Online shoppers in 2013 bought more than 1 billion items from outside retailers that sell on the web marketplace operated by Amazon.com Inc. On Cyber Monday—that is, the first Monday after Thanksgiving, a day that’s become known for online deals—shoppers ordered 13 million items via the marketplace, a 50% increase from the same day in 2012.
The No. 1 retailer in the Internet Retailer 2013 Top 500 Guide today released its year-end review of its marketplace, which launched in 2000. The review does not provide spending figures and several specific year-to-year comparisons, but still provides a picture of an e-commerce operation that Amazon says includes more than 2 million sellers around the world.
Amazon reports that:
• The number of marketplace sellers using Fulfillment by Amazon—a service that lets merchants store inventory at Amazon warehouses with Amazon handling delivery to the customer—increased 65% year over year in 2013.
• That fulfillment service shipped more units globally in the fourth quarter of 2013 than the number of units combined in 2009 and 2010.
• During the 2013 holiday shopping season, the number of items shipped via Fulfillment by Amazon increased 50% year over year.
• For apparel products, the number of units shipped by the fulfillment service doubled in 2013 compared with 2012.
“Amazon gave us an opportunity to offer an incredible holiday deal on Cyber Monday and we hit it out of the park,” says Eli Silver Sakkal, president of Amazing Deals Online, an electronics retailer based in New Jersey. “We experienced an unprecedented 5,000% sales growth spike on an item we listed with an attractive holiday deal price.”
The marketplace gains claimed by Amazon are reinforced by holiday figures from Mercent Corp., which helps online retailers sell through e-marketplaces like Amazon.com and eBay.com.
In November, during the holiday shopping season, 18% of the sales made on the Amazon marketplace by Mercent clients involved Fulfillment by Amazon, Mercent CEO Eric Best says. In December that fell to 15%. “On a dollar basis, that’s the highest we’ve ever seen it in November and December,” he says.
He notes that two years ago, in January 2012, about 5% to 6% of those orders involved Fulfillment by Amazon—an indication of how retailers selling on the Amazon marketplace are responding to consumer expectations for fast shipping by turning to the e-retailer’s nationwide network of distribution centers. “Fulfillment matters,” he says.
Sales by Mercent clients on the Amazon marketplace increased 36% year over year during the heart of the 2013 holiday shopping season, from Thanksgiving through Dec. 16. As impressive as they might be, Google did even better over the same period, with sales via Google Shopping increasing 64% year over year. The search engine introduced Google Shopping last fall, turning into a paid advertising service what had been free links in search results in response to product-related searches.