The online platform is still growing by leaps and bounds and the latest reading from Euromonitor shows that its $35 billion in U.S. apparel and footwear sales in 2018 pushed it past Walmart Inc., and its $30 billion in sales, for the top spot last year. (The web giant’s tally includes the total gross merchandise value of goods sold by third parties on its site, while Walmart’s figure is mostly for sales of inventory it owns and sells through its stores and web site.)
Amazon now accounts for 9.9 percent of the U.S. apparel market — both online and off.
Wells Fargo analyst Ike Boruchow, who issued a deep dive on the company on Monday that drew on Euromonitor data, estimated that Amazon’s apparel and footwear sales will top $44 billion this year, again, including third-party sales.
The continuing rise of Amazon comes as retailers are both starting to find their footing online and also falling further behind.
Boruchow noted that growth in the comparable sales of traditional retailers slowed to 1 percent to 2 percent in the fourth quarter even as Amazon’s U.S. GMV rose 28 percent.
“It appears that after years of channel conflict, the retail industry broadly is benefiting from simultaneous growth in ‘bricks’ and ‘clicks,’” the analyst said. “While this is a compelling point, the fact that fourth-quarter retail comps/traffic clearly slowed, while quarter-to-date trends in early 2019 have softened further, does begin to bring the ‘Is Amazon/e-comm beginning to pressure brick-and-mortar retail again?’ question back to the table.”
Amazon’s commanding spot in the fashion business — a segment that it remains keen on — brings with it all the woes of the counterfeit world.
The e-commerce company prohibits the sale of counterfeits on its site, but has faced criticism from retailers and shoppers over the issue and acknowledged the problem in a regulatory filing last month.
“Under our seller programs, we may be unable to prevent sellers from collecting payments, fraudulently or otherwise, when buyers never receive the products they ordered or when the products received are materially different from the sellers’ descriptions,” Amazon said. “We also may be unable to prevent sellers in our stores or through other stores from selling unlawful, counterfeit, pirated or stolen goods, selling goods in an unlawful or unethical manner, violating the proprietary rights of others, or otherwise violating our policies.”
In an effort to “drive counterfeits to zero,” Amazon launched Project Zero last month, giving brands the power to remove suspected fakes from the web site without contacting Amazon first.
Counterfeiting is big business and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.
The global market for fakes, which includes the sale of products both online and off-line, was worth $1.2 trillion by the end of 2017, according to the Global Brand Counterfeiting Report. The firm expects that number to jump to $1.82 trillion by 2020.
Fake fashion products, including high-end apparel, footwear, accessories and cosmetics, were worth about $98 billion, according to the report.
The burden to get the number lower is now increasingly falling to Amazon.