Retail

Walmart’s Online Sector Gains Traction

The holiday season started off with a bang. And almost immediately, data started pouring in that shows why it’s more important than ever for retailers to invest heavily in online solutions. Walmart has been doing just that and is already seeing the benefits.

In the past few months, Walmart has leveraged its grocery sector in order to boost online traffic to help the retail giant compete with its only real direct competition, Amazon.

Walmart has been investing in initiatives such as expanding its online product range and offering grocery pickup at hundreds of additional stores. Its acquisition of Jet.com in September of this year provided additional technological resources and a younger, more digitally-savvy consumer base.

And it seems to be working. Shares of WMT have reportedly been inching upward since mid-November. Additionally, Walmart’s year-to-date shares are up 19 percent, with an overall gain of almost 25 percent year over year.

Walmart has seen comparable sales growth in the U.S. for the eighth straight quarter — beating out its rivals, Target and Macy’s. Walmart’s eCommerce growth also recently accelerated by 12 percent.

Even so, Walmart remains a long way behind Amazon and its online sales of $14 billion. Amazon Prime serves over 50 million in the U.S. and is growing by 30 percent a year. However, 42 percent of Prime customers also shop at Walmart.com.

Amazon boasted 200 million unique monthly users in October — nearly twice as many as Walmart’s 113 million. Overall, Walmart is in the number two spot but only has one-sixth the online sales of its largest competitor.

Still, this recent growth bodes well for the future of Walmart as it continues to invest in its online presence. Doug McMillon, Walmart Stores CEO, is optimistic, telling analysts that eCommerce growth could return to 20–30 percent, saying: “This company, over time, will look like an eCommerce company.”

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