Jan 3, 2018

E-commerce sales may be twice as high as generally reported

E-commerce sales may be twice as high as generally reported, according to a new calculation by Thomas Paulson, who runs Minneapolis-based Inflection Capital Management.

Buzz: Rather than 9% of retail sales — as reported by the Fed and other sources — Paulson says Amazon and other e-commerce companies grabbed 21% of total U.S. retail sales last year. In 2016, it was 18.7% and the last time the rate was still at 9% was in 2010, he added.

Data: Census Bureau, eBay, Amazon, Inflection Capital Management; Chart: Axios Visuals

What's happening: Few people buy cars or gasoline online and there are not many who buy groceries or restaurant meals on the internet. Yet, when analysts, such as the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, measure the bite that e-commerce outfits are taking from brick-and-mortar retail, they generally include such purchases.

Why it matters: The impact, Paulson tells Axios, is to vastly understate the scale of the U.S. e-commerce industry, and to overstate the devastation in traditional shops.

"Amazon's gross margin rate is up substantially over the last six years because it has been raising prices and gotten into higher-priced products," Paulson said.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Amazon's 2019 was full of headline-grabbing moments — everything from political fights to new records for the company that have upended the way we shop.

The big picture: The tech giant's year started with a fight with New York City and ended with its biggest single sales day in history. And there were plenty of dramatic days in between.

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Retail's rough post-holiday ride

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. stock market rose broadly on Thursday, but a number of retail stocks went south after companies revealed distressing news about their holiday sales.

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Amazon flexes its formidable shipping arm

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

After conquering e-commerce and cloud computing, Amazon is claiming its spot at the very top of the massive shipping industry this holiday season.

Why it matters: Logistics might make your eyes glaze over, but it's one of the key businesses of the future — and it could become Amazon's next windfall. The industry is already worth $1.5 trillion, and it'll get even bigger as more and more people order everything online.

Go deeperArrowDec 18, 2019