Since Amazon’s rise to the top of the e-commerce world, its competitors have steadily grown in number and size as they seek to carve out their own slice of the market. With an ever-changing digital landscape, businesses need to stay ahead of the competition. But with so many potential Amazon alternatives out there, which are the top competitors?
Within the several industries it operates in, some of Amazon’s top competitors include Alibaba, eBay, Walmart, Target, Netflix, Disney+, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, etc.
Amazon Online Stores Competitors
Alibaba Group is a Chinese multinational conglomerate that was founded by Jack Ma in 1999 and includes multiple subsidiary companies. These subsidiaries are primarily composed of Alibaba.com (business-to-business), Taobao, Tmall, and AliExpress, each providing distinct services for business-to-consumer e-commerce activities.
Alibaba.com is geared towards helping businesses source products directly from manufacturers, thus enabling them to save costs on unit pricing. It competes with Amazon for retailers looking to buy large quantities of products that can be resold for a profit. In contrast, Taobao and Tmall provide online marketplaces for electronics, clothing accessories, and other gadgets at competitive prices; AliExpress caters to international customers wanting direct access to Chinese retailers’ goods, often at discounted rates — all of which compete directly with Amazon’s shopping platform.
Alibaba Group primarily targets customers within China, whereas Amazon focuses its services abroad, particularly outside the Asia-Pacific region — where it has been able to gain a leadership position thanks to higher levels of e-commerce penetration in comparison with other global markets such as the U.S. and Eastern/Central Europe (e.g., Russia and Ukraine). Herein lies significant competition between local players who dominate various industries more than Amazon does (such as Ozon Holdings in the aforementioned states).
In Q3 2021 alone, the Alibaba Group demonstrated impressive financial performance by generating $31.14 billion in revenue, with a year-over-year growth rate of around 29%. This remarkable feat is made even more astounding when factoring in the significant competitive presence from within its own country, as well as other global competitors such as Amazon.
Despite facing restrictions imposed by many countries in an attempt to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic back in 2020, their leadership team pulled through. It innovated digital services to retain customer trustworthiness while shopping online through its sites. Examples are Ant Financial’s payment solutions and AI systems created to detect fraudulent activities  that, if left unchecked, would detrimentally impact customers’ experiences with buying wholesale or retail products online.
Such measures have greatly contributed to fostering higher engagement levels for customers compared to their competition, which may not consider similar initiatives, thereby reducing the risk associated with purchases. Clearly, this shows why Alibaba Group continues to remain successful against an increasingly competitive landscape both domestically and internationally; investing resources into digitalization appears to be a key factor going forward, which will likely ensure even greater success ahead.
As one of the largest digital marketplaces, eBay is a major force in global e-commerce. Since its founding in 1995, eBay has established itself as a significant player in the online auctioning and sales industry. Boasting an estimated annual revenue of $9.79 billion and garnering over one billion visits every month, eBay continues to be a serious rival to Amazon despite recent years of decreasing income.
eBay offers sellers the opportunity to list their products for purchase or auction. This provides buyers with more options when searching for specific items, as they can compare prices without having to search multiple websites or sources. Unlike Amazon, auctions allow customers to bid on items rather than purchase them at fixed rates, offering even better deals for bargain seekers and adding another layer of competition between sellers. This also differentiates eBay from its competitors by creating a unique buying experience that appeals to value-conscious shoppers who are looking for a good deal on top-brand products.
In addition to allowing bids on certain items, eBay also offers buyers access to hundreds of millions of listed products from all around the world, meaning it isn’t limited by local availability like many other platforms.
Though it faces stiff competition from Amazon (and other e-commerce sites), eBay remains popular among people looking for bargains or specialty goods that aren’t widely available locally or elsewhere online due to its auction services and international reach. The platform’s commitment to connecting buyers with genuine sellers worldwide makes it an attractive option when shopping online, making it one of the strongest alternatives out there against Amazon.
Shopify is a powerful competitor to Amazon when it comes to eCommerce platforms. This Canadian-based company provides an expansive suite of tools that entrepreneurs need to create and maintain their own online stores. It’s been so successful that as of March 2023, more than 4 million websites use Shopify across the world.
One of the main motivations for entrepreneurs to choose Shopify was its Exchange Marketplace, which offered nearly 3,000 listings as of January 2021. This gave them the opportunity to buy drop-shipping companies with existing customers and products already available for sale, hence allowing them to save time on establishing themselves and having an established customer base from the beginning. Sadly, however, the program was put to a halt in November 2022.
In 2020, to become a formidable competitor, Shopify took a sharp move by partnering with Oberlo, who specialized in providing drop-shipping services that allow sellers on Shopify’s platform access to thousands of products from various suppliers around the world without holding stock themselves. In comparison, Amazon’s model is much like a mall — either business owners build their own shop or rent space in the mall from Amazon, which then provides storage, packaging, and shipping through Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). Leveraging Oberlo’s expertise, it puts pressure on Amazon and other competitors by reducing timeframes and costs associated with selling physical goods online through third parties.
Amazon Physical Stores Competitors
Walmart is the third-largest supermarket chain in the U.S., boasting over 10,000 physical department stores across 20 countries around the globe. Positioned as one of Amazon’s main rivals, Walmart offers a large selection of goods at competitive prices — directly challenging Amazon’s subsidiaries like Whole Foods and Amazon Books.
Walmart has been aggressively pursuing an online presence to compete with Amazon’s dominance in the e-commerce space. Jungle Scout’s 2021 E-commerce Report found that Walmart.com had massive success with customers seeking groceries and other necessary items because of its wide selection of recognizable brands and convenient pickup/return options. In 2022, Walmart brought in a remarkable $47.8 billion in U.S. e-commerce profits, which was an 11% boost from the year before.
To expand its market share, the company has taken numerous strategic steps, such as acquiring Jet.com in 2016  and creating multiple initiatives and collaborations like Store No. 8, which focuses on technology and innovation. They have also introduced a membership program — Walmart+ — which offers customers access to discounts, exclusive deals, and free unlimited deliveries from store locations. All of this is done to compete against the perks provided by Amazon Prime memberships.
To date, Walmart has achieved exceptional standards of customer satisfaction and continues to do so, despite cut-throat competition from Amazon’s ever-growing presence in the global market. However, with increasingly sophisticated strategies being implemented in a tech-driven culture that provides excellent convenience options, value, and convenience, it is clear that Walmart will remain a major contender both in physical stores and eCommerce moving forward — potentially becoming an even fiercer rival than Amazon for any other retailers vying for supremacy in this highly competitive marketplace.
Target is among the most popular competitors to Amazon in the e-commerce space. Founded in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1902, 60 years earlier than Walmart, Target has been a strong rival to both companies for decades. Although it cannot compete with Walmart and Amazon’s massive size and overall sales numbers, Target has carved out a loyal following among its customers, who appreciate its convenience.
In 2022, Target reported $106 billion in revenue — an increase of 13.3% from 2021. In 2021, it had over 1920 stores across the United States, showing that its physical presence still plays an important role within retail. This physical presence also helps drive online sales since customers can shop online and pick up items from their local store, making shopping more convenient than ever before.
To further expand its reach even further into digital commerce, Target has invested heavily in same-day delivery services such as Shipt and order pickup services like Drive Up, which have become incredibly popular among shoppers looking for convenient options when buying products online. Some might argue that this convenience gives Target a significant advantage against Amazon, where only Prime members get access to exclusive fast delivery options or lower prices on certain items — not all customers have access to them due to membership fees or other restrictions imposed by Amazon itself.
Amazon Subscription Services Competitors
Since its launch in 1997 by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph, Netflix has become the premier subscription-based streaming service worldwide, granting users access to a virtually inexhaustible selection of films, television shows, and documentaries. Unlike Amazon, which primarily focuses on the sales of physical and digital products, Netflix’s massive success has been predicated on its expansive array of content for viewers. The company has seen year-over-year growth since its inception, culminating in revenues of $31.6 billion in 2022.
Netflix boasts an impressive 230 million subscribers worldwide, mainly due to its ever-expanding library of original content — the streaming juggernaut is releasing, on average, one new title each day. Popular Netflix originals such as “Stranger Things,” “The Crown,” and “Tiger King” have been a major draw for customers, creating cutthroat competition between Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, its largest rival in the streaming services’ arena. Despite trailing behind Netflix in revenue figures ($5.16 billion in 2022) and subscription count (approximately 200 million), Prime Video continues to gain traction with consumers thanks to its wide selection of licensed titles.
To maintain competitiveness within this market segment, both companies have implemented new features such as adaptive streaming (allowing for improved video quality based on connection speed) and mobile downloads that will enable users to watch their favorite shows offline even when no internet connection is available.
Both firms have heavily invested in their production capacities, enabling them to create television shows and films that are exclusively released on their platforms after their theatrical release. Despite a plethora of competitors entering this highly lucrative field, including Apple TV+, Disney+, HBO Max, and Peacock TV, the intense competition has been congruent with consistent gains across all services — indicating that there is still room for growth within the industry despite the influx of contenders seeking a foothold.
Disney+ is the third most popular video streaming service after Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. It has quickly become a major competitor to Amazon Prime Video. Disney+ has already managed to close the fourth quarter of 2022 with 164.2 million subscribers, demonstrating just how successful they have been in entering the streaming wars.
As Disney creates its own unique content, it stands apart from Amazon Prime Video and attracts viewers who are looking for more than just classic films and TV series. Since its launch, Disney+ has gained traction by releasing some of its highly anticipated movies exclusively on its platform. With its extensive library, which dates back to the 1970s, it offers something that no other competing streaming service can: A vast range of classic content, from original content like “The Mandalorian” — which was renewed for a third season in 2020 — to beloved childhood films like “The Little Mermaid” (live action to be released in May 2023) ensures that there is always something new to watch.
Spotify is an industry-leading provider of music streaming services. As the most popular streaming app in the world, Spotify has a wide variety of options and features that make it the go-to choice for millions of users around the world. With 205 million paying customers and 456 million monthly users worldwide, it continues to outpace its competitors in terms of both popularity and reach.
Spotify’s main competitive advantage lies in its expansive library, which includes over 100 million tracks from every genre imaginable. Not only does this make it possible for listeners to find any type of music they desire, but it also ensures that there is something for everyone on Spotify. In addition to its vast selection, Spotify also offers exclusive content such as live broadcasts, concert recordings, and other events only available through its service.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) Competitors
Azure is a cloud computing service by Microsoft Corporation, offering infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), PaaS, and SaaS. In 2022, Microsoft Azure held over 20% of the total cloud market share. This makes it the second-largest global cloud infrastructure and platform provider after Amazon Web Services.
Azure has been a strong contender in the cloud computing field with its high levels of year-on-year growth. It has adopted many of the same core services as AWS, allowing Azure to be one of the top providers of IaaS and PaaS solutions. Some key components that differentiate it from other competitors are its hybrid capabilities — customers can move their existing workloads seamlessly between an on-premise environment and the public cloud for hybrid models. In addition, Azure provides an impressive set of AI tools, such as Cognitive Services, Bot Frameworks, etc., giving developers powerful tools to build applications containing artificial intelligence elements. These features are making Microsoft Azure increasingly attractive for both small and large businesses looking for a flexible yet secure environment.
Compared to Amazon’s AWS, Azure’s strength lies mainly in its pricing structure, which is rather attractive compared to AWS’s prices, making it especially appealing for those who want more cost control when accessing services like storage or data processing power in bulk. Additionally, according to some sources, Microsoft’s serverless offering, known as “Azure Functions” is becoming increasingly popular among developers due to its simplified user experience and lower costs than similar offerings from other vendors.
Google Cloud Platform
Google Cloud Platform (GCP) has been gaining ground in the cloud services market in recent years, currently holding 10% of the total market and having generated $26.28 billion in revenue in 2022. Although Google Cloud is under pressure from competitors such as Alibaba Cloud, which held a 5% share of the cloud market as of Q4 2022, GCP has some distinct advantages that provide it with an edge over Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Google has a significant advantage in that its products are all built on the same technological infrastructure, which facilitates interconnectivity, improves the user experience, and allows for more rapid innovation than AWS’s offerings, among others.
Despite the advantages GCP offers, it has some drawbacks compared to AWS. While Amazon provides a multitude of services related to computing, the IoT network, and enterprise applications, Google offers fewer options for users. However, due to their geographic presence (meaning that more customers may be enticed into using their product) and excellent customer service, not to mention their close integration with other aspects of their ecosystem, Google Cloud Platform is still a formidable competitor in the market against Amazon Web Services (AWS) and certainly worth considering as an alternative. Still, as time goes on, advancements in terms of Google’s range of services should be expected.
Amazon is an undisputed leader in the e-commerce and cloud computing industries. With its well-diversified portfolio, an aggressive strategy of disruptive innovation, and strong financials, Amazon remains one of the most formidable competitors to many companies in these fields. Despite some strong competitors, such as Google, Walmart, Netflix, eBay, and Target, posing a severe challenge to Amazon’s dominance in specific markets, the company continues to be an unstoppable force.
As Amazon expands into new industries that incorporate core technologies from a wide range of sectors, the competition will intensify, and the need for viable alternatives will become more pressing. Even so, given its market share, reputation for innovation, and financial strength, it’s likely that Amazon will continue to be one of the top players in the e-commerce and cloud computing industries for years to come.