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Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs on Amazon Sold More than 2 Billion Items Worldwide

31 July 2017

From the Amazon Press Room:

Amazon today announced that small businesses and entrepreneurs on Amazon sold more than 2 billion items in a record-breaking first half of 2017. With more than 300 million active customers, Amazon offers small businesses the opportunity to reach shoppers in more than 180 countries around the world. Small businesses are also able to use Amazon’s world-class fulfillment and customer service expertise through Fulfillment by Amazon.

“We started working with small businesses to sell online back in 2000 and have helped hundreds of thousands achieve success. Amazon Marketplace has grown so significantly that sales by small businesses now account for over half of the unit sales on Amazon sites around the world, and 2017 is off to a record-start with over 2 billion units sold,” said Peter Faricy, Vice President for Amazon Marketplace. “We love hearing the stories from these small business owners who are able to quit their day jobs to sell on Amazon full-time, hire more employees to grow their business, and, in many cases, start other businesses – it’s very energizing for Amazonians to know that the technology we are building is helping so many people pursue their dreams.”

Facts about the Amazon Marketplace:

  • Amazon has 11 marketplaces around the world for small businesses and entrepreneurs to reach customers.
  • More than half of the items sold on Amazon worldwide are from small businesses and entrepreneurs that offer their products through Amazon Marketplace, many of whom also choose to use Fulfillment by Amazon as a way of making their items Prime eligible.
  • More than 100,000 entrepreneurs achieved over $100,000 in sales selling on Amazon in 2016.
  • According to an Amazon economic study, sellers have created over 600,000 new jobs outside of Amazon.
  • Small businesses and entrepreneurs selling on Amazon come from every state in the U.S., and from more than 130 different countries around the world.
  • Amazon sellers fulfilled orders to customers in 185 countries in 2016.
  • The Prime Day 2017 event grew by more than 60 percent over last year – sales growth by small businesses and entrepreneurs was even higher

Link to the rest at Amazon Press Room

PG says small business sales on Amazon Marketplace doesn’t fit the Giant Amazon vs. Poor Little Bookstores/Walmart/Target/mall owners/etc. narrative, so it doesn’t create a lot of mainstream news stories.

PG noted the “quit their day jobs” quote in the OP which is the same story more than a few authors tell about their experience self-publishing with KDP.

Perhaps PG’s brain is not adequately bathed in Coke Zero this morning, but he could not think of another organization that has made it possible for small businesses to sell 4 billion products per year or hire 600,000 employees.

Amazon provides a small business with a best-in-the-world ecommerce platform plus payment processing at a cost that is almost certainly less than a small business could negotiate with the credit card companies.

Add a network of the most efficient and innovative warehouses ever created plus a logistics/delivery system that undoubtedly has the lowest rates UPS, Fedex and the United States Postal Service provide to any customer and you have a system that allows a small business operation to focus on designing and creating the best products for its customers instead of figuring out how to promote and deliver its products to customers. (Yes, you can use this as an example of a run-on sentence with any of your students.)

Plus, unlike some providers of “small business solutions,” the businesses that use Amazon for fulfillment will never outgrow the capacity of Amazon to handle increasing sales and delivery volumes.

PG doesn’t contend Amazon is perfect or that it never makes mistakes in dealing with small entrepreneurs or authors, but it has certainly enabled a lot of little gals and little guys to earn much more money than they would have without Amazon.

And there are all those people who have been able to quit their day jobs and do something they enjoy more during their working lives.


10 Comments to “Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs on Amazon Sold More than 2 Billion Items Worldwide”

  1. This used to be ebay’s thing, but Amazon is eating their lunch at it.

    • Maybe it’s partly because of eBay’s very buyer-friendly/seller-unfriendly policies? I know I’ve seen a lot of sellers complaining about getting ripped off and not having any recourse. Sellers can’t even down-rate a buyer if they have a bad transaction. I don’t know what Amazon’s policies or protections are, but maybe some people are just tired of dealing with eBay (or don’t want to deal with PayPal, which is now tied up with eBay).

    • I used to buy from ebay a lot when it was just Joe Average selling the junk that was in his basement. Once it became primarily just another way to buy from stores online, I pretty much stopped going there. In no small part, because I could often get the same items cheaper on Amazon, once you included all the shipping fees and the like.

      But I’m not sure I’m as optimistic as PG about this article. On another blog, small business owners who sell through Amazon are always complaining that the cost and competition is so high that there’s little point doing it any more.

  2. Amazon has been the savior of innumerable small mom ‘n’ pop businesses that would have otherwise gone belly-up. Authors and other entrepreneurs, too.

    That’s why it’s so hard for me to understand — or have any sympathy for — small businesses that go under for lack of B&M customers and mope, whine, and sob about how Big Bad Zon has driven them into poverty.

    Adapt or die; Darwinism operates in more than the natural world.

    • The recent piece on Logos used bookstore closing in Santa Cruz mentioned that the owner originally opened because of his experience working for Moe Moscowitz of Moe’s Books in Berkeley. His wife was quoted…

      her shop is on a long lease, and the building is in a trust, but they are still constantly trying to keep up, even selling books on amazon.com. “We need that, but we don’t like it,” she says. “We have to stay in business, so you have to stay flexible to just keep moving along.”

      I was struck by the “We need that but we don’t like it” part of the quote, but at least give them props for, as they say, staying flexible.

      • Felix J. Torres

        Well, if you’re locked in to a long lease, making a good chunk (majority?) of your revenue via a channel that doesn’t need that lease is going to grate. They could be making more money without the storefront.

        Theoretically you can run an onlne store out of your garage. Or a storage unit. Long term leases are, increasingly, minuses.

  3. Hey, there’s no way I’d be able to sell ebooks around the world if I had to figure in/collect/send the proper taxes/VAT for everywhere. 😉

  4. Amazon has taken on the classic definition of a market.

    It facilitates trade.

    Markets change. Not too long ago, traders stood in pits shouting at each other and trading wheat, copper, and beans. They facilitated trade.

    Now, almost all of that is done with computers. The pits are empty, and the traders gone. But, the new computer systems now facilitate trade.

    Market disruption is simply a guy coming up with a better way to facilitate trade.

  5. I’m curious if anyone sells their paper books on Amazon as a seller, rather than through Createspace distribution. I’d be interested to read any pros/cons/experiences about that.

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