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In 2022, Walmart directed a whopping $14 billion towards ventures in automation, technology, supply chain enhancements, and customer-centric initiatives, optimizing store layouts for enhanced user experiences and integrating contactless payment solutions. Concurrently, Walmart expanded its drone delivery network and scaled up micro-fulfillment centers to expedite order processing and extend its reach to millions of households. Through strategic partnerships with entities like Angi and Netflix, Walmart broadened its market penetration, offering exclusive private-label products. Meanwhile, Amazon, leveraging pioneering analytics strategies, launched a $1 billion fund in 2022 to revamp supply chain operations, order fulfillment processes, and logistics. Continuing its trajectory, Amazon further advanced warehouse automation with advanced robotics and AI-driven systems, ensuring precision in order handling. Overall, Walmart’s substantial investments position it as the frontrunner, signaling a promising trajectory amidst Amazon’s innovations.

Exploring The Landscape of Retail

Walmart operates over 4,700 stores in the US and more than 5,000 worldwide, conveniently placing itself within a 16-kilometer radius of 90% of the US population. After closing 13 stores in 2021, Walmart shuttered another existing store in 2022. On the other hand, Amazon has made significant strides in physical retail in recent years, boasting 520 Whole Foods Market locations, 44 Amazon Fresh Markets, 26 Amazon Go Markets, and piloting large-format stores in select cities. Amazon’s physical stores have proven successful, consistently achieving double-digit sales growth in many quarters.

Key Takeaways

While Amazon stands out in the US e-commerce market with roughly a 40% market share, Walmart trails far behind with less than 10%. However, Walmart has been growing faster than Amazon for at least the past five years, leveraging its smaller starting point and online grocery strength. In 2023, Walmart finally surpassed $100 billion in global e-commerce sales, with the majority coming from the US. eBay remains the third-largest e-commerce channel in the US, but its growth has been limited compared to the overall increase in online spending. Shopify exceeded $200 billion in annual GMV in 2023, indicating its direct-to-consumer focus with promising growth seen in its Shop app. Google abandoned its efforts to turn its price comparison engine into a checkout engine in 2023, while disruptors like Temu, Shein, and TikTok Shop cater to specific niches, with Shein’s success notably pressuring Amazon to lower seller fees.

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