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



The 2019 Marketplace Expansion Index was developed to assist digital marketplace platforms operating in the collaborative, gig, and sharing economies gauge the expansion readiness of 36 countries.

Data Collection

Our researchers began their analysis by conducting a series of informal interviews with approximately 15 diverse two-sided marketplaces based primarily in North America and Europe. Consulted marketplaces ranged from goods- and products-based e-commerce companies that connected sellers and buyers globally, to fast-growth service-based platforms such as delivery and ride-share businesses, where expansion efforts involved building a local network of the service providers and recipient. In terms of size, the marketplaces ranged from nascent (present in 2-5 countries) to entrenched (present in 20+ countries), with transaction volumes ranging between a few million dollars to hundreds of billions of dollars annually.

A thorough analysis of this data allowed our analysts to narrow the field to roughly 55 countries of preliminary interest. Further review of this information helped to identify a set of four key expansion readiness indicators: Infrastructure, Workforce, Market Size, and Foreign Competition.*

Data was split into 11 sub-parameters within each of the four sectors:

  • Infrastructure Infrastructure
    • Payment infrastructure
    • Ease of doing business
    • Logistics infrastructure
    • Digital payment infrastructure NEW
  • Market Size Ecommerce Activity
    • Retail ecommerce market size
    • Retail ecommerce growth
    • Ecommerce as a percentage of overall retail
  • Workforce Workforce
    • Level of English proficiency
    • Availability of freelance employment
  • Foreign CompetitionForeign Competition
    • Global marketplace access
    • Cross-border transactions

A final review enabled our analysts to cap the index at 36 countries and assign each country to one of three tiers: Established, Emerging, and Evolving. The 2019 Marketplace Expansion Index aims to provide two-sided marketplaces with a data-driven approach to global expansion by accounting for factors that are unique to this newly evolved business model.

2019 New Parameter: Digital Payment Infrastructure

Most marketplaces have built their business model and technology around the digital acceptance and distribution of payments. Countries where digital payments infrastructure is not established are often considered extremely difficult for digitally-focused marketplaces to operate. To measure this parameter, our researchers evaluated the use of cash (the primary non-digital method of payment) in each country. The higher the use of cash in the country, the lower our researchers ranked the region in terms of prevalence of digital payment methods.

* Sources

  • “Economic surveys and country surveillance,” OECD, 2018
  • “Global Wealth Report 2018,” Credit Suisse Research Institute, 2018
  • “World Bank Open Data,” The World Bank, 2018
  • “The Global Cash Index,” PYMNTS.comand Cardtronics, 2018
  • “Aggregated LPI 2012-2018,” The World Bank, 2018