EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2971 - January 03, 2013     3 of 4

Amazon Marketplace Sellers Grow Unit Sales But What about Profits?

Email This Story to a Friend

Third-party selling on Amazon grew more than 40 percent year-over-year during the holiday season, the company announced on Wednesday. While it's not a metric the company often releases, Amazon had revealed in April that unit growth for all third-party sellers (U.S. and international) in the first quarter of 2012 was 60%. (See additional figures on the EcommerceBytes Blog.)

In response to a request for more information - including how many of Amazon's more than 2 million third-party sellers worldwide were located in the U.S. - company spokesperson Erik Fairleigh said, "at this time Amazon will not be discussing additional holiday or quarterly results for sellers on the Marketplace including the specific current number of sellers."

In reaction to the announcement, some sellers said that although their volume had gone up, their profits had not. A seller on the Amazon discussion boards wrote, "Based on the press release, it appears those that have been complaining that their sales have been dropping last month just don't have products that people are interested in."

A seller responded, "...or it could mean to be prepared for a new slew of "I sold stuff but lost money" posts. :) Units sold may be at a record #, but that tells us NOTHING about Profits ........ IMO a far more important number!!!"

Another Amazon seller expressed concern about a corresponding increase in returns.

While keeping a tight lid on metrics, Amazon revealed some "Sellers on Amazon Holiday Fun Facts":

  • Third-party sellers on shipped items from around the globe to customers in all 50 U.S. States and countries worldwide from Aruba to Zambia.
  • Amazon's third-party sellers sold enough Santa Hats for Santa to be able to wear a new hat every day for the next 137 years.
  • Amazon's third-party sellers sold enough smartphone and tablet screen protectors to cover the field of every NFL stadium, four times over.
  • Amazon's third-party sellers sold enough guitar picks to give one to every attendee of Woodstock.
  • Amazon's third-party sellers sold enough mustache pacifiers to give one to every baby born in Washington State next month.
  • Amazon's third-party sellers sold enough tea lights to keep a votive illuminated continuously for over 200 years.

Comment on the EcommerceBytes Blog.

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

You may quote up to 50 words of any article on the condition that you attribute the article to and either link to the original article or to
All other use is prohibited.