The B2B arm of Amazon.com is on track to surpass $31 billion in revenue on $52 billion in gross merchandise sales within three years, an RBC Capital Markets analyst projects.

Amazon Business is set to top $31 billion in revenue and $52 billion in gross merchandise volume by 2023, including sales by third-party sellers on the marketplace, says a prominent ecommerce analyst with RBC Capital Markets.

Amazon is doing a good job adding features that B2B sellers, in particular, find useful.

In a research note issued this week, RBC Capital analyst and managing director Mark Mahaney also writes that the rise of Amazon Business means more stiff competition for distributors of industrial and maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) products, in particular W.W. Grainger Inc. and a few others.

“We continue to believe Grainger still has the Amazon bullseye on its back,” Mahaney says in his research note. “We see Grainger as the most vulnerable industrial distributor given its exposure to profitable small and medium customers and its retail/consumer-oriented bent with just a roughly $300 average ticket—this is exactly where Amazon Business is focusing.”

In just under five years of operation since launching in April 2015, Amazon Business has amassed a base that includes at least two million accounts globally and more than 200,000 sellers, RBC says.

55 Fortune 100 customers

Amazon Business also serves 55 Fortune 100 companies, over 50 of the largest 100 hospitals, 40 of local governments serving the 100 biggest populations, and 80% of the 100 biggest educational institutions. “With gross merchandise volume (GMV) over $10 billion and growing faster than Amazon’s retail and Amazon Web Services segments, it continues to gain market share while also triggering seismic changes to business models across the industrial distributor landscape,” Mahaney says.

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The business marketplace on Amazon is gaining sales, buyers and sellers in part because Amazon is doing a good job adding features that B2B sellers, in particular, find useful, RBC says.

Amazon “offers everything the company offers to all its non-business customers, plus some exclusive products and features tailored businesses,” Mahaney writes. “These include business-only pricing and selection, unique search, a tailored browse and shopping experience, single or multi-user accounts, guided buying, spend visibility, tax-exempt purchases and Amazon Business customer support, to name some.”

In 2018, over 50% of all sales—about $5 billion—came from independent or third-party sellers that sell their business products on the marketplace, RBC says. “Amazon Business sellers not only have access to all features that a professional seller on Amazon has, but also have access to tailored products and features that enable them to process B2B transactions, Mahaney says.

Amazon has come a long way in a relatively short period of time in B2B ecommerce, RBC says. Since Amazon launched Amazon Supply in 2012 and replaced it with Amazon Business in 2015, Amazon Business is now live in nine countries, including the United States, Germany, United Kingdom, India, Japan, France, Italy and Spain and Canada. (With Amazon Supply, Amazon itself was the only seller of record; with Amazon Business, it opened up the B2B marketplace to third-party sellers, which helped its sales to surge.)

Amazon Business is forecast to generate $34 billion in gross merchandise volume by 2021, but that’s only a fraction of the overall global B2B product and services that RBC estimates totals $67 trillion.

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Surpassing $52 billion in GMV

But as soon as 2023, Amazon Business could account for about 0.5% ($52.4 billion in gross merchandise volume) of a total B2B ecommerce market RBC estimates will reach $1.8 trillion annually in the U.S. in about three years. Amazon Business’s revenue also could top $40 billion by 2023, RBC says.

More important, Amazon also is running Amazon Business in a highly profitable way with annual operating profit estimated to grow from $600 million in 2018 to $3 billion by 2013, he Mahaney adds.

“Amazon Business has grown at a 115% 3-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2015 and 2018 and the company faces a very large, underpenetrated, fragmented and inefficient market,” Mahaney says. “Amazon has the technology  platform, logistics prowess, selection, and a large network of sellers and buyers that we believe will enable to the company to grow its business segment faster than the overall retail segment for the foreseeable future.”

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