The Emerging Web
Basically the premise is that new startups/small businesses are utilizing existing platforms (social media and others) to launch new small businesses, rather than building up core infrastructure (like websites) themselves. While Facebook and Instagram aren’t the best e-commerce platforms, they have a large user base and they are ‘good enough’ for these emerging forms of commerce in the developing world. One stat quoted in the deck is that 90% of online retail in China is sold through online marketplaces (Alibaba Tmall – like Amazon, and Taobao - like eBay) vs. individual merchants. The slide deck goes on to say that running a Taobao shop is “a national pastime, sort of like a second job or hobby”. I think we are starting to see this concept grow in the U.S. as well, obviously starting with eBay, then Etsy, as well as the growth of farmers’ markets, and collective storefronts (http://www.portlandmade.com/).