Amazon Retail Sales Surpass Walmart

Posted on August 17, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Amazon with 9 Comments

Customers spent more money at Amazon in the past 12 months than they did at Walmart, making it the world’s largest retailer outside of China.

That’s according to data from Wall Street estimates compiled by the financial research firm FactSet and first reported by The New York Times. According to the estimates, Amazon customers spent over $610 billion in the past year, compared to $566 billion for Walmart.

But neither company is the world’s largest retailer. Instead, that title goes to Alibaba, the Chinese online giant. Neither Amazon nor Walmart has much of a foothold in the world’s largest consumer market.

This milestone is important, regardless, of course. Despite mounting regulatory pressure, especially in the United States, and the exit of founder Jeff Bezos from the CEO role this year, Amazon has been surging, thanks in part to the new COVID economy. The firm reported $113.1 billion in revenues in the most recent quarter, easily beating out other Big Tech competitors like Apple, Google, and Microsoft. And its 27 percent year-over-year growth is astonishing for a company of this size.

Another way to look at this milestone is revenue growth in dollars. Walmart’s revenues grew by $24 billion in the past year, but Amazon’s grew by almost $200 billion. Or consider this bit of historical trivia: When Walmart became the world’s biggest retailer outside of China, it knocked Sears out of the top spot. Right. Sears.

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Comments (9)

9 responses to “Amazon Retail Sales Surpass Walmart”

  1. derekabraham

    @Paul - this is to satisfy my curiosity. Do you use stock photos for articles or are these photos you took yourself?

  2. LT1 Z51

    I actually have ordered less from Amazon over the past 2 years than I previously did. I think when Prime first became a thing, that's when I ordered the most form Amazon. I honestly just don't buy that much anymore.


    Fun fact, I still remember buying VHS tapes in 1999 from Amazon and paying BY CHECK (yes, you mailed it in!)

    • christianwilson

      I order a lot less than I used to, also. It isn't for some righteous crusade against their business practices or anything like that. I am just buying less junk/things I don't need. When I do need something, it is often to fix or work on something at home, so I will run over to the hardware store for that.

    • MoopMeep

      I remember they used to send me a christmas gift. I also like how they keep your whooole order history. Kinda neat to see the first things i ordered in 1998. I think the customer service used to be better.it was easy to chat with someone if youhavr issues, now its mostly automated and you have to really search to find a link to a real person. They video games they sell seems suspicious now too, they seem to sell a lot of games intended for the non-us market

  3. winner

    This is kind of amazing.

    But given Bezos' behavior with NASA, I'm tending to buy less from Amazon.

  4. bettyblue

    I have dropped my purchases from Amazon over the last 2 years by 90%. Mostly because I have gotten screwed over to many times. It used to be easy to buy it from Amazon and not from a 3rd party, but they hid that away and its harder to determine where it is coming from.


    After getting the wrong stuff, used stuff, broken stuff, with fake reviews......lots of times past the 2 day even with Prime, the cost of prime going up, multiple times....its lost its appeal big time for me. Besides I would rather help a local retailer when I can.


    They also ruined Whole Foods for me. Its just not the same now.

  5. brettscoast

    The numbers are staggering but when you consider how small of a footprint they have in the biggest market of all, wow!!!!!!!

  6. nine54

    Amazon can thank governments the world over for this milestone as the lockdowns and arbitrary "essential business" policies resulted in Covid winners and losers, with Amazon in the former bucket. Like others, I've actually been buying less and less from Amazon over the past 2 years. Part of it certainly is just a shift in personal shopping priorities. However, as others have noted, the experience on Amazon has changed. I now find myself scrutinizing listings to determine the seller and shipper, wading through questionable and useless reviews, and struggling to sort through their massive, but largely un-curated catalog. And given the ubiquity of free/low-cost fast shipping and greater price parity, I'd rather order direct from vendor, if possible, and will check other major retailers if the product is not sold and shipped by Amazon.

  7. dallasnorth40

    The little on-line bookstore is all grown up!!!

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