Aliexpress vs Alibaba : Which is Cheaper?

by Tim Blue
Aliexpress vs Alibaba - Which is better?

Store Name: It's a tie!

Store Description: Ultimately it's your choice on what you want out of a deal. Cheaper price, faster shipping, buyer protection etc? We compare and contrast the two different platforms and how they fare !

Price range: $10 - $30

[ More ]

  • Aliexpress
  • Alibaba
Overall
4.3

When I started out with online shopping, I could not understand the difference between Aliexpress and Alibaba. Why do both exist? Today I’m going to bust some myths, tell you if Alibaba is cheaper or Aliexpress is cheaper and do a price comparison between Alibaba and Aliexpress.

So who’s the winner in Alibaba Vs Aliexpress? 

Let’s find out! 

Is Alibaba and Aliexpress the same?

They are fundamentally different. Here’s what each of them does!

Aliexpress is primarily a portal for consumers and individual buyers. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not China’s main ecommerce portal and Chinese people don’t buy from Aliexpress. Aliexpress is meant as an e-commerce portal from China that sells to the rest of the world.

On the other hand, we have Alibaba, which is a B2B (Business to business) portal. So if you are a wholesaler or retailer looking for products in bulk, then you’ll shop around Alibaba for the right suppliers and manufacturers. They have completely different roles and perform different functions. 

But there are probably many questions in your head, like I had. 

  • Can an individual buyer buy from Alibaba? 
  • Can an individual buyer buy in bulk from Aliexpress? 
  • Which is cheaper? Alibaba or Aliexpress? 

Is it safe to buy from Alibaba? About Alibaba

Alibaba is perfect for small and big businesses who want to import in bulk. Alibaba is filled with suppliers who offer a wide range of products from many categories such as consumer electronics, beauty and personal care, electrical equipment and supplies, apparel, machinery, watches, jewelry and more. 

The best part about Alibaba is the clear cut information that you receive. A typical Alibaba page gives you the following information

  • Supplier rating 
  • Time to ship the product
  • Time it will take to receive the product after being shipped 
  • Cost for a sample of the product 
  • The average cost for bulk orders based on various units 
  • Payment options 
  • Trade Assurance

So can an individual buyer, buy from Alibaba? Sure, you could. You could purchase a sample and pay the minimum price. If you are looking to buy 5 to 6 units of the same item, then you could get a good rate on Alibaba. 

Alibaba does not have a standard buying process. There is no “Buy Now” button where you can just purchase and place your order. It’s a bit different compared to Aliexpress.

Is Aliexpress owned by Alibaba? About Aliexpress

Aliexpress and Alibaba are owned by the same company.

Aliexpress needs no introduction and it’s one of the most popular ecommerce platforms in the world from China. This is a B2C portal, where most of the buyers are end users. It’s one of the cheapest ecommerce sites in the world and you get everything under the sun. The information you get on an Aliexpress listing is as follows 

  • Price of the product
  • Location it ships from
  • Reviews and Ratings of the product and seller
  • Product description 

As you can see, most of the information is basic and restricted to just a single piece. There is more prominence on reviews and ratings. 

So let’s compare both the platforms 

Alibaba vs Aliexpress – Which is Cheaper? 

So let’s do a simple comparison. Although it’s comparing apples to oranges, we’ll still give this a shot. 

Product Comparison 1 : i500 TWS Earphones 

The first product we compare is the super popular i500 TWS earphones. 

Price On Alibaba 

You can buy this product for a  price of $21.58, but you need to order at least 10 pieces. 

Price on Aliexpress

The same product on Aliexpress costs about $20 for a minimum quantity of one piece. 

As you can see, in this instance, Alibaba is the clear loser because you need to buy multiple units and at a higher cost. 

Product Comparison 2  : SKMEI Chrono Mens Watch

The second product we compare is the SKMEI Chrono Mens Watch. 

Price on Alibaba 

You can get this beautiful watch on Alibaba for $4.40 and the minimum quantity is about 2 pieces. 

Price on Aliexpress 

The very same watch on Aliexpress costs about $11.42 and this is for a single unit. 

Verdict – It’s a tie! 

In some cases, Alibaba sellers offer samples at much discounted prices and their minimum order quantity is also very less. In other cases, Aliexpress products are very cheap as well. The answer is, it depends on the product you are looking for. As you can see above, there are two different examples and there’s no clear winner! 

Alibaba vs Aliexpress – Which has the better payment options? 

Both Aliexpress and Alibaba offer various payment options. Let’s see the payment options provided by each e-commerce platform. 

Aliexpress Payment Options 

  • Debit Card / Credit Card 
  • Web Money
  • Wire Transfer (For orders more than $20)
  • Western Union Money Transfer (For orders more than $20 )

Aliexpress does not directly accept Paypal. But some sellers do accept Paypal when you contact them directly, but then you won’t be eligible for the Aliexpress 60 day guarantee. But you will be entitled to Paypal’ buyer safety features. 

Alibaba Payment Options 

  • Debit Card / Credit Card
  • Online bank payment
  • Telegraphic Transfer (Wire Transfer)
  • Pay Later (Financing your purchase)
  • Western Union Money Transfer 
  • Boleto (Brazilian payment Method)

Verdict : Alibaba

Alibaba vs Aliexpress – Which is easier for purchasing immediately? 

There is a very clear answer here. Alibaba does not actually have a ‘Buy Button’. You can Start your Order or you can Contact the Supplier. This is basically an initiation that gets you into the process of making a purchase with the supplier.

Aliexpress on the other hand has a buy button and you can finish the process within a minute.

Verdict : Aliexpress 

Alibaba vs Aliexpress – Which has better buyer protection? 

The most important aspect of online shopping. How are you protected from fraudulent sellers? 

Let’s compare 

Alibaba Trade Assurance

Alibaba has Trade Assurance. This basically means Alibaba will protect you from poor quality products and shipments that are not on time. If you have paid through the platform and the product isn’t good or you haven’t received your shipment on time, you are eligible for a full refund. Alibaba will mediate between you and the supplier to resolve any dispute. You are completely protected in this case. 

Aliexpress Money Back Guarantee

Aliexpress has the 60 day money back guarantee. In this case, if you aren’t satisfied with the product, you can within 15 days of receipt of the product file for an issue with the seller who will issue you a refund. If that does not go through, you can contact Aliexpress directly for a refund. 

Verdict – It’s a tie! 

Alibaba vs Aliexpress – Which has the better product offerings? 

Alibaba and Aliexpress have the same products on offer. 

Verdict – It’s a tie! 

Alibaba vs Aliexpress – Which has faster shipping options? 

Shipping options are super important and honestly it depends on your location and the service provider they use. But generally, Alibaba has bulk orders and they use a premium service like Fedex or DHL and you can expect to receive your shipment within a week’s time. 

When it comes to Aliexpress, it really depends on the shipment option you choose. Sometimes you can receive the product in a week or in some cases, even a month. The lead time of the seller isn’t clear on Aliexpress. Whereas it’s very clear on Alibaba. 

Lead time is the time taken to ready the product after your place your order to make it ready for shipping. 

Verdict – Alibaba 

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