Amazon continues to grow its marketplace by both new sellers joining and long-time sellers staying on for years. There is no measurable fleeing by sellers crushed by changing conditions, nor is there a loss in interest by new sellers.
More than half of the sales volume on the Amazon marketplace in the U.S. comes from sellers who started selling more than five years ago. That’s despite the continuous inflow of new sellers joining at the rate of thousands a day and the ever-changing and typically increasing costs of selling on the marketplace. The goods and brands those sellers are selling might be ever-evolving, but they regularly build long-lasting businesses on Amazon.
At the same time, new sellers are finding opportunities and bringing incremental marketplace growth. Every year, some percent of the newly joined sellers start growing, even in categories that well-established sellers seemingly dominate. The expanding overall marketplace GMV allows new sellers to grow without necessarily taking away sales from existing sellers, thus avoiding saturation.
Amazon sellers’ cohort data analyzes total volume, month by month, broken down by seller’s first year on the marketplace and represented as a share of the total. For example, the sellers who joined Amazon in 2022 now represent roughly 10% of the total sales. And so does the 2021 cohort and a few years before it. With every passing year, some sellers from previous years remain active while new ones join and start selling. Thus, 2018 had mostly recent sellers, but as Amazon matured, many more years are now represented.
If the top right-most layer in the chart (representing the newest sellers) were to look significantly different than the layers below it, it would indicate marketplace health issues. It visually represents the balance of sustainability and competition. At the same time, the marketplace would be saturated if any layer was drastically smaller than other layers at the same age, and a lack of long-term sustainability would show in layers starting to accelerate in shrinking after a certain age.
The marketplace has remained remarkably stable. Today, roughly 5% of Amazon’s volume in the U.S. comes from sellers who joined over ten years ago and the same 5% from those who joined last year. The marketplace appears to be at balance with both long-time and new sellers.