War. War never changes. The day of reckoning is upon us. Which day? Well, Cyber Monday of course. So, let’s celebrate this holiday by discussing this slow-building rivalry which is sure to underpin a new cold war. It’s a fight for your hearts, minds and wallets. So, hold on to them as we descend into their histories, strengths and weaknesses and see what it all means. It’s Amazon vs Alibaba: Cyber Monday wars edition.
Fun fact! You reportedly save up to 75 hours of your life by shopping on Amazon. But here is a hard fact: people spent more money ($610 vs $566) in 2021 on Amazon than on Walmart. We are in the future, kiddos, no reason to go outside. But let’s look at how we got here.
An interesting man, to say at the least, has a bright idea in 1994: What if – everything store? The other colleague says: Yea sure, why not? And thus the everything store was born! Well no, not yet. It was first a book store, then some CDs, games, toys and home-improvement items were included.
Flash forward to 2021 where you can purchase over 350 million products and the everything store label is definitely earned. Another impressive statistic is that 1 of every 153 employed in the US works for Amazon. Now, let’s look at some key features that made Amazon – Amazon.
Success: Amazon web service (AWS) and Prime
AWS was officially launched in 2006 though the venture existed since 2003 as Merchant.com (Amazon brainstorming team). For many years it was the only profitable part of Amazon and its security.
But stuff started to go into overdrive when AWS purportedly signed a Deal with the CIA in 2013.
And in 2018 it had a huge 47% jump in revenue which was a sign that Cloud technology has fully arrived in our lives. Honorable mention goes to Amazon Prime which I repeat is in 82% of the U.S. (more than those that had Christmas trees).
Fail: Amazon Fire
Uf, this one was destined to fail from the get-go. It didn’t have a great design like the iPhone or a great price like Xiaomi. The price lowering came too late, shown by the fact that people didn’t want them even for a dollar. Amazon fire was definitely not fire.
Now, this giant of online commerce was started five years later than Amazon. The brains behind it belong to Jack Ma. A purportedly self-professed super failure. Got rejected by a lot of colleagues and Even KFC but he just kept pushing.
After trying his hand at teaching he met the co-founder of Yahoo Jerry Yang in 1997 and ideas flew. A year and a half after that, in 1999, bam – Alibaba came online. After that, it was all determination and success was in the bag.
Tmall is Alibaba hat (more like cat) in the ring against Amazon being its b2c ( business to client). It’s reportedly the 3rd most visited website in the world and the 1st in China. It capitalized on the ever-growing Chinese working class and is offering a smattering of more lucrative goods. High tech, nice clothes and watches all can be found on this website. Plus with marketing focused around 24h streams and celebrity appearances, it’s a big win.
Fail: Getting re-educated by the Chinese government
So, Alibaba was dominant in the Chinese market and held a jaw-dropping 70% of it. But the word was that other Chinese companies slowly started catching up to them.
So how did Alibaba react? It reportedly started blocking access to its competitors on their all-in-one app Alipay. The Chinese government apparently didn’t like that. Some may say that Jack Ma started being passive-aggressive towards the Chinese government, and that they really didn’t like that. You know the rest.
Cyber Monday VS Singles day
Last year Cyber Monday clocked in a cool $10.8 billion (an improvement over last year. Ehm, but singles (China’s equivalent celebrated on 11. 11.) clocked in at $138 billion.
But this isn’t fair as the preorders for Singles day started 2 weeks in advance. So let’s see if combining all the Black Friday spinoffs what do we get? It’s $22 billion in 2021. But heck, let’s put in the Amazon Prime day, June 21, Bezos flex holiday, how much do we get? 32 billion, not even close… So what’s next?
So the biggest reason Alibaba isn’t anywhere near Amazon is the fact that it just can’t break a lot of other markets. Southern Europe and Africa are responding but those aren’t really lucrative markets yet. So, this leaves only one clear target. India. One problem, Amazon has already dropped its claws in (reportedly invested over 5 billion dollars in the country) and isn’t letting go soon. The battle is far from over, as a matter of fact, it’s just starting.
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