Walmart reported 2017 Q1 results yesterday, and the big story is impressive e-commerce growth. Retailer’s online sales jumped 63 percent, and GMV jumped 69 percent. Walmart also pointed that majority of this growth happened on walmart.com.
This is great news for Walmart, as they face mounting pressure to compete with Amazon.
However, we need to point out that Walmart used to report global e-commerce growth which included all of online properties. Last quarter they shared both global and US growth, and this quarter they fully transitioned to reporting only US growth.
Like before Walmart did not report total sales numbers, only growth. This means the 63 percent e-commerce sales growth has no base to compare it against. Walmart’s e-commerce growth has no doubt accelerated, but any time a company switches reported metrics there is a deeper reason.
Last year Walmart e-commerce grew 29 percent, making many compare that with Amazon’s net sales growth of 23. On paper Walmart grew faster, and even faster now, but those growth numbers shouldn’t be compared. We need to see a few more quarters to understand what the Walmart’s e-commerce growth figure stands for.
Walmart also pointed out that there are now more than 50 million SKUs on Walmart.com. In a year it increased from 10 million, a 5 fold increase, largely thanks to the Walmart marketplace.
Based on our research Walmart finished the quarter with over 10,000 marketplace sellers. But when it comes to the marketplace, we are now taking a position that The Marketplace Is Probably a Distraction for Walmart E-Commerce and there are many more opportunities beyond it:
“The marketplace was launched before Jet.com acquisition happened. And in many ways Jet.com acquisition happened because everything done before that wasn’t working, marketplace included. Marketplaces are expensive to integrate, require complex technology investments, and on Walmart never felt like a full commitment. Many customers were and are still confused about buying from it.”