This week Amazon released a lot of data to sum up its performance in 2016. Not surprisingly, there were a lot of headlines around international markets as well as monstrous growth seen over the Holiday shopping period.
The highlights that Amazon chose to share tells us a lot about their priorities in 2017.
- Sponsored Products clicks grew more than 150% worldwide, driven by expansion of advertising placements on desktop and mobile sites.
- Amazon Mexico (www.amazon.com.mx) continued its expansion by enabling more than 20,000 domestic and international sellers to add more than 50 million product offers available to Mexican customers.
- FBA delivered more than two billion items to customers worldwide. This is twice the volume than in 2015. This growth shows that more and more sellers are moving to FBA to access the Prime program, and the platform is becoming more competitive in general: Active sellers using FBA grew more than 70% year over year. The other reason for the increase is that it’s easier than ever for foreign companies to send products into Amazon’s fulfillment network and eliminate any shipping speed advantage that domestic sellers had previously.
- The Seller Fulfilled Prime program added more than six million new items that are now Prime eligible across the U.S., U.K., France, Germany and Japan.Seller Fulfilled Prime is especially beneficial for retailers that have warehouses and fulfillment operations in place.
International Amazon Marketplace News
Amazon India launches 'Used Item' marketplace
Amazon has launched a new marketplace service in India that lets people sell used items, kind of like an eBay used item. But instead of the seller shipping the items when it sells, Amazon takes care of fulfillment, making it more convenient for the seller, and a more trustworthy transaction for the buyer. Amazon has been investing substantially in India - Amazon actually sees india as its biggest market outside after the US. If this program is successful in India, perhaps we’ll see the same concept roll out in the US?
Amazon Canada becomes a bigger opportunity.
Marketplace sellers on Amazon.ca achieved a record-setting $1BN in sales in 2016, including >$350 million in sales during November and December. This is equivalent to the volume of goods sold through the new-ish 'Amazon For Business' program.
So how does that compare with sales volume in the US?
Amazon has not released sales figures for 2016 yet, and they have not split out Amazon.ca's sales figures separately in the past. We do know that in 2015 Amazon generated $50.4BN in GMV (Gross Merchandise Volume) for the year in North America (US, Canada, Mexico).
UK Amazon trends
Amazon have released their 2016 Amazon.co.uk Trends Report. It includes some entertaining facts about growth seen in specific products categories, but there are some actionable takeaways for brands selling in the UK:
- Sales of Christmas-related products indicated that the UK's Christmas shopping started in earnest on Wednesday 19th October, peaking between the 14th to 25th of November (Amazon's extended Black Friday Sale event). What it means - for 2017 you’ll want to be set up ready with your Christmas stock live by the middle of October as that’s when shoppers start buying gifts in earnest.
- “Tens of thousands” of companies and individuals sell on Amazon.co.uk’s marketplace.
- Half of all purchases on Amazon’s global sites come from Marketplace Sellers (this is about the same as the US)
- 60% of UK sellers export, and Amazon.co.uk exports were £1.8 billion in 2016, up 29% year-on-year.
Biggest selling category shifts over the 2016 holidays.
One Click Retail analyzed the biggest movers over the 2016 holiday season vs 2015. This is for products sold by 1P (Vendor) products.
Top Selling Product Groups: YoY % Change (top 20 only)
- Toys: +24%
- PCs: +13%
- Books: +6%
- Health & Personal Care: +31%
- Home: +18%
- Sports: +20%
- Kitchen: +12%
- Apparel: +32%
- Shoes: +5%
- Home Improvement: +32%
- Office Products: +26%
- Video Games: -10%
- Pet Products: +30%
- Beauty: +31%
- Electronics: +21%
- Tools: +18%
- Automotive: +20%
- Outdoors: +14%
- Lawn & Garden: +27%
- Furniture: +46%
All but one of the categories saw YoY sales growth - the one loser being video games. Categories to watch include Furniture (+46%). One Click Retail also cited Luxury Beauty with 80% YoY growth and Business, Industrial and Scientific Supplies with 54%.
Competitor & Platform news
Walmart buys Zappos competitor ShoeBuy for $70M
Amazon is predicted to become the #1 apparel retailer in 2017. And it seems especially prescient given all these stores that Macy’s and Sears are is expecting to close in Q1 this year.
By acquiring ShoeBuy, Walmart could attack Amazon directly on its new frontier.
The clothing market is highly fragmented, with 45 percent of all sales coming from outside the top 15 players in the industry, according to a recent report from Cowen & Co.
Shopify announces direct Amazon marketplace integration
Ecommerce store builder Shopify has developed an integration that enables its merchants selling in U.S. dollars to add the Amazon sales channel to their Shopify account. The new service allows Shopify store owners to manage their e-commerce store and Amazon sales channels in one place.
40% of Shopify merchants already selling in online marketplaces, so Shopify themselves understand that brands are adopting a multi-channel strategy first, and have bravely stepped forward despite concerns about cannibalization. They don’t appear to be making money directly from the integration, like they do with most monthly plans where they take a flat monthly fee plus get a few points on each transaction. But it gives Shopify an additional competitve edge against other platforms like BigCommerce and Magento.
The announcement sent Shopify’s stock prices up 8 percent.