Amazon is increasingly depending on its millions of Marketplace sellers to fuel its growth, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday (Jan. 5).
The e-commerce giant said Monday that third-party merchants were responsible for 2 billion items sold last year, twice as many as in 2013, even though the actual number of Marketplace merchants held roughly steady compared with the prior period at “more than 2 million.”
Those merchants sold more than 40 percent of the items sold by or through Amazon last year, according to the statement. That suggests a total of at least 5 billion items sold. (The guesswork is necessary because while Amazon used to regularly disclose what percentage of items it sold came from third parties — that number was 39 percent in 2012 — it has suspended the practice.)
Some analysts say third-party sales typically have higher margins. Amazon profits from them by taking a percentage commission when their goods are sold, and also gets fees from other services such as warehousing and shipping orders on behalf of the third-party merchants through its Fulfillment by Amazon program.
Amazon said Monday that the number of merchants using Fulfillment by Amazon services grew by 65 percent for the second year in a row, meaning the program almost tripled in size in two years. However, Amazon didn’t disclose the actual number of merchants using the service.