Over the last two years, Gartner considers the ecommerce space to still be dominated by the same leaders named in its last Magic Quadrant report, namely IBM, Oracle and hybris.

Consolidation Slows, Segment Stabalizes

Gartner's ecommerce MQ for 2013 is not much different from the one it released near the end of 2011. Since then, the leaders have remained the same, only one vendor was dropped and two added. None of these moves, however, were the result of a vendor falling out of favor with analysts. eBay-Magento, for example, was added because Gartner kept getting asked about the product, even though eBay-GSI Commerce was already on the list as a challenger in 2011.

eBay-GSI Commerce still occupies that challenger spot along with Demandware, Digital River and SAP, all of which were also challengers in the last ecommerce MQ. iCongo and Oracle iStore both dropped out of the challenger spot in this MQ. iCongo was acquired by segment leader hybris, and Oracle iStore (as opposed to Oracle Commerce, a segment leader) dropped to the niche player category.

The only other vendor dropped was Microsoft Commerce Server because it has transferred the intellectual property to commerceserver.net. Even so, the commmerceserver.net Commerce Server product still made the niche player category

IBM, Oracle + hybris

IBM, Oracle and hybris still lead the ecommerce space, and Forrester agreed with this assessment in its latest ecommerce Wave from last fall. Forrester didn't evaluate quite as many vendors as Gartner did in this MQ, but it also had Demandware in the leader category.

Demandware ranked high in the Gartner report as well, just out of the leader quadrant, and heading up the challenger rankings. As for the true leaders, Gartner cited hybris' rapid growth, 90% in 2011 and almost as much in 2012, functionality, flexibility and diversity of delivery models as it strengths. Cautions were the fact its Saas model is still in its infancy, it doesn't integrate with other systems as well, and the fact it has a nascent presence in Asia/Pacific and Japan.

Gartner liked IBM's WebShphere Commerce for its technology vision, language support (available in 13 languages) and native support for iOS and Android devices. Its main drawbacks included added cost and complexity, extra time needed to deploy and the fact its Saas deployment model is also nascent.

Oracle made the leader quadrant on its strength of being used across many industries, having advanced features like coupon tracking and serialized coupon codes and its ability to integrate with Siebel systems. Cautions were its complete lack of a Saas model, a somewhat murky product road map and references to a lack of communication between Oracle product support and the development team.

Challengers

As mentioned above, Gartner chose eBay-GSI Commerce, Demandware, Digital River and SAP as challengers, but there was also a vendor called Intershop. Intershop creeped into the challenger quadrant from the niche player category in 2011 on account of its competitive pricing in the telecom, manufacturing, high tech and retail industries.

Gartner especially liked the fact it won 50 new deals and has about 50% of customers in the US $100 million revenue range. Gartner warned Intershop is highly dependent on just two customers that make up for about 20% of its business, and it has been slow to move on mobile commerce where native support has not yet been introduced.

Demandware, along with eBay-GSI Commerce, is the closest to breaking into the leaders quadrant on the strength of its 2012 IPO, strong growth and its large circle of technology partners. Its main drawback was its low satisfaction ratings on content management and reporting and its lack of presence in Asia/Pacific and Japan.

eBay-GSI Commerce is product of eBay's purchase of GSI in 2011, and Gartner liked its record with established brands in North America and Europe, and its mobile development framework for extending capabilities to multiple operating systems and devices. Cautions were its inability to deliver the next version release on schedule (now slated for the first half of 2013) and its high percentage of revenue share.

High demand was cited as one reason SAP was chosen as an ecommerce challenger, and Gartner also highlighted its tight alignment with other SAP products and features like a unified interface for mobile. SAP was dinged for its high cost of implementation and the fact its latest product, Web Channel Experience Management is brand new and has few customers at this point. That leaves Digital River as the final challenger, and Gartner liked its broad platform that has expanded services for marketing, demand generation, payments and subscription management.

Cautions were that it focuses so much on digital industries, it may not be a good fit for those in apparel or industrial products, and a lack of flexibility

Niche Players

There are about a dozen niche players in this MQ, so we won't go item by item, but we'll compare it to the 2011 MQ and give a few highlights. Jagged Peak, Volusion, Marketlive, Micros Systems and Cleverbridge all made the list again, and we mentioned Oracle iStore, eBay-Magento and commerceserver.net above. That leaves Venda, JDA Software, Elastic Path and NetSuite as the latest additions to the niche player category.

Elastic Path offers core ecommerce capabilities like order capture and microsite support, extensive APIs and has expanded its staff to help build more products. However, Gartner cautioned on the company's lack of features like digital rights management, and the fact it operates almost entirely in the North American market.

JDA Software was chosen as a niche player because it merged with RedPrarie, itself a Gartner 2011 MQ for ecommerce niche player. The RedPrarie Commerce Suite was evaluated for this MQ, and Gartner liked its Commerce Cloud, a hosted version of Commerce Suite that offers loyalty management for in-store, kiosk or ecommerce transactions. Cautions were the simple fact RedPrarie had itself previously bought up Escalate Retail before being bought by JDA Software, resulting in some duplicate product functionality, and a mix of development environments, for example.

Gartner liked NetSuite's rapid growth in recent years and its Saas delivery model. Cautions were many customers were existing NetSuite clients, and that integration with non NetSuite tools was difficult. Additionally, customers gave low ratings on creating and customizing storefronts, and creating interactive selling features like cross/up selling.

Finally, there is Venda, and Gartner liked the company's Saas model, good growth and integration with Brightcove, YouTube and vzaar. Cautions were that it is over 90% focused on B2C customers, and customers' low rankings on support and time to implementation.