3P sales grow faster on Bol.com marketplace than 1P retail sales

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Bol.com, the biggest online retailer from the Netherlands and featured in the Tamebay Guide Marketplaces section, is a marketplace which is growing fast but often overlooked by online retailers. Bol.com marketplace is itself a retailer but also offer third party merchants the ability to sell to their growing audience.

In their Q4 and full year 2018 results, holding company Ahold Delhaize revealed that Bol.com continued its strong consumer sales growth during the year, reaching €2.1 billion. Ahold define net consumer online sales as online sales including sales of third parties via bol.com’s Plaza. To date, Bol.com the retailer is still larger than Bol.com the marketplace, but sales from third party merchants are growing rapidly and on course to draw level with Bol.com’s retail operations in a few years time.

“Bol.com accelerated its net consumer online sales growth from 28.8% in 2017 to 32.0% in 2018. The business in Belgium and the Plaza platform – which currently offers a marketplace to more than 20,000 merchant partners in the Netherlands and Belgium – remain important growth drivers.”
– Ahold Delhaize 2018 Annual Report

A former Bol.com employee Emile Valkestijn has tracked the growth of Bol.com marketplace sales vs 1st party retail sales and published the following graphs on LinkedIn.

Bol.com 1p and 3p sales growth

It can be seen that while direct sales grew a healthy 22% in 2018, the Bol.com marketplace outpaced this growth returning a 55% for 3rd party merchants. (Combined 1p and 3p overall growth on Bol.com evened out at 31%)

Emile predicts that 3rd party sales on the Bol.com marketplace will exceed €1 billion in 2019 and by the end of the year be approaching 40% of Bol.com’s total sales.

The Bol.com marketplace has more penetration in the Netherlands and Belgium than Amazon, so if you’re not already a Bol.com third party merchant then it’s worth considering launching on Bol.com in 2019.


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