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How ecommerce powers Amazon’s success in 5 charts

Amazon sits at the top of US ecommerce, accounting for 37.6% of sales this year, according to our forecast. In addition to generating billions of dollars in sales, Amazon’s ecommerce business propels its other ventures, including retail media and B2B ecommerce. By harnessing the power of generative AI, Amazon could leave its retail competition even further in the dust, and possibly catch up to the Google-Meta duopoly.

1. Ecommerce is Amazon’s bread and butter

Amazon remains the top dog of ecommerce in the US, taking the No. 1 spot in our top 15 US retail ecommerce companies by sales ranking. For context, Walmart, at No. 2, will rake in $73.45 billion in US retail ecommerce sales this year, a far cry from Amazon’s $431.11 billion.

The computer and consumer electronics category makes up the largest share of Amazon’s US ecommerce business, representing a little over a fifth of total sales. Other top categories include apparel and accessories; furniture and home furnishings; books, music, and video; and health and personal care.

2. Third-party marketplace sales generate over half of Amazon’s total sales

Third-party marketplace ecommerce sales will grow faster than overall online sales in the US, according to our US Retail Ecommerce Marketplaces Forecast 2023 report. Retail marketplace ecommerce sales will represent over a third of total retail ecommerce sales in the US by 2027.

Amazon dominates the marketplace, bringing in $278.50 billion in third-party sales this year. Next year, that number will increase by 12.9% to reach $314.34 billion, growing nearly as much as Walmart (13.0%) and outpacing eBay (-1.1%), Etsy (8.1%), and Poshmark (8.1%).

3. Amazon trails Meta and Google—but it’s gaining share

Amazon may be king when it comes to ecommerce, but it still has a ways to go to catch up with Google and Meta in US digital ad revenues.

However, Amazon’s strength in retail media (bolstered by its strong ecommerce business) is giving it a boost, helping the company grow its ad share while the ad share of Google and Meta declines. Plus, Amazon’s streaming assets—including Fire TV, Prime Video, and Freevee—give it an edge to engage in other media and offer shoppable ads.

4. B2B ecommerce presents a massive opportunity

Amazon is also eyeing opportunities in B2B ecommerce, expanding Amazon Business into new markets in Europe and elsewhere.

US B2B ecommerce site sales will total $1.857 trillion this year, breaking $2 trillion in 2024, according to our forecast. Amazon currently has 2.3% of total US B2B ecommerce site sales, but it could easily use its B2C strength to increase that, especially as there’s no one key player in B2B ecommerce at the moment.

5. Amazon has big plans for generative AI

In February, CEO Andy Jassy said Amazon had been working on generative AI models similar to ChatGPT for a long time. Then in May, leaked documents showed the company was planning to revamp Alexa with more ChatGPT-like features, while at the same time, job postings suggested Amazon would also incorporate generative AI into its search feature.

Retailers from Walmart to Levi’s have begun experimenting with the technology, using it in both internal and external functions including product recommendations, search, and generating product descriptions.

If Amazon can find an easy way to bundle all of these capabilities into one service for merchants, it would gain even more of an edge over retail competitors.

 

This was originally featured in the Retail Daily newsletter. For more retail insights, statistics, and trends, subscribe here.

First Published on Jun 9, 2023