2019 Marketplace Expansion Index

The ecommerce and sharing economies are booming. Thousands of fast-growth marketplaces are emerging all around the world.
This index examines the top 36 countries for ecommerce and sharing economy platforms to expand.

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2019 Rank # | 2018 Rank #

Big Mover




Japan has the world’s best payment infrastructure, providing a great foundation for digital marketplaces.

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Biggest Movers


Marketplace Expansion Index Rank

Up 5 Spots from 2018 Index Rank of #22


  • World’s best payments infrastructure
  • Very large online prevalence of exchange of goods and services
  • Pro-technology and pro-business government


  • Lack of consumer awareness and participation in sharing economy
  • Very low volume of cross-border transactions
  • Very low percentage of English-speaking population

Facts You Can't Forget


Going Digital. As part of its “Society 5.0” initiative, the Japanese government is encouraging the shift to a cashless society: last year, it set a target of doubling cashless settlements (credit cards, debit cards, and e-money) to 40 percent of transactions over 10 years.


Protecting Freelancers. Ahead of Tokyo 2020, the government announced it would work with major private insurers to create unemployment insurance for freelance workers, aiming to support the growing number of people in unconventional work arrangements.


Spending Power. Over 88.92 million citizens—younger and older generations alike—are expected to be shopping online by 2021, with fashion projected to be the most purchased online category followed by electronics and media.

Ranking Highlights

For our full explanation, visit our methodology page



The fundamentals of any society and enterprise, including: payment infrastructure, ease of doing business, and Logistics Performance Index.



You’re only as good as your people. Factors in this category include: levels of English proficiency and participation in freelance employment.

Ecommerce Activity


This category assessed ecommerce opportunity size, retail ecommerce growth and ecommerce as a percentage of retail transactions.



The fate of foreign entrants, based on the volume of cross-border transactions and if a global marketplace dominates that geography.

Essential Reading

"Japanese banks, long content to foster the nation’s love for cash, are now diving into digital payments thanks to a regulatory change that threatens to usher in new rivals."

Gareth Allan and Yuki Hagiwara

Bloomberg - Banks Rush to Turn Japan Cashless

"Deflation has been stymied, immigration is slowly but surely increasing, and that 2.5 percent jobless rate is driving a surge in capital spending. A lot of that is likely to be on artificial intelligence and robotics."

"Just as the sharing economy is going mainstream in Japan, some are questioning its future prospects. If you consider a typical industry growth pattern, there’s often rapid development in the early stage before things level out...the sharing economy in Japan is reaching its plateau."