With projected 2012 revenue of $62 billion derived from an estimated 183 million products, Amazon may seem like a colossus astride the retail world. But it's also home of the biggest little general store on this planet. It's the storefront for more than 2 million third-party sellers worldwide, and those sellers made a killing on Amazon this holiday season.
Unit growth solely from third-party sellers in the U.S. increased more than 40 percent this holiday season year over year, according to statistics from Amazon Marketplace. For the year, sellers on Amazon sold hundreds of millions of units worth tens of billions of dollars worldwide.
To put that into perspective, Amazon third-party sellers sold enough Santa hats for Kriss Kringle to be able to wear a new hat every day for the next 137 years. Or, apropos of January's football mania, these sellers sold enough smartphone and tablet screen protectors to cover the field of every NFL stadium four times over.
"We value the breadth and depth of selection that businesses selling on Amazon offer our more than 188 million active customers worldwide," said Peter Faricy, vice president for Amazon Marketplace. "The entire Amazon Seller organization is focused on helping third-party businesses succeed and grow on Amazon. We do this by creating a dynamic marketplace platform that helps every seller deliver the best possible selection, service and prices to all Amazon customers."
Particularly attractive to third-party sellers is Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). Faricy said. With FBA, sellers of all sizes can choose to have Amazon ship their products directly to customers and offer Amazon Prime benefits, free super saver shipping, simple exporting to customers around the world and easy returns for orders placed on Amazon.com.
"I’ve been selling on the Amazon platform for about 12 years now, and this has been by far one of the best-ever holiday seasons," said Eli Silver, president of American Deals Online, an electronics retailer. "My business experienced more than a 70 percent increase in orders placed over last year. We attribute the boost in orders to our confidence, and customer trust, in Amazon’s FBA program. Without FBA, our current infrastructure would not have allowed us to fulfill the orders we generated on Amazon throughout the holiday season."