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A slowdown in Walmart's online growth could see Amazon take the crown as biggest U.S. retailer

By Don-Alvin Adegeest

18 Aug 2021

For many e-commerce players, the global health pandemic has been a boon for sales. So too at Amazon, who last year saw net sales and operating results significantly boosted by online shoppers, rising 97 percent in the second quarter in 2020.

But not this year. As economies reopened, Walmart was unable to keep its digital momentum, despite investing heavily in its online operations. E-commerce sales rose a marginal 6 percent during the second quarter of 2021, down 91 percent versus last year.

A slowdown may have been inevitable as consumers returned to shopping at brick and mortar in person, yet it doesn’t fully explain the small gains when companies like Amazon saw a sales grow 22 percent in its North American sales in the same quarter.

These figures show Amazon is currently on track to overtake Walmart as the largest US retailer. According to JPMorgan, Amazon will surpass Walmart as the largest U.S. retailer by 2022, its analysts published in a note in June.

Amazon’s U.S. gross merchandise volume (GMV), a closely watched industry metric used to measure the total value of goods sold over a certain time period, grew “significantly faster” than both U.S. adjusted retail sales and U.S. e-commerce, the analysts said.