Amazon, Costco, Carvana win our analysts’ battle of the top 15 ecommerce companies in the US

The 15 biggest US ecommerce players aren’t a surprise (here’s looking at you, Amazon, Walmart, and Apple). User-friendly mobile apps, quick delivery, innovation, and converting sales are what turn retailers into ecommerce powerhouses. Here are the companies our analysts believe best exemplify those features within the 15 largest ecommerce players.

Category: Best internet innovation

Winner: Carvana

Why: “What they have done is proven that there is a market for car buying on the internet,” our analyst Blake Droesch said on a recent “Behind the Numbers: Reimagining Retail” podcast.

Behind the numbers: Carvana sits at No. 8 on our list of the top 15 US retail ecommerce companies by sales, with 1.4% of the US ecommerce market this year.

Carvana’s growth was fueled by the pandemic and cars being big-ticket purchases. “They're taking a process that is friction-filled and figured out a way to streamline it,” Droesch said. “Whether it’s the most efficient way to streamline it or if it’s going to be widely adopted is obviously still up for debate, but it is a problem solve for a buying process that is a really painful experience for a lot of people.”

Category: Best mobile app

Winner: Target

Why: In our recent retail app benchmark, Target tied with The Home Depot because it had the most desirable consumer features, including digital wallet, personalization, and fulfillment options. “It’s really the seamless integration of Circle Rewards and the fact that you can track things like cash back and other discounts in a really simple way through the app. When you think of Target’s competitors, it’s a really simple feature that I don't think any other big-box retailer does quite as well,” Droesch said.

Behind the numbers: Target shares No. 5 with The Home Depot for No. 5 on our top 15 ecommerce list, with 1.9% of the market.

Category: Best conversion driver

Winner: The Kroger Co.

Why: Kroger offers the ability to search a vast menu of recipes on and add all the ingredients to your cart. “It’s not new,” our analyst Suzy Davidkhanian said. “Once you have a preferred grocery store, then having this additional idea of the recipes that you can shop just makes it that much easier. If Kroger is your go-to place, you can even store your own recipes there. Imagine how easy they're making it for you. But, yes, competition has started and will continue in this space.”

Behind the numbers: Kroger is No. 10 on our top 15 ecommerce list, with 1.3% of the market.

Category: Best fulfillment experience

Winner: Amazon

Why: “[Amazon] still has the fastest shipping times,” Droesch said. New features like paying Prime members $10 to pick up their packages at a local Whole Foods Market, Amazon Fresh, or Kohl’s store will help Amazon make inroads into the click-and-collect space. “So even if [picking up at a Whole Foods] is just a solve for a smaller demographic, I think it still shows that they’re trying to squeeze their delivery efficiency to the best degree possible.”

Behind the numbers: Amazon is No. 1 on our list of US ecommerce sales with 37.6% of the US ecommerce market.

Category: Room for improvement

Winner: Costco

Why: “Where Costco can improve the most is that connectivity between online [and] in-store. We know that because of their membership business model, there are some things they just don’t need an app for,” Davidkhanian said. “COVID-19 changed the world, and so everybody had to jump onto some digital bandwagon. Costco probably learned a ton from partnering with Instacart and other delivery providers, and now is moving onto their own.”

Behind the numbers: Costco is No. 7 on our list of US ecommerce sales, with 1.5% of the US ecommerce market.

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