Nine of top 10 public global e-commerce retailers reported over 15% year-over-year growth in 2021 revenue, driven by changes in consumer behavior amid pandemic; Wayfair is the only top 10 company to show decline in both 2021 revenue and profit: GlobalData

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July 15, 2022 (press release) –

Wayfair is the only player in a ranking of the top 10 ecommerce companies by revenue to report a decline in both revenue and net earnings in 2021 versus 2020, according to GlobalData. The leading data and analytics company notes that the decline has been exacerbated by the shift back to physical shopping.

According to GlobalData’s Filing Analytics database, Wayfair reported 3.1% decline in year-on-year revenue and and 171% decline in YoY net profit due to a 12.9% decline in active customer count. Further, order frequency also decreased, with LTM orders per active customer decreasing 3.6% in 2021 over the previous year. Site expansion and equipment purchases, technological developments, improvements on leased warehouses, and other investments on its operational platform led to a decline in Wayfair’s net earnings.

Neil Saunders,  US Consulting Director at GlobalData, comments: “There is a fundamental weakness in Wayfair’s business model: it needs considerably larger volumes and many more regular customers to attain profitability. It managed this briefly during the pandemic, but now demand is normalizing, Wayfair is back to making eye-watering losses. In Q1 2022, for example, both operating and net losses were over $300 million. In other words, every dollar in sales cost it almost a dollar and eleven cents.”

Research using GlobalData’s Companies Database has revealed that an incredible 90% of the top ten publicly traded global ecommerce retailers reported more than 15% year-on-year (YoY) growth in revenue while 70% saw 20% growth.

Divya Vootkuru, Business Fundamentals Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “These high results were achieved due to changes in consumer behavior during, and following, the COVID-19 pandemic. Ecommerce companies were able to increase their customer networks on online platforms, resulting in expansion of business operations.”

Among the top performers were Amazon, Alibaba Group,, Zalando, Coupang, Pinduoduo and Vipshop Holdings. With 22% revenue growth, leader Amazon was supported by significant increase in user activity and 12.5% growth in online store sales.

Vootkuru identifies some of the key players below, noting some of the reasons for their success:

  • Alibaba Group’s association with Sun Art, resulted a 42% increase in its China commerce retail business. Its cloud computing and Cainiao logistics services businesses saw growth of 50% and 68%, respectively, which helped it to register 41% growth in YoY revenue.
  • Vipshop Holdings’ investment in its regional logistics hubs helped it to expand its product offerings and conduct various sales events and stock keeping units (SKUs). The investment resulted in an increase of 11.9% in the number of active customers, and order frequency grew by 13.6% in 2021 over the previous year.
  • Ebay completed the migration to managed payments in global markets to provide a simplified end-end payment experience to both buyers and sellers, resulting in an improvement of customer traffic and buyer acquisition. This migration resulted in the company increasing its revenue by 17% YoY and its net earnings by 140%.
  • Coupang and Pinduoduo are the only two ecommerce retailers that gained YoY revenue growth above 50% in fiscal year ending 2021. An increase in online marketing, merchandising, transaction service sales, active buyers, and annual spending saw Pinduoduo register a revenue growth of 69% and net income by 216%. Pinduoduo’s active buyers increased by 10.2%, helping the company to increase its active merchant count to 11.5 million and resulted in a 59% YoY growth in the total orders placed on the Pinduoduo mobile platform.
  • Coupang’s investment in product categories and marketing activities helped it to increase its active customer network by 15% while its net r­etail sales per active customer also grew by 30%. These resulted in an over 54% YoY growth in revenue.

GlobalData notes that, while revenues typically saw positive growth, the same cannot be said for profits, with six of the top ten companies experiencing a fall in net profit growth. A standout loss in profit was Coupang Deokpyeong, at -233% YoY. The company’s fulfillment center was damaged due to a fire, which resulted in a loss of inventory, equipment, and other assets.

Top Chinese online retailers, Alibaba and net earnings are highly affected due to increased spending on warehouses and delivery stations. Change in PRC regulations also affected both the companies to face severe penalties.

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