Amazon's online market share may be smaller than previously thought

Amazon’s dominance of the U.S. e-commerce landscape may not be as significant as previous estimates suggested, according to a top research firm.

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The Seattle-based retail giant is projected to generate about 38 percent of all U.S. retail e-commerce sales in 2019, according to second-quarter estimates by eMarketer. That figure marks a significant downgrade from the firm’s first-quarter estimates that Amazon would control about 47 percent of the overall market.

An eMarketer representative said the adjustment stemmed from data provided by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in his April letter to shareholders regarding third-party sellers on its platform. The data allowed eMarketer to “update a key input” in its forecast model to more accurately reflect Amazon’s position.

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“Third-party sales have grown from $0.1 billion to $160 billion – a compound annual growth rate of 52%. To provide an external benchmark, eBay’s gross merchandise sales in that period have grown at a compound rate of 20%, from $2.8 billion to $95 billion,” Bezos wrote in the letter, adding that “third-party sellers are kicking our first-party butt.”

While Amazon’s market share may be smaller than previously thought, the e-commerce giant still holds a commanding lead over rivals. EBay ranked second with a 6.1 percent share of U.S. e-commerce sales, followed by Walmart at 4.7 percent and Apple at 3.8 percent.

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Amazon generated net sales of $232.9 billion in fiscal 2018.