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7 insane facts that reveal how big Amazon has become

The Amazon Fulfilment Centre prepares for Black Friday in Hemel Hempstead, England. Picture: Getty Images

Amazon is hardly the same company it was in 1999, when e-commerce was still a relatively small industry and the budding online retailer exclusively sold books.

Today, the world’s fourth-most valuable company ships a mind-boggling number of goods to billions of people around the world.

By some accounts, it has essentially created America’s largest company town in Seattle. Recently, Amazon announced plans to spend $US5 billion on a second headquarters, for 50,000 employees, somewhere in North America, as well as announcing in April that it would branch into the Australian market.

There are a number of ways to look at Amazon’s size, and each is just as unfathomable as the last.

7.5% of Seattle’s working-age population are Amazon employees.

Amazon has more than 300,000 employees worldwide, and 40,000 in Seattle alone.

As a portion of the city’s working-age population — roughly 528,000 — that comes out to 7.5% of the city working at Amazon.

For perspective, if the same portion of New York City’s adults worked for one company, that company would have about 488,000 locals on staff.

Amazon accounts for 43% of all online sales

Picture: Caroline Cakebread/Business Insider

Amazon used to be a way to buy books online; today, it’s the default buying site for just about everything, especially for people who have Amazon Prime.

An analysis by Slice Intelligence released in February found that 43% of all US online retail sales were done through Amazon in 2016.

That’s up from 33% in 2015 and 25% in 2012.

1 out of every 4 US adults has Amazon Prime

Picture: Amazon

Speaking of Amazon Prime, the company now counts approximately 63 million people among its subscriber base, or about 25% of the total US adult population.

That number may underestimate the true coverage, however, since it doesn’t account for multiple adults in one household all sharing the same Prime account.”

Amazon ships 1.6 million packages a day

Picture: Getty Images

Amazon fulfillment is a beast of its own.

A report from 2013 (the latest year for which data are available) found Amazon shipped 608 million packages that year, or 1.6 million packages a day.

As of 2015, Amazon estimated its fulfillment centres were within 20 miles of 31% of the US population, and within 20 miles of 50-65% of its core, same-day-accessible market.”

That’s almost enough cardboard to cover Tasmania

Hobart, Tasmania. Picture: iStock.

“A back-of-the-envelope calculation reveals all those packages (not including padded envelopes) yield roughly 62,000 sq km of cardboard.

The total land area of Tasmania, meanwhile, is just north of 67,000 sq km.

Given the speed of Amazon’s shipments, the company could blanket Australia in cardboard in about 11 months.”

45,000 robots roam the floors of Amazon’s warehouses

To help those shipments leave the warehouses on time, Amazon relies on a growing fleet of autonomous robots that fetch packages from their shelves and bring them to human employees.

The 45,000 robots live across 20 fulfillment centers in the US. In 2016, the company increased the fleet 50% from its prior head count of 30,000.

Amazon is more valuable than all major brick-and-mortar retailers combined

Picture: Amazon

The sum total of those investments in infrastructure and supply chain management have made Amazon by far the most valuable retailer in the United States.

Amazon’s $US356 billion valuation is so big, it’s larger than Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, Macy’s, Kohl’s, JCPenney, and Sears combined.

With the recent acquisition of Whole Foods, there are no signs the retailer has any plans of slowing down.

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