From The New York Times:
Two decades after Jeffrey P. Bezos started Amazon in his Bellevue, Wash., garage, his e-commerce juggernaut could be forgiven for letting up on its rapid growth.
Not Amazon, though, which steamrolled through 2015, capturing an ever-growing share of United States retail sales. Of every additional $1 Americans spent for items online this year, Amazon captured 51 cents, according to a recent estimate by analysts at Macquarie Research.
And of the expected $94 billion growth in all retail sales this year — both in stores and online — Amazon took a staggering $22 billion, or almost a quarter, Ben Schachter, a retail analyst at Macquarie, calculated.
And this year’s holiday shopping season served to solidify the notion that the Internet is increasingly Jeff Bezos’s world and the rest of us are just shopping in it.
Amazon capped its blockbuster year by reporting what it said was a record-breaking holiday season, shipping 200 million items through its Prime subscription service, which offers free shipping and a host of other benefits.
“It’s remarkable. Amazon is truly in a league of its own,” Mr. Schachter said. “It’s going to be extremely challenging for anyone else to catch up.”
. . . .
“They were just trying to sell more by underpricing everybody,” said Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners, a retail consulting firm.
“But they realized they would never make any money that way. They evolved,” he said. “It’s much a different company than it was five years ago.”
For one, this year’s surge has made investors increasingly confident that Amazon’s retail business is maturing, following years of heavy investment in infrastructure and logistics. Amazon has blanketed the country with more than 100 warehouses, and is building more, speeding up shipping times.
That investment is now paying off in the steady growth in users of its Prime fast-shipping membership program, which now covers an estimated 25 percent of all American households. Amazon picked up three million new Prime members during the third week of December alone, the retailer said this week. Some analysts estimate that half of all American households will be Prime members by 2020.
. . . .
“It just keeps raising the bar,” said Traci Gregorski, vice president for marketing at the retail research firm Market Track. “They’re driving people to their Prime service,” she said, “and once they’re hooked, they’re hooked.”
Link to the rest at The New York Times