NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- JD.com (JD) has long been known as Alibaba's (BABA) smaller rival in the Chinese e-commerce industry, but a new survey from the Financial Times research firm China Confidential shows that JD is making some progress.
The quarterly survey asks nearly 2,000 Chinese online shoppers which online sites they most regularly use and allows to them to select up to two answers. While Alibaba's consumer-to-consumer marketplace Taobao has maintained its lead over the past three years, JD is slowly but surely inching up.
Alibaba's business model can be compared to eBay (EBAY) in that it solely serves as a platform for third-party sellers, and JD can be compared to Amazon (AMZN) in that it sells both third-party products as well as its own products. Alibaba is made up of three different marketplaces, two of which were listed separately in the China Confidential survey--Taobao (which sells products from businesses) and Tmall (which sells products from individual consumers).
JD has surpassed Alibaba's business-to-consumer marketplace Tmall, with 44.9% of respondents saying they regularly use JD, and 36.3% of respondents saying they regularly use Tmall. This represents a jump of 8.3 percentage points year over year for JD and 7.9 percentage points over the last quarter. It also translates to JD's highest performance in the survey since 2011 when China Confidential first began conducting these surveys. Tmall, on the other hand, has dropped 0.7 percentage points in the last quarter.