek’s list of America’s best customer service companies in 2019, 2020, and 2021.
Its $4.85 billion revenue was a 37.19% increase over the previous year.
Revenue: $4.19 billion
ASOS is a fashion and cosmetics retailer founded by Nick Robertson and Quentin Griffiths in 2000.
ASOS was originally an acronym standing for “As Seen on Screen.” The company sold imitations of clothes that appeared in TV and movies, like the red leather jacket that Brad Pitt wore in Fight Club.
These days, the retailer offers over 85,000 products and operates around the world. It’s focused on fashion for 20-somethings.
ASOS earned a revenue of $4.19 billion in 2020, a 19.39% increase from 2019.
Ecommerce, and especially the 15 powerful companies on this list, is shaping the way we shop and the way we do business.
To get more insight into the biggest trends in ecommerce, check out the top ecommerce statistics for 2022.