Wal-Mart could use a few more stamps in its e-commerce passport

ComScore says the retail chain lags behind Amazon and Apple in international web visitors.

Thad Rueter

Amazon.com and Apple Inc. do a better job of drawing online shoppers from around the world than does Wal-Mart Stores Inc., according to research released today by comScore Inc.

The web measurement firm says that sites operated by Amazon, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, drew 35.4% of the sites’ unique visitors in July from North America, with the rest coming from other regions. Apple, No. 3 in the Top 500, also comes across as a global citizen in the comScore report, with only 32.0% of its unique visitors last month located in North America.

Wal-Mart, by contrast, is a homebody, with 83.4% of its unique visitors last month shopping from computers in North America.

The comScore findings follow the news on Friday that Wal-Mart, No. 6 in the Top 500 Guide, has revamped its global e-commerce structure, with online operations in the United States, Canada, Japan and the United Kingdom now under the command of bricks-and-mortar executives, and e-commerce in developing markets under the watch of the retailer’s global e-commerce team.  A Wal-Mart spokeswoman tells Internet Retailer today that the chain operates seven e-commerce sites around the world; other U.S.-based retailers included in the study did not immediately provide similar information.

The comScore data, which exclude visits made from public computers and mobile devices, underscore that e-commerce is a global movement, says Gian Fulgoni, comScore co-founder and chairman. “Technology has changed the way consumers behave, and increasingly they are opting for the convenience and pricing advantages offered by the online channel,” he says. “Several global retail brands have already capitalized on this global consumer trend, and many other retailers are sure to pursue their share of the pie.”

Here are the comScore figures for the U.S. firms covered by the research, along with, in order, the percentage of July unique visits from North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa, and Latin America:

• Amazon sites: 35.4%, 31.8%, 24.1%, 4.5% and 4.2%

• eBay: 34.6%, 46.9%, 11.7%, 4.0% and 2.8%

•Apple sites: 32.0%, 29.6%, 24.9%, 8.0% and 5.6%

•Wal-Mart: 83.4%, 8.9%, 0.7%, 0.5% and 6.4%

•Hewlett-Packard: 45.1%, 26.4%, 14.3%, 6.7% and 7.5%

Besides Wal-Mart, though, U.S.-based retailers have managed to build more globally diverse e-retail operations than e-commerce companies based on other countries, according to comScore. China’s Alibaba.com, for instance, the No. 4 e-commerce site globally in terms of traffic, received 85.7% of its July unique visitors from Asia-Pacific. Japan online marketplace operator Rakuten, No. 5 in comScore’s traffic ranking, attracted 72.7% of visitors from Asia and 19.8% from Europe; Germany’s Otto Gruppe, No. 2 in Internet Retailer’s Top 300 Guide and No. 9 in comScore’s traffic ranking, gained 92.3% of its visitors from Europe; and MercadoLibre, with headquarters in Argentina and No. 8 in the comScore ranking, had 93.3% of its visitors from Latin America.


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