- The New York Times has declared that Amazon has overtaken Walmart in sales.
- History indicates that Amazon’s huge size could attract more antitrust scrutiny.
- Still, most industry observers have pegged this milestone as a long time coming for Amazon.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Amazon is now bigger than Walmart, according to data collected by the New York Times’ Karen Weise and Michael Corkery.
Consumers spent $610 billion at Amazon from June 2020 to June 2021, according to estimates from financial research firm FactSet cited by the Times. In that same time frame, shoppers dropped $566 billion at Walmart.
Analysts have long predicted that Amazon would surpass Walmart in terms of sales. JP Morgan is betting that Amazon will finally overtake Walmart’s US sales next year, the Times noted. But by shifting retail sales online, the pandemic seems to have expedited Amazon’s trajectory.
Amazon and Walmart did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Amazon has long downplayed its stature. In his 2020 testimony to Congress, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos cited Walmart as being double the size of his digital retailer. Insider’s Dennis Green previously reported that the online giant has minimized its role in the retail ecosystem, saying that it is “only responsible for 4% of US retail sales.”
By surpassing Walmart in sales, the Seattle-based company could become more vulnerable to antitrust measures than ever. Washington DC’s attorney general Karl Racine is currently suing Amazon, alleging that it’s a monopoly that controls the price of goods online. Lina Kahn, the new head of the Federal Trade Commission, wrote a 2017 paper on how current antitrust laws are too outdated to be able to deal with Amazon.
Minus any rumbles around antitrust trouble, Amazon has been unstoppable in terms of its growth trajectory for some time. Faisal Masud, the CEO of e-commerce upstart Fabric, previously worked at Amazon during the company’s “underdog growth years” from 2002 to 2011. He credited Amazon’s third-party sales dominance, its subscription model Amazon Prime, and its last-mile logistical capabilities with helping to cement its rapid growth.
“I just don’t see a path for Walmart to catch up,” Masud said.
Masud said that instead of chasing Amazon with Prime-focused measures like Walmart Plus, the retailer should learn from brick-and-mortar rival Target and “pick their own winners.”
“They have a great grocery business, a great pharmacy initiative,” he said. “Walmart Plus is a distraction. They don’t have a FC network to be able to compete with the Amazons of the world. Target’s done a much better job – their Shipt acquisition has been phenomenal.”
Moody’s Vice President Charlie O’Shea said in a statement to Insider that Walmart “remains one of the premier global retailers by any yardstick.”
“Walmart’s forecast of $75 billion [in online sales] worldwide for 2021 represents continued momentum,” O’Shea said.