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Amazon May Handle 30% Of All US Retail Sales (usatoday.com) 70

An anonymous reader quotes USA Today: Amazon's yearly sales account for about 15% of total U.S. consumer online sales, according to the company's statements and the Department of Commerce. But the Seattle e-commerce company may actually be handling double that amount -- 20% to 30% of all U.S. retail goods sold online -- thanks to the volume of sales it transacts for third parties on its website and app. Only a portion of those sales add to its revenue.

"The punchline is that Amazon's twice as big as people give them credit for, because there's this iceberg under the surface, but you only see the tip," said Scot Wingo, executive chairman of Channel Advisor, an e-commerce software company that works with thousands of online sellers. When third-party sales are taken into account, Amazon's share of what U.S. shoppers spend online could be as high as $125 billion yearly...

Amazon's share will grow even larger when they can offer two-hour deliveries, warns one analyst, while another puts it more succinctly. "Amazon's just going to slowly grab more and more of your wallet."
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Amazon May Handle 30% Of All US Retail Sales

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    30% of all retail sales (as in the headline), or 30% of all consumer online sales (as in the body)? There's a big difference.

  • Not my wallet (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by DogDude ( 805747 )
    I spend $0 with Amazon, and I buy everything locally.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Not my wallet anymore, either. They've crapped the bed one too many times this year. Their customer service has become an abysmal nightmare. Aside from all the shoddy "new" merchandise I've received that looked like factory seconds, open-box-items, or scratch-and-dents, they went as far as telling me the other day they don't consider a Prime shipment "lost" for what amounted to seven business days and didn't offer to send a replacement or compensate me in any way. I'll save the hundred bucks I would normall

    • by mspohr ( 589790 )

      The problem I have is that my local stores don't have most of the stuff I buy. Only the grocery store has a near adequate stock. For the rest of the stuff, I would have to drive an hour each way and go to a big box store which as far as I am concerned, is as bad (or worse) than Amazon. Much easier to just buy from Amazon or eBay, etc. since I can almost always find exactly what I need at a good price without spending hours driving and shopping.

      • it is the same for me. the supermarket and my barber are the only local shops I go to. if I plan ahead, online is the only way to go.
  • no matter where or who. OK: Amazon is not there yet, but is heading in that direction. Its size gives it unrivalled negotiating power that will help it to cement its position. Having said that: I don't know what to do about it; suggestions please.

    • by Pulzar ( 81031 )

      no matter where or who. OK: Amazon is not there yet, but is heading in that direction.

      I agree, 100%.

      It's amazing to me that they are still able to be so far ahead of any competition... in everything -- prices, shipping, customer service, selection.

      You'd think that Walmart, Target, and other big retailers with worldwide (or at least US-wide to start) logistics networks would've been able to mount some resistance by now.

      • by kimvette ( 919543 ) on Sunday October 23, 2016 @11:08AM (#53134477) Homepage Journal

        Brick & Mortar businesses' response has been to cut back selection. Just TRY to find good precision screwdrivers locally, for example. Sears, Home Depot, Lowes, smaller hardware chains, etc - no dice. Frys has some decent sets but they're not here in the northeast so they aren't an option.

        Appliances such as mixer stands - you'll find 5qt and under KitchenAid mixers with the weak motor and plastic gear case at many stores, but most don't stock the 6qt and larger models with the stronger motor and transmission with metal gears. Soo. I'm going to Amazon for that.

        Monitors - Worst Buy is the only local authorized reseller for the ROG Swift monitor but no stores I've been to stock it. I went to Amazon for those. I'll be buying another through Amazon. Why do the Worst Buy "ship to store" for free shipping when I have to go pick it up, whereas ordering from Amazon gets me free shipping to my door, with better customer service?

        Klipsch speakers - I can't get the Reference Series at local authorized retailers, even at the "Mangolia" outlets at Best Buy. They stock plenty of the Synergy line (which isn't bad, but isn't great), so again, I've been turning to online retailers for Reference-series speakers.

        That's just a small handful of examples but I could list so many more. I try to shop local, but when the stores stick to carrying low-end crap I'm forced to shop online. It seems like retailers only want to sell low-end items that need replacing after six months to a year rather than higher end product lines that actually last.

        • I've found pretty much all of that and more, higher quality, usually much lower prices, at my local Costco.

          There's more than one 800 lb gorilla out there.

          • by dj245 ( 732906 )

            I've found pretty much all of that and more, higher quality, usually much lower prices, at my local Costco.

            There's more than one 800 lb gorilla out there.

            Costco sells a lot of crap too. I've been burned enough times that I ignore all their durable goods unless I have done the research in advance.

            It also seems that just when we find a good commodity food product there (yogurts especially), they will drop it suddenly without an equivalent replacement.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Just TRY to find good precision screwdrivers

          The problem is is that they have to stock all 10,000 of their stores with the same set of xuron/wexler/starrett whatever tools for a market of 1,000 across the whole country. I buy a lot of specialty tools and don't see how it could possibly work. Most people don't want good tools, most want some imitation hf disposable screwdriver junk that they can toss after they fix the crew that fell out of timmy's megatron toy.

        • I get most everything except groceries from Amazon now. Once I realized it was cheaper to have two 20lbs containers of cat litter shipped directly to my door instead of driving 2 miles and buying it at Publix, it was over. (Still not sure how having that much weight shipped to me is cheaper, but it is)
        • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

          Brick & Mortar businesses' response has been to cut back selection. Just TRY to find good precision screwdrivers locally, for example. Sears, Home Depot, Lowes, smaller hardware chains, etc - no dice. Frys has some decent sets but they're not here in the northeast so they aren't an option.

          That's because retail space is expensive. So the stores have to basically sell through volume in order to compete with the likes of Amazon. So they'll only stock the most common items people buy in large quantity. Chan

        • by mjwx ( 966435 )

          Brick & Mortar businesses' response has been to cut back selection. Just TRY to find good precision screwdrivers locally, for example. Sears, Home Depot, Lowes, smaller hardware chains, etc - no dice. Frys has some decent sets but they're not here in the northeast so they aren't an option.

          This, a few B&M stores have adapted, Euro Car Parts here in the UK for example. I can go online, order a part (I.E a 10 amp fuse for a BMW 3 series) and either pick it up from a store or get it delivered.

          However for the few times I need to see something before buying it, mostly clothes, large B&M stores have a very small selection. As for whitegoods, small electronics, so on and so forth I just go to Amazon first. Computer parts usually warrants a visit to PC Part Picker, then onto whichever ret

          • by adolf ( 21054 )

            But it's just an automotive fuse.

            In 10 minutes, I can walk to any of three different places and buy an automotive fuse.

            Why in the fuck would anyone bother with going online and manually enter everything including blood type, just to buy an automotive fuse? Especially if they're going to pick it up in person anyway?

            • by mjwx ( 966435 )

              But it's just an automotive fuse.

              In 10 minutes, I can walk to any of three different places and buy an automotive fuse.

              Why in the fuck would anyone bother with going online and manually enter everything including blood type, just to buy an automotive fuse? Especially if they're going to pick it up in person anyway?

              First off, because if I order it online, they'll have already gotten it for me and keep it behind the counter. A 5 minute trip becomes a 30 second trip.

              Secondly, same day delivery costs money, if I want the part today it's easier to collect.

              Thridly, all I have to do is put in my license plate no and it comes up with my make, model and series, so then I just type in "fuse" into the search box and it comes up with the right parts. Simples.

              Much easier than wasting someones time at an auto parts store

        • Appliances such as mixer stands - you'll find 5qt and under KitchenAid mixers with the weak motor and plastic gear case at many stores, but most don't stock the 6qt and larger models with the stronger motor and transmission with metal gears. Soo. I'm going to Amazon for that.

          I'm an Amazon customer for many things, but for electric kitchen appliances, I go to Pleasant Hill Grain. It's still an online purchase. They seem to know what they're talking about, and the prices are close enough to those on Amazon. I ended up buying Ankarsrum instead of KitchenAid. My elderly mother is very happy with it.

      • It's amazing to me that they are still able to be so far ahead of any competition... in everything -- prices, shipping, customer service, selection.,

        Um... they're not? Well, not over here.

        Prices are so so. Sometimes they're more expensive, sometimes cheaper. There's not all that much in it. Once they got blocked from wide scale tax avoidance, their competitive edge mysteriously vanished.

        The range is good compared to many other shops, though I buy quite a bit from ebay who generally have much more interestin

    • When it comes to monopolies I'd be more concern with the AT&T/Time Warner deal than with Amazon right now.

  • I know it's a problem. As soon as they've KO'd their competition they'll jack up prices and things will be a lot worse. But what am I suppose to do? I don't buy a lot of stuff I don't need (a video game or two a year). Since my income doesn't keep pace with inflation (I'm not even gonna say "any more", it never has) the only way to keep my head above water is hope I can find somebody willing to sell me stuff cheaper. Yeah, It's a race to the bottom. But I don't see myself getting a new set of wheels this ye
    • Yep, I come from a small town. They got a Walmart, local businesses 1 by 1 fell. Downtown core of shops, belly up. Now it's the mall (Walmart is connected to) or online to buy. I'd rather buy from anyone but Walmart.
  • by geoskd ( 321194 ) on Sunday October 23, 2016 @09:53AM (#53134191)

    Amazon's just going to slowly grab more and more of your wallet

    As long as their competition continues to not "get it" Amazon is going to continue to grow. I go to amazon because I can buy absolutely anything there, and it will be cheaper there than anywhere else. Amazons third party sales thing is absolutely brilliant as it brings more products to amazon, and brings more customers to the site.

    • As long as their competition continues to not "get it"

      Walmart (and grocery stores as a whole) have quite possibly the worst 'last mile' solution possible. Everything prior to shipping to the store is done as efficiently as possible. Walmart's logistics argues with truck OEMs over 0.1MPG because of how much it can save them across the fleet. They redesign boxes and liquid containers so you can fit more on a pallet.

      All to be unboxed & unpallated by someone being paid minimum wage. To put it on a shelf where I have to take time out of my day to go, pull it of

      • > I can't wait for a grocery chain (local, national, Amazon, I don't care) to carry a full store's worth of food and let me decide when I want it.

        In some areas (I'm in the San Francisco area) Safeway will deliver. http://shop.safeway.com/ [safeway.com]

        However, I looked into it for my aging parents in Oregon and Safeway did not "officially" do deliveries there, but the checkout clerk I was talked with said she shopped and delivered for several older people in town. If Safeway won't deliver in your area you mig
      • > choose how often I want a product and when I want it delivered.

        Target offers something like that.
        http://www.target.com/c/target... [target.com]

        I was thinking Walmart did too, but I'm not sure. I do know that at Walmart you can shop online, then go pick it up when your order is ready, and they'll load it in your car.

    • by DogDude ( 805747 )
      And as long as stupid merchants continue to sell stuff at a loss, Amazon will be there. We were invited to be one of Amazon's earliest 3rd party vendors. They wanted 30% of the sale price, including shipping. We would have broken even, at best.

      Put greedy, selfish customers who care nothing about where they spend their money, with greedy, short-sighted vendors who are more interested in short term sales than long term profits, and voila! Amazon profits!
  • Fuck Retail (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 23, 2016 @09:56AM (#53134201)

    Literally every time I go into a store there are less goods on the shelf. More cheap plastic crap. Lack of organization. Most shops stocking exactly the same good fro the same suppliers and more or less the same prices. Overpriced prices.

    Sometimes you walk into a store (strangely usually toy stores for some reason) and they are Old School. Shelfs brimming with colorful, well priced products, filling you with an irresistible urge to just fucking buy. I have to walk past the Lego Isle to get to the games section of the local Toy Store, and it is DIFFICULT to resist temptation and I don't even own lego anymore. But that's really the last bastion of the retail I remember.

    Head down to most stores on the high street and they're stocked like some estate sale of a deceased 90 year old. Retail assistants who don't know shit. Absentee owners. Chuggers everywhere. Decor and construction like a cheap TV set. Yes this even happens in malls now. Every store knows they have nothing to offer you but their 15% mark-up. People used to spend ALL DAY at the mall. That would be like a punishment now.

    I fucking hate buying online. I hate the risk. I hate the delay. I hate returns. But fuck it retail is doing jack shit for me these days.

  • hahaha - groceries included - that's retail too, right?

    I am trying to avoid this monster as much as possible - takes smaller companies down.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'm personally fine with Amazon taking down Walmart grocery stores, Giant Eagle (out of Pitt), Kroger, and a lot of other "local" (read: actually large companies) grocery stores.

      Handle all mass market grocery items such as: worcestershire sauce, Kraft products, and all other box foods, etc... and then let local farmer coops handle fresh veggies, etc... (Hell if local farmers want to sell through amazon I'm fine with that too. (if it works out well for the farmer and myself both))

      Monopolies are inherently da

    • Yep, possibly local groceries as well. Amazon Fresh [wikipedia.org] is available in limited markets, but may eventually grow as well.

  • Amazon May Handle 30% Of All US Retail Sales

    Implication: Amazon might handle 30% of all US retail sales but they might not because we don't know.

    Proper headline:

    Amazon Handles 20% To 30% Of All US Retail Sales

    Implication: Amazon definitely handles somewhere between 20% and 30% of all US retail sales

  • I do buy a fair amount of stuff from Amazon, but I'm at least as likely to go to eBay when I want something. If I'm shocked and appalled by the prices I find in both places, then I will start googling. Often, I just go ahead and check them both right away, both for the price comparison and because their searches sometimes turn up substantially different results for the same keywords.

  • At least here in the US there seems to be a growing backlash against online retailers, Amazon especially. A large part of this is due to counterfeit products being misrepresented. When you have a million products on your site it's very difficult to properly vet each product and each provider. This is damaging the Amazon brand and similar online sellers with all but the lowest of the consumer, those that shop strictly by price and treat every product as if it is a commodity.

    • This is how Amazon will eventually fail.

      I suspect that most of their sales are knockoffs! They say they have a process for this but you can see in the comments a lot of complaints about products being a cheap knockoff and yet the seller is still there. There are multiple articles on how a large percentage of their sales are knockoffs. If a competitor managed a way to cull the knockoff sellers from the marketplace they would crush amazon. For example, is there anyone selling real Birkenstocks on Amazon right

  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Sunday October 23, 2016 @12:51PM (#53134949)
    TFA says they handle 15% of all online retail sales, maybe 20%-30% if you include third party sales handled through Amazon. Online sales comprise only 8.1% of all retail sales [ycharts.com]. So Amazon's (very small) slice of the whole pie is just 1.2%, possibly 1.6%-2.4% if you include their third party affiliates.

    Amazon barely cracked the top-10 stores [nrf.com] in retail sales for 2015. There's a tendency for people who like to be online to over-exaggerate the effect of the Internet. Retail sales are still very much a brick and mortar business.
    • I think the key is to look at the trend. Amazon's graph is one way for now. Online retail is also one way. Importantly quite a bit of what is being added to online sales is products that you can't even buy in stores from manufacturers who won't easily show up on any statistic. If you look at the last 12 months of my purchases (other than rent, groceries, and utilities) the vast majority has moved online. The second I can order my groceries competitively online, I will. But from a retail statistic only my g
    • True, but if you talk to the brick&mortar stores or listen to the politicians (who want the tax revenue), you'd think that online sales are at 90% of all retail sales and climbing.

      Amazon recently "reached an agreement" with my state. Starting next month Amazon will collect 8% sales tax on purchases made from my state. The problem is, my state sales tax is only 4%. Who gets the rest? My guess is Amazon, maybe with some kickback to the politicians who agreed to the deal. I have no proof; I just know how p
  • While there may be many problems with Amazon concentrating so much power in one company, I don't cry much for the many greedy layers there have traditionally been between me and the manufacturer. I am happy to give my money to the people who make something. I am not happy to give money to the layer after layer after layer of people who have managed to insinuate themselves between the manufacturer and me.

    Often distributors would force manufacturers to sign exclusive regional distribution agreements that t
  • "The punchline is that Amazon's twice as big as people give them credit for

    That's because they're not counting the contract workers that Amazon mistreats.

  • Last 3 videogame preorders... all arrived AFTER promised delivery date and did not even freaking ship until release day.

    If you like playing release day games, dont go with Amazon.

    • Last 3 videogame preorders... all arrived AFTER promised delivery date and did not even freaking ship until release day.

      If you like playing release day games, dont go with Amazon.

      Delivery? You click 'install game' on the steam application.

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