Amazon Maintains Holiday Dominance Despite Pressure

How Jeff Bezos Became the King of E-Commerce Inc. maintained its online dominance in the 2017 holiday shopping season despite increasing competition from Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corp. and Best Buy Co.

Amazon captured 89 percent of online spending among dominant holiday retailers in the five-week period beginning on Thanksgiving, according to an analysis of credit- and debit-card transaction data by Earnest Research in New York. Wal-Mart, which purchased in 2016 for $3 billion, remained a distant second a 4.4 percent.

Online Spending Dominance

Amazon led rivals in market share during the five-week period beginning Thanksgiving.

Source: Earnest Research

Note: Walmart purchased in 2016

The data show market share has changed little from a year ago even as more spending shifts online. That suggests brick-and-mortar stores are keeping their customers, even as more shoppers shift their spending to the stores’ websites, said Andrew Robson, president and chief revenue officer at Earnest. Traditional retailers have been trying to match Amazon’s strength by offering more products online and adding new services like letting shoppers find and purchase goods on the web and pick them up at nearby stores.

“There’s a stabilization and the traditional brick-and-mortar retailers are figuring out how to maintain share,” Robson said.

Wal-Mart traditionally sees a sales bump after Christmas due to clearance discounts, which could improve its final totals, he said.

Earnest measures total spending for each retailer based on anonymous consumer transactions. The spending totals for Seattle-based Amazon measure gross merchandise value, or the price of all goods sold on the site. That figure is bigger than Amazon’s total revenue because many of the products come from independent merchants and Amazon takes a commission on the sale. Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, Arkansas, is also building its online marketplace model and measures sales by gross merchandise value.

Earnest has launched a “Consumer Insights & Competitor Intelligence” tool that measures consumer preferences across multiple brands. A recent comparison of Wal-Mart and Amazon shoppers found that Amazon’s customers prefer to buy clothing from Banana Republic, workout gear from Under Armour and fast food from Domino’s Pizza while Wal-Mart shoppers prefer H&M clothing, Foot Locker athletic gear and Taco Bell.

(Corrects the universe of retailers in the second paragraph.)
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