• Lamont Lane

Amazon.com, Not The Giants We Thought They Were!

Food for thought:Amazon's share of ecommerce falls 10%... how can that be?

Sometimes we are reminded of how little we really know about Amazon, even down to the most basic company information: its sales.

Just over a week ago Bloomberg reported that Amazon wasn't responsible for almost half of U.S. online sales after all. It's actual share is more like 38%. How did all those super-smart financial analysts get it so wrong?

The answer is in the way Amazon reports its sales. It does not disclose the total value (GMV) of products sold by third-party sellers, only the fees it receives from those sales. Then it lumps that together with the total value of its own sales.

So, analysts have always just guessed at the value of Amazon's total sales, and they've been guessing wrong!

But then in Jeff Bezos' latest Letter to Shareholders, Amazon finally gave the percentage of total sales that come from independent sellers, and in 2018 it was 58%.

The gurus at EMarketer leapt into action, got their spreadsheets out, and figured that Amazon's market share is more like 37.7% of total U.S. ecommerce this year, instead of its previous estimate of 47%.

So now we know! Well, until the next time they realize they've been getting it all wrong.


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