The Data Point: Amazon Overtakes Walmart as Top Retailer at 9.4% of Retail Spend in 2021

Coke and Pepsi. McDonald’s and Burger King. Apple and Microsoft. Ranking in high the pantheon of great of corporate rivalries is Amazon versus Walmart. In 2021, Amazon overtook its retail elder in all but one category — one that gets you right in the breadbasket — grocery.

For PYMNTS’ study “Amazon Versus Walmart Q4 2021: The Ongoing Battle for Consumer Retail Spend,” we’ve compiled data showing where this competition of giants representing two different schools of retailing went in the strange year that was 2021.

  • Amazon took 3.6% of total consumer spend and 9.4% of all U.S. retail spend in 2021.

Last year, America’s consumers spent $16 trillion in total, $5.5 trillion of which went to retail purchases and the rest to household needs and amusements. Of that, $510 billion went to Amazon, working out to 3.6% of total consumer spending and 9.4% of total retail spending. Walmart’s share was 3%, equating to 8.6% of consumer retail spend, or $472 billion.

It’s more than any retailer has ever captured in a single year.

  • Households buy roughly 10 times more food and beverage at Walmart than Amazon.

The originator of “everyday low prices” is well positioned in an inflationary economy. Walmart’s lead over Amazon has winnowed to the grocery category alone, but that win is appreciable.

“Walmart is and always has been far ahead of Amazon in the battle for food and beverage sales,” according to the study. “It currently earns nearly 10 times as much of consumers’ total spend on food and beverages than Amazon, capturing a total of $264 billion in sales in 2021. Amazon captured just $27 billion that year, by comparison.”

  • Walmart has a razor thin 1.6 percentage point lead over Amazon in health.

By no means a negligible sum at $13 billion, Walmart’s 1.6 percentage-point lead on Amazon in healthcare is slimmer, and it’s been trending this way for several years.

Since 2014, “Walmart has always won over between 5% and 6% of the total dollar amount that U.S. households spend on health and personal care products,” the study stated. “If this trend does not change, Amazon is likely to overtake Walmart in this segment within the next few years.”

Get the study: Amazon Versus Walmart Q4 2021