For Every New Dollar in US E-Commerce, 55 Cents Go to Amazon

Last week The Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce reported 2016 US e-commerce results. Sales have grown by $53.16 billion in a year.

We wanted to look at how much of that was thanks to Amazon, to get a sense of perspective on the importance of this Seattle-based marketplace.

In 2016 Amazon’s net sales in North America were $79.78 billion, up from $63.72 billion the year before. Thus they’ve grown by $16.06 billion. However, Amazon doesn’t report gross merchandise volume (GMV) number, so this figure only measures Amazon’s own sales. But since roughly 50% of units sold on Amazon are from marketplace sellers, we are estimating that marketplace sellers generated $60-$80 billion in sales last year.

By plugging all these numbers into a formula we get that:

55% of US e-commerce growth was thanks to Amazon

We are estimating it to be anywhere from 50 to 60%, so the 55% is right in the middle.

Following this logic Amazon now contributes at least 40% of total US e-commerce sales. Amazon is growing 20%+ every quarter, compared to the 14% US e-commerce growth so Amazon’s share will continue to rise.

This is important to illustrate just how big is Amazon. For anyone unfamiliar with Amazon’s earnings and US e-commerce size, it might appear that Amazon is a pretty big site, but the market has many more players. That is true, there are many players trying to compete with Amazon, but as far as 2016 was concerned - Amazon dominated.

This is great news for marketplace sellers - those estimated $60-$80 billion in sales were divided up by hundreds of thousands of sellers. That number will rise 20% or more in 2017, creating more than $10 billion in new selling opportunities.

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Juozas "Joe" Kaziuk─Śnas

Founder of Marketplace Pulse, Joe wears multiple hats in the management of Marketplace Pulse, including writing most of the articles. Based in New York City. Advisor to other startups and entrepreneurs. Occasional speaker at conferences.

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