Amazon’s sales rose 22% in the third quarter, the biggest gain in two years. Since also growing 22% in Q3 2017, Amazon’s first-party sales - not the total GMV including the marketplace, but only sales where Amazon is the retailer - have only been growing 13.5% on average.
Compared to last year, Amazon’s sales growth has doubled - it grew only 11% in 2018. Amazon’s North America business grew 35% compared to 24% last year, while International slowed down from 18% in 2018 to 13%.
Slowing sales growth in the past quarters has hinted at a potential change in strategy, with the company turning its focus into growing the marketplace business instead. Earlier this year, Bloomberg reported that “vendors selling less than $10 million in products each year on the site will no longer get wholesale orders from Amazon,” instead forcing brands to become third-party sellers. What some have called the “vendor purge” seems not to have materialized.
Earlier this year, Amazon crossed the threshold of having less than 50% of its revenue come from retail sales. Amazon now generates more revenue from AWS cloud hosting, Prime memberships, the third-party marketplace, and advertising, than it does from selling products online itself. These revenue segments continue to grow faster, despite the acceleration to 22%; however, Amazon is not purposefully shifting into being only a marketplace.